Robert W. Loftin Nature Trails

The best way to explore the Sawmill Slough Preserve is by walking, hiking or running the Robert W. Loftin Nature Trails, which are named after the distinguished UNF professor who helped originally establish the trails.

Students from the Environmental Center, with assistance from staff and faculty, created Story Maps that provide information on each of the five named trails. The maps include details about wildlife, plants and more! 

Big Cypress Trail

Cypress dome

The Big Cypress Trail connects the Goldenrod and Blueberry Trails, and measures as a .47 mile loop. The highlight of this trail is the “Big Cypress”, which is estimated to be over 600 years old. View the trail.

Red Maple Boardwalk

Red Maple Boardwalk sign

Red Maple Boardwalk underwent a recent renovation (2017), and it’s history dates back to the late 1970s. It is the shortest trail at UNF at only 0.31 miles but includes interpretive signs guide and sitting areas. View the trail.

Gopher Tortoise Ridge

Gopher tortoise

Gopher Tortoise Ridge is a short trail (0.78 miles) that wonders through a sandhill habitat. The trail can be accessed by walking either way around Lake Oneida, then heading west on the Goldenrod Trail. View the trail.

Goldenrod Trail


The longest trail on UNF campus, Goldenrod Trail measures in at 2.85 miles. Travelers of this path will find a wide variation in habitats; ranging from swamp, sand-hill, flatwoods, and seepage slope. View the trail.

Blueberry Trail

Saw palmetto

The second-longest trail on the UNF campus at 1.44 miles, Blueberry Trail takes the traveler on a scenic path around Lake Oneida, a deep swamp, and through pine flatwoods. It derives its name from the abundant blueberries found along the trail, which in turn feed the local population of deer and birds. These can be both residents as well as migratory.  View the trail.