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18 Exciting Everglades Hikes You Don’t Want to Miss

Sunset in a pine forest as seen while hiking in Everglades National Park
NPS/Caitlin Rivas

If you’re looking for a beautiful and wild hike, look no further than Everglades National Park. This astounding place is also a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, in case you needed another reason to visit.

With so many exciting Everglades hikes to choose from, there’s something for everyone. From easy boardwalk trails to more challenging long-distance hikes, the Everglades will take your breath away.

This incredible national park is home to miles of hiking trails that will take you through swamps, mangroves, and coastal prairies. Wildlife enthusiasts will love spotting alligators and other creatures in their natural habitat, while coastal vistas provide postcard-perfect photo ops.

You’ll see all sorts of wildlife along the way, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of a manatee or the elusive Florida panther! In this post, we’ll tell you about our 18 favorite hikes in Everglades National Park.

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Land Acknowledgment: This post promotes travel to native lands. We honor all Indigenous caretakers of these lands and waters, the elders who lived here before, the Indigenous today, and the generations to come.

Things to Know Before Visiting Everglades National Park

A swimming alligator

Entrance Fee

There is a fee to enter Everglades National Park. It’s $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, or $15 per person (on foot, by paddle-craft, or by bicycle). These permits are valid for seven days. There are also $55 Everglades annual passes available for purchase. You can purchase your pass online ahead of time.

In order to save money, I would recommend purchasing a national parks pass. These cost $80 and are valid for a full calendar year (from the date of purchase) at all public lands in the United States. After you visit 3 national parks, it’ll have paid for itself. It also makes a great gift for national park enthusiasts!

Sunset reflected in a pond

Operating Hours

The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, some districts and visitor centers also have their own operating hours and seasons, which you can find updates on below (in our Everglades National Park overview) or by calling (305) 242-7700.

A Great blue heron eats a fish

Pets

Pets are not permitted on unpaved roads or hiking trails in Everglades National Park. They are also not allowed on the Tram Road in Shark Valley.

You can bring leashed pets to any paved roadways, campgrounds, picnic areas, and private boats.

Emotional support animals and service animals in training are considered pets.

Service animals, however, may accompany their owners anywhere the park doesn’t have specific restrictions for your animal’s safety. NPS policy defines a service animal as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The tasks performed by the animal must be directly related to the person’s disability.

A small pond surrounded by grass

Leave No Trace

When visiting our national parks and public lands, please practice Leave No Trace principles. Plan ahead, choose durable surfaces for camping or hiking, dispose of all waste properly, leave everything you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other park visitors.

In addition to the wide array of land trails in the park, you can also find an enormous number of canoe/kayak trails here. The same Leave No Trace guidelines still apply.

An anhinga dries its wings

Cell Reception

Service is pretty spotty in the park, especially for anyone without AT&T service. Don’t depend on your mobile devices. Download all maps ahead of time (or bring a paper copy) and tell someone where you’re going.

A baby alligator in the green grass.

When to Visit Everglades National Park

There are truly two seasons in the Everglades: the wet season and the dry season.

The wet season is considered to be from April to October. This also coincides with hurricane season, which is from June 1 to November 30. There are more biting insects in the park this time of year. This is the least popular time to visit the Everglades. Services are also limited as there are not as many park rangers employed during the summer months.

The dry season, from November to March, is the most common time to visit the Everglades. The weather is much more pleasant and the biting bugs are kept at bay. The park also offers more ranger-guided activities this time of year. Birdwatching is also at its best in the winter.

No matter when you visit, it’s important to start hiking in Everglades National Park early. This helps you avoid the heat, see the most wildlife, and (hopefully) explore before the bugs come out.

An egret

How Long Should I Spend in Everglades National Park?

In our opinion, this park deserves at least four days of your time, which is how we wrote this Everglades itinerary. It’s designed so that you spend one day in each district.

However, you could truly spend as much time here as you like. You can explore the Royal Palm area for just a half day or venture out on a canoe through the wilderness for over one week. Shark Valley is also perfect for a day trip from Miami. The choice is up to you!

Even if you’re not into hiking, there are plenty of other incredible things to do in Everglades National Park.

Two turtles on a log

Overview of Everglades National Park

There are multiple entrances and districts in this large national park. We will divide up our favorite Everglades trails by difficulty later in this post, so it’s good to be familiar with where they’re located.

You can click on the map below to enlarge it and download it if you wish.

A map of Everglades National Park
NPS

Homestead is considered the main entrance to the park. You can access the Royal Palm/Pine Island and Flamingo districts here. Check hours for the Royal Palm (Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center) and Flamingo Visitor Center on the official website. Homestead is also a large city with plenty of lodging and restaurant options. When visiting Flamingo, keep your eyes peeled for manatees or the American crocodile.

The Shark Valley entrance is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Despite the park being open for 24 hours, vehicles cannot access this district after 6 p.m. Check hours for the Shark Valley Visitor Center here.

Hundreds of White pelicans on a spit of sand

Finally, the Gulf Coast district is on the west coast of Florida, accessed by the Tamiami Trail. There’s currently a temporary visitor center set up as the original one was significantly damaged in Hurricane Irma. Gulf Coast Visitor Center hours are available here. Trails here are almost exclusively for canoes/kayaks.

It’s also wise to check the weather and the park’s current conditions before you go. These can vary wildly depending on where in the Everglades you’re planning to visit.

You can check the weather for Royal Palm, Flamingo, Gulf Coast, or Shark Valley.

The Best Hikes in Everglades National Park

A dirt trail through a forest

Here is a quick overview of the Everglades hiking trails we will cover in more detail as you continue reading.

Trails are listed in order of difficulty and distance.

Thankfully, no hikes in the Everglades have significant elevation change. In fact, most park elevations are listed in inches! The park’s highest point is a mere 8 feet (excluding the man-made features).

An Anhinga with its mouth open

Everglades Trails in Pine Island/Royal Palm

  • Pahayokee Overlook
  • Gumbo Limbo Trail
  • Pinelands Trail
  • Mahogany Hammock Trail
  • Anhinga Trail
  • Long Pine Key Trail
A crocodile in the cypress trees

Everglades National Park Hiking Trails in Flamingo

  • Eco Pond Trail
  • West Lake Trail
  • Guy Bradley Trail
  • Bayshore Trail
  • Bear Lake Trail
  • Snake Bight Trail
  • Christian Point Trail
  • Rowdy Bend Trail
  • Coastal Prairie Trail
A paved path leads to a tower

Everglades Hikes in Shark Valley

  • Bobcat Boardwalk Trail
  • Otter Cave Hammock Trail
  • Shark Valley Trail (Tram Road)

Pahayokee Overlook

Pahayokee Overlook

Difficulty: Easy

Start: About 13 miles from the Ernest Cove Visitor Center along the main road.

Distance (roundtrip): 0.2 miles / 260 m

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: No

This is one of our favorite trails in Everglades National Park for the views. This boardwalk will lead you to a raised platform overlooking the famous “river of grass”, one of the park’s nicknames.

Gumbo Limbo Trail

Gumbo Limbo 12/2/20

Difficulty: Easy

Start: Royal Palm Visitor Center

Distance (roundtrip): 0.4 miles / 600 m

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: No

This short and easy paved hike is great for families with small children or those who want to take a quick stroll. It’s also shaded, a wonderful reprieve on a hot summer day. The trail is surrounded by gumbo limbo and royal palm trees.

Pinelands Trail

Pinelands Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Start: 7 miles from the Homestead entrance of the park

Distance (roundtrip): 0.4 miles / 650 m

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes, with assistance

Bikes Allowed: No

This is another short and paved trail along the main road through Everglades National Park. Along the way, you’re treated to the diverse South Florida slash pine forest, a lush area of pines and subtropical plants.

Bobcat Boardwalk Trail

Bobcat Boardwalk

Difficulty: Easy

Start: Off the Tram Road behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center

Distance (roundtrip): 0.5 miles / 800 m

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: No

This boardwalk leads visitors to a forest of sawgrass and tropical hardwoods. It’s a nice little trail to walk if you’ve got time before your tram tour.

Eco Pond Trail

Snowy Egrets - Eco Pond (2), NPSPhoto, R. Cammauf

Difficulty: Easy

Start: The right side of the Flamingo Visitor Center

Distance (roundtrip): 0.5 miles / 800 m

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: No

This trail leads to a freshwater pond that is extremely popular with a variety of birds. Lucky visitors may also spot alligators and Florida softshell turtles!

Mahogany Hammock Trail

Mahogany Hammock Boardwalk (3), NPSPhoto

Difficulty: Easy

Start: 20 miles from the main park entrance at Homestead

Distance (roundtrip): 0.5 miles / 800 m

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: No

Another boardwalk trail, this one features the largest living mahogany tree in the United States. The dense forest you’ll walk through also includes gumbo limbo trees.

Otter Cave Hammock Trail

Otter Cave Hammock Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Start: Behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center, off the Tram Road

Distance (one-way): 0.25 miles / 400 m

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: No

This trail is a bit rougher than its neighboring boardwalk trail with limestone paths. There are also several small footbridges over a stream.

In the summer, this trail can be flooded. Check with park rangers before hiking.

West Lake Trail

West Lake Boardwalk

Difficulty: Easy

Start: 7 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center along the main road

Distance (roundtrip): 0.5 miles / 800 m

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: No

As you drive farther south, you’ll notice the surroundings begin to change. That’s also evident on this short trail through the mangroves. Many different mangrove species dot this boardwalk trail.

Anhinga Trail

A boardwalk, known as the Anhinga Trail, traverses the swamp. This is one of the best Everglades hikes.

Difficulty: Easy

Start: Royal Palm Visitor Center

Distance (roundtrip): 0.8 miles / 1,200 m

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: No

The Anhinga Trail is one of the most popular trails in Everglades National Park. It’s likely because it’s easy, it isn’t too long, and there’s an abundance of wildlife along the way. What’s not to like?

Guy Bradley Trail

Prairie Warbler NPSPhoto R. DiPietro

Difficulty: Easy

Start: Flamingo Visitor Center or Flamingo Campground

Distance (one-way): 1 mile / 1.6 km

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: Yes

In addition to birds, this trail is known for being the home of many butterfly species. You’ll walk along the shore of the Florida Bay, so enjoy those coastal views. You’ll also see remnants of the old fishing village.

According to the National Park Service, “The trail was named for Audubon warden Guy Bradley, who was killed in 1905 while trying to protect a bird rookery in Florida Bay.”

Bayshore Trail

Green green green

Difficulty: Easy

Start: The Coastal Prairie Trailhead at the back of Loop C in the Flamingo Campground; veer left at the trail junction

Distance (roundtrip): 2 miles / 3.2 km

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: No

This trail takes visitors to the shores of Florida Bay where there was once a small fishing village.

Note: Due to the presence of the endangered Cape Sable thoroughwort, a small herb, this trail is not being maintained at this time. Hikers may proceed at their own risk.

Bear Lake Trail

Bear Lake Trailhead, NPSphoto

Difficulty: Easy

Start: Bear Lake Road, 2 miles north of Flamingo Visitor Center

Distance (one-way): 1.6 miles / 2.6 km

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: No

This trail follows an old canal, making it ideal for spotting woodland birds. It’s also great for any hikers interested in plants; you’ll find over 50 species along the way.

The Bear Lake Road, used to access the trail, can close at any time due to flooding and road damage.

Note: Due to the presence of the endangered Cape Sable thoroughwort, a small herb, this trail is not being maintained at this time. Hikers may proceed at their own risk.

Snake Bight Trail

A boardwalk trail over mud

Difficulty: Easy

Start: 4 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center

Distance (one-way): 1.6 mi / 2.6 km

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: Yes (except for the boardwalk portion)

Don’t worry; hiking this trail doesn’t guarantee snake bites! A bight is actually a small bay within a larger bay. This trail is great for birding, especially at high tide at the boardwalk at the trail’s end.

Note: Due to the presence of the endangered Cape Sable thoroughwort, a small herb, this trail is not being maintained at this time. Hikers may proceed at their own risk.

Christian Point Trail

Christian Point

Difficulty: Easy

Start: 1 mile north of the Flamingo Visitor Center

Distance (one-way): 1.8 miles / 2.9 km

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: No

This trail leads to the Snake Bight and is best enjoyed at high tide. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful trail for botanists and plant lovers who will enjoy the wide variety of species seen along the path.

Note: Due to the presence of the endangered Cape Sable thoroughwort, a small herb, this trail is not being maintained at this time. Hikers may proceed at their own risk.

Rowdy Bend Trail

Rowdy Bend Trail, NPSphoto

Difficulty: Moderate

Start: 3 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center

Distance (one-way): 2.6 miles / 4.2 km

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: Yes

A great trail for birdwatchers, especially woodland birds. This trail is on an overgrown road bed and relatively shaded.

You can combine this trail with Snake Bight and the park road to form a 12.6-mile roundtrip biking loop from the Flamingo Visitor Center.

Note: Due to the presence of the endangered Cape Sable thoroughwort, a small herb, this trail is not being maintained at this time. Hikers may proceed at their own risk.

Coastal Prairie Trail

Coastal Prairie Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Start: Near the end of the C loop in the Flamingo Campground

Distance (roundtrip): 15 miles / 24 km

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: No

This old road serviced residents of the fishing village. It was also used by cotton pickers. You’ll walk through succulents and buttonwoods toward Florida Bay. There’s a surprising amount of shade! At the end of the trail is a backcountry camping site (permit required).

Note: Due to the presence of the endangered Cape Sable thoroughwort, a small herb, this trail is not being maintained at this time. Hikers may proceed at their own risk.

Shark Valley Trail (Tram Road)

A paved path leads to a tower. An alligator rests on the path.

Difficulty: Moderate

Start: Shark Valley Visitor Center

Distance (roundtrip): 15 miles / 24 km

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Bikes Allowed: Yes

This is probably our favorite trail in Everglades National Park. There are many ways to see what is has to offer: you can hike, bike, or take a guided tram tour. If you didn’t bring your own bike, there are some available to rent.

The trail/road is flat and paved. Along the way, it’s common to see a variety of birds, turtles, and alligators. The last time we visited, there was a nest of baby alligators!

Halfway down the road is an observation tower allowing you to fully take in the immense Everglades landscape.

Long Pine Key Trail

Long Pine Key Nature Trail (10), NPSPhoto

Difficulty: Moderate

Start: Long Pine Key Campground or Pine Glades Lake

Distance (roundtrip): 15.5 miles / 24.9 km

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Bikes Allowed: Yes

Due to this trail’s length, it’s one of the least popular hikes in Everglades National Park. I would strongly consider this one if you’d like to avoid crowds.

It also traverses several different habitats within the Everglades. These include pine rockland, prairie, and tropical hardwood hammock.

If you’re able to organize a ride or someone is willing to shuttle, you can cut the trail length in half. Alternatively, you can connect to other trails to form a 22.2-mile hike.

Note: Due to the presence of the endangered Florida leafwing and Bartram’s scrub hairstreak, two species of butterfly, this trail is not being maintained at this time. Hikers and cyclists may proceed at their own risk.

What to Pack for Your Everglades Hiking Trip

A collection of items you should pack for a trip to any national park, especially if you plan on hiking.

Finally, and we can’t stress this enough, pack wisely for this trip. By respecting this environment, you will in turn respect yourself. Keep yourself safe and comfortable to enjoy this national park to its fullest!

  • Hiking boots: Shoes that are good for hiking and have ankle support.
  • Sunscreen: The UV rays in national parks can be intense, even on cloudy days.
  • Bug spray: There are a lot of bugs in the park, especially near water sources.
  • Yaktrax: Helpful for snowy conditions.
  • Rain gear: The weather can change quickly, no matter the time of year or location. Bring a raincoat and/or umbrella just in case!
  • Layers: Temperatures can fluctuate a lot, so it’s best to dress in layers.
  • Snacks: There are limited food options inside the park, so bring your own snacks!
  • Camera: You’ll want to capture the beauty of your national park in photos!
  • Water bottle: Stay hydrated while hiking around the park!
  • Hat: You’ll need protection from the sun and bugs.
  • Binoculars: Bring binoculars if you want to view wildlife in the park.
  • First-aid kit: You never know if you might get a cut or scrape while hiking.
  • Flashlight: This is helpful for late-night hikes and stargazing!
  • Map: Bring a physical map for navigating the park.
  • Face mask: Masks may be required inside federal buildings.
A Great blue heron on the pond side
An alligator rests on shore

Where to Stay Near Everglades National Park

A Great blue heron on a rock in the water

FlamingoFlamingo CampgroundFlamingo Eco Tents

Homestead: Hampton Inn, Floridian Hotel, A-1 Budget Motel

Gulf Coast: River Wilderness Waterfront VillasEverglades City MotelIvey House

Shark ValleyMiccosukee ResortBest Western PlusHoliday InnCourtyardDoubleTree

Learn more about camping in Everglades National Park in our Expert Guide to the park.

Pin Our Favorite Everglades Hikes

A Great blue heron on the side of a pond

Have you ever been to Everglades National Park? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments below!

A post detailing the best hikes in Everglades National Park. Learn about everything from the best easy boardwalk hikes to longer trails. See incredible wildlife and gorgeous coastal vistas.
A post detailing the best hikes in Everglades National Park. Learn about everything from the best easy boardwalk hikes to longer trails. See incredible wildlife and gorgeous coastal vistas.
A post detailing the best hikes in Everglades National Park. Learn about everything from the best easy boardwalk hikes to longer trails. See incredible wildlife and gorgeous coastal vistas.

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