Parks are now
toll free, at
been shaped geographically and culturally by water and Ravine State Gardens
is representative of the never-ending shaping that occurs. A steep ravine
was created by water flowing from beneath the sandy ridges that flank
the west shore of the St. Johns River. As time passed, the slopes of the
ravine were colonized by grasses, shrubs and trees.
Ravine State Gardens has long
been famous for its extensive plantings of azaleas and other ornamental
plants. Recreational uses are generally passive, related to the aesthetic
enjoyment of the gardens. Park programs emphasize interpretation of the
park's natural and cultural attributes.
The 59 acre gardens were created in a natural steephead ravine by the City
of Palatka, local citizens, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration
(FERA), the Federal Works Project Administration (WPA and the Civil Works
Administration (CWA) in the 1930'S. Described in the 1934 Florida Municipal
Record as the "Nations Outstanding C.W.A. project," the 59 acre
ravines were planted with over 95,000 azaleas including 64 varieties, 11,000
palm trees and more than 250,000 ornamental plants. The gardens were maintained
by the City of Palatka until the park was deeded to the State of Florida
in 1970. One of nine Florida state parks with New Deal Era structures, Ravine
Gardens is the only park with a formal designed landscape. The extensive
fieldstone terraces, rock gardens and massive cypress building construction
is typical of the era. The Court of States and 64 foot obelisk dedicated
to Franklin D. Roosevelt is located near the park entrance.
Active recreational uses include picnicking, jogging, hiking and biking.
Recreation facilities include picnic areas, the ornamental gardens, numerous
hiking trails and a 1.8 mile paved perimeter loop road popular with hikers
and bicyclists. A parcours trail also roughly parallels the paved perimeter
loop road with exercise stations along the route. A park civic center complex
is available for meetings, weddings and special events. The gardens, perimeter
road, hiking trails and civic center are the focus for much of the park's
There are numerous sites along the 1.8 mile paved ravine perimeter road
to picnic. Picnic tables and grills are available at no additional charge.
Stairways and trail access into the ravines are located near each picnic
Several other significant cultural, land and water resources exist in the
vicinity of Ravine State Gardens. (See links on left) They include the Palatka
Historic Districts, the 1887 Palatka Waterworks, the Wilson Cypress Mill
site, the historic Azalea Bowl sports and recreation facility, the historic
Palatka Municipal Golf Course, the Ocala National Forest, the Welaka State
Forest, Etoniah Creek State Forest, Georgia-Pacific Wildlife Management
Area, the Cross Florida Greenway, the St. Johns River, the Ocklawaha River,
Lake George and Crescent Lake.
Ravine Gardens is located within the city limits of Palatka, near the St. Johns River, a few blocks south of downtown and U.S. Highway 17. Access to the park is from Twigg Street, east from Moseley Avenue, south from S. R. 20 and U. S. 17. Ravine State Gardens is less than an hour drive from Gainesville, Jacksonville and St. Augustine.
For more information, contact:
Ravine State Gardens
1600 Twigg Street
Mail P.O. Box 1096
Palatka, Fl 32712
Phone: 386-329-3721 Fax 386-329-3718
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