- Walking Tours
Top Everglade Hiking Trails Hiking is one of the most enjoyable activities you can engage in at the Everglades National Park. The Everglades has some of the most diverse and most beautiful flora and fauna in the world. The best way to experience the natural beauty of the place is by hiking through it. There are several trails that make their way through the park. It’s a fantastic idea to talk with the park rangers before you set off on a hike, even if you’re an experienced hiker – some trails can be dangerous. Here are some of the top Everglade hiking trails that will take you through the best of what the park has to offer. Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Everglades. The Everglades are 1.5 million acres of prairie teeming with wildlife, especially alligators. Tourists love to walk on the many trails that wind through the Everglades so they can explore its unique ecosystem, which consists of mainly coastal mangroves, pine flatwoods, and sawgrass marshes. These trails are also the best places where you can see the local wildlife. If you’re planning on spending some time at the Everglades this year, hiking is a highly recommended activity for you. There are many short trails as well as long trails. If you’re with your family, you will find the shorter trails to be much more convenient. Here’s a list of the some of the top hiking trails in the park:
Anhinga Trail (Less than 0.5 miles) The Anhinga Trail is near the entrance to the park. The Anhinga Trail is one of the easiest and shortest trails in the park. However, that doesn’t make it any less satisfying. The Anhinga Trail starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Center right at the entrance of the park (from Miami). The trail goes over Taylor Slough, a waterway that houses alligators all year round. Apart from alligators, you will be able to see beautiful sawgrass prairie, unique trees like the pond apple (South Florida native tree) and birds like egrets, roseate spoonbills, and herons in the trees. It’s short and goes over a water body that houses alligators the year round. This trail is also where you can spot the anhinga – a bird species that has a long neck like that of a snake.
Guy Bradley Trail (1 mile) The Guy Bradley Trail is a paved one mile trail that starts at the Flamingo Visitor center. The trail is famous for the great view of the Florida bay it offers on the side. You will walk along the Florida bay for the most part, through a black mangrove wooded area. There are places on the trail where sea grass actually washes over; it’s so close to the bay.
Bear Lake Trail The Bear Lake Trail is a medium sized hike that takes you along a limestone road along the old Homestead Canal. You can see mangrove forests on the trail, as well as hammock.
Christian Point Trail This is a very challenging trail. It can be muddy and hard to walk in places, but it’s very scenic and worth the trouble. You will get to see marl prairie, mangrove forests and, at the end, Snake Bight (Florida Bay).
Gumbo Limbo Trail The Gumbo Limbo trial starts almost at the entrance of the park, at the Royal Palm Visitor Center. It’s short and paved, but interesting nonetheless. You will see deep solution holes and some interesting trees with poisonwood on them.
Mahagony Hammock The Mahagony Hammock trail is short and paved. You will get to see lush palm trees and, of course, hammock. Watch out for poison ivy that sometimes slips through the boardwalk.
The Otter Cave Hammock Trail The Otter Cave Hammock Trail is a poetic place to see wildlife up close, like alligators and birds. The trail is short and beautiful – it does flood sometimes, though, so check for that before you go.
Pinelands Ecotone (5.9 miles) The Pinelands Ecotone trail is a medium difficulty trail located at Long Pine Key. The trail winds over loose limestone that often crumbles under your feet – hence the difficulty. Often, sawgrass stems intrude on the path as well, so you may get scratched if you don’t wear a long shirt. The trail, however, is a spectacular experience because it goes through both sawgrass prairie and pine rocklands. You will get to see a wide variety of flora on the trek. The Pinelands Ecotone trail is one of the few trails that will take you through two distinct habitats – sawgrass prairie and pine rocklands. It’s long, somewhat dangerous because of the loose limestone underfoot, but it’s scenic.
Snake Bight The Snake Bight trail leads you to the edges of Florida Bay. You can spot alligators here and, in December, flamingos too. The trail can be taken with bicycles too. Be prepared for the countless mosquitoes – the trail is infamous for that. One of the best ways to experience the magic of the Everglades is to sign up for an airboat tour. You will get to travel over great swathes of marshlands, take in all the plant life you get to see on the trails as well as see the wildlife, including alligators, up close. It’s a salient way to unwind after a long day spent hiking.
Coastal Prairie Trail (11 miles) The Coastal Prairie Trail, which starts from the Flamingo Center, is infamous for its extreme difficulty. Only go for this trail if you’re an experienced hiker and have a lot of time on your hands. You will go through muddy marl prairie terrain which is hard to walk on. There are a lot of bugs on the trail as well. If you do manage to complete the trail, you will end up at the beautiful Clubhouse Beach alongside Florida Bay. It’s a backcountry campsite you can spend the night at, if you have a permit. If you want to relax after a long hike and want to explore the remainder of the Everglades in peace, one of the best options is to go for an airboat tour. Airboats captains are experienced guides and can take you to some of the most beautiful areas the Everglades National Park has to offer.