The Ravine Gardens State Park, located in Palatka at 1600 Twigg Street, is the site of one of the twenty one Bartram Trail markers erected in by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs. The sign was erected in May 1984 and is placed next to the Palatka Garden Club’s log cabin in the main parking area. Although it cannot be verified that William Bartram ever visited the Ravines, Native American camps are located in the area and it is likely trails from the Lower Store to the Palatka encampment would have brought him nearby.
The park is a ravine created over thousands of years by water flowing from the sandy ridges on the shore of the St. Johns River. In 1933, this ravine was transformed into a dramatic garden by the federal Works Progress Administration. Much of the original landscaping still exists as formal gardens and an extensive trail system. A 1.8-mile paved road winds around the ravine, offering motorists and bicyclists a view of the gardens. The Ravine Loop is closed to vehicle traffic one hour before sunset, but remains open for pedestrians, bicycles, and wheelchairs. The garden’s peak flowering period is azalea season, late January to April. Numerous picnic sites, equipped with tables and grills, are available to visitors.
Bartram Trail Marker Number 5 can only be reached by land. It is easily accessed by bicycle, hiking and auto from downtown Palatka. It is located just within the entrance of the Park (Figure 1).