Everglades National Park has many miles of hiking and biking trails. As most of Everglades National Park is designated wilderness, motorized vehicles are permitted only on the main park road. Pets are not permitted on any trail. Horseback riding in the park requires a special use permit. Contact the chief ranger's office at 305-242-7700 for more information. One of the best ways to experience the Everglades is to get out into it for an extended visit. With 156 miles (251 km) of canoe and walking trails opportunities for solitude are abundant. See the Boating Page for more information.
|West Lake||0.5 mi / 400 m round trip||7 mi / 11 km north of Flamingo||This self-guiding boardwalk trail wanders through a forest of white mangrove, black mangrove, red mangrove, and buttonwood trees to the edge of West Lake. Wheelchair accessible.|
|Snake Bight||1.6 mi / 2.6 km one way||4 mi / 6 km north of Flamingo||Enter another world as you walk through a tropical hardwood hammock with dozens of tropical tree species. Good bird watching on the boardwalk at the end of the trail. Bicycles are permitted on all but the boardwalk.|
|Rowdy Bend||2.6 mi / 4.2 km one way||3 mi / 5 km north of Flamingo||Explore an overgrown old road bed through shady buttonwoods and open coastal salt prairie. At the end, the trail joins with the Snake Bight Trail. Bicycles are permitted.|
|Christian Point||1.8 mi / 2.9 km one way||1 mi / 2 km north of Flamingo||Wander a rustic path beginning in dense buttonwoods full of air plants. End in open coastal prairie along the shores of Snake Bight. Good habitat for raptors.|
|Bear Lake||1.6 mi / 2.6 km one way||2 mi / 3 km north of Flamingo on the Bear Lake Road||Journey through a dense hardwood hammock mixed with mangroves. Excellent area for woodland birds. More than 30 different tree types. The trail ends at Bear Lake.|
|Eco Pond||0.5 mi / 800 m round trip||At Flamingo||Stroll around this freshwater pond and enjoy a wide variety of wading birds, song birds, and other wildlife. Alligators often cruise the pond. Good bird watching, especially at sunrise and sunset, from the wheelchair- accessible viewing platform at the beginning of the trail.|
|Guy Bradley||1 mi / 1.6 km one way||At Flamingo||A scenic shortcut between the campground amphitheater and the visitor center. Mingle with a variety of birds and butterflies as you amble along the shore of Florida Bay.|
|Bayshore Loop||2 mi / 3.2 km round trip||At Flamingo||Coastal Prairie Trailhead at the back of loop "C" in the Flamingo Campground. Veer left at the trail junction to the bay Meander along the shore of Florida Bay and watch for remnants of a former outpost fishing village.|
|Coastal Prairie||7.5 mi / 12 km one way||Rear of loop "C" in the campground||Step back in time as you walk this old road once used by wild cotton pickers and fishermen. Shady buttonwoods and open expanses of succulent coastal plants await. Begin at the A backcountry permit is required for overnight camping.|
|Anhinga||0.5 mi / 800 m round trip||Royal Palm Visitor Center||This self-guiding trail winds through a sawgrass marsh, where you may see alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, egrets, and many other birds, especially during the winter. This is one of the most popular trails in the park because of its abundance of wildlife. Wheelchair accessible.|
|Gumbo-Limbo||0.5 mi / 800 meters round trip||Royal Palm Visitor Center||This self-guiding, paved trail meanders through a shaded, jungle-like hammock of gumbo limbo trees, royal palms, ferns, and air plants. Wheelchair accessible.|
|Long Pine Key||7 mi / 11 km||West from the campground to Pine Glades Lake along the main park road||The Long Pine Key Nature Trail is a continuous trail. It is open to bicycles.|
|Old Ingraham Highway||11 mi / 18 km||Royal Palm Visitor Center||It runs south and west from near the Royal Palm Visitor Center, and with two overnight campsites along the way. It is also open to bicycles.|
|Pineland||7 mi / 11 km from the park entrance||This trail loops through a forest of pines, palmettos, and wildflowers. Accessible, though narrow and uneven in places where roots have pushed the pavement up.|
|Pahayokee Overlook||0.25 mi / 400 m round trip||13 mi / 21 km from the park entrance||A raised observation platform on this boardwalk loop provides sweeping vistas of the "river of grass." Wheelchair accessible.|
|Mahogany Hammock||0.5 mi / 800 m round trip||20 mi / 32 km from the park entrance||This self-guiding boardwalk trail meanders through a dense, jungle-like hardwood "hammock." Lush vegetation includes gumbo-limbo trees, air plants, and the largest living mahogany tree (Swietenia mahogani) in the United States. Wheelchair accessible.|
|Bobcat Boardwalk||0.5 mi / 800 m||Behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center||This self-guiding boardwalk trail meanders through the sawgrass slough and tropical hardwood forests. Wheelchair accessible.|
|Otter Cave Hammock||0.25 mi / 400 m||Shark Valley Visitor Center||A rough, limestone trail through a lush, tropical hardwood forest. Often flooded during the summer; check at the Visitor Center for current conditions.|
|Tram Road||15 mi / 24 km round trip||This flat, paved road is used for tram rides, bicycling, and walking. Along the road you may see alligators, herons, egrets, deer, turtles, and snail kites. An observation tower at the half-way point provides panoramic views. Bicycles may be rented from the Shark Valley Tram Tour company. Bicycling the tram road is an excellent way to see the Everglades! Note that groups of 20 bicyclists or more require a Special Use Permit.|
There are no hiking trails at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, although nearby areas such as Fakahatchee State Preserve and Big Cypress National Preserve offer trails.
Bicycling is permitted along the main park roads, on the Shark Valley tram road, on the Old Ingraham Highway, on Long Pine Key Nature Trail, and on the Snake Bight and Rowdy Bend trails at Flamingo.
Bicycling at Shark Valley is a great way to experience the quiet beauty of the Everglades. As the sawgrass prairie slowly unfolds before your eyes, stop and take a moment to enjoy the life that abounds.
Along the road are four artificial ponds. These "borrow pits" are areas where limestone has been quarried, crushed into gravel, and then used to raise the level of the tram road. In the winter months, when the sawgrass prairie is dry, the borrow pits serve as water holes that attract a variety of wildlife. Look for alligators, wading birds, anhingas, and turtles around these human-made "gator holes."
Dispersed throughout the Everglades are large tree islands called "tropical hardwood hammocks" and smaller shrubby islands known as "bayheads." The hammocks exist on limestone ridges rising a few feet above the seasonally wet sawgrass prairie. These higher elevation areas provide a flood-free environment with a thin layer of soil that can support a multitude of tropical and temperate zone vegetation. Bayhead communities also exist on ridges, but since the elevation change is less than that of a hammock environment, these ridges are periodically inundated by water. This results in an equally varied but different assemblage of plants. The Bobcat Boardwalk and the Otter Cave Hammock Trail, both near the Visitor Center, provide opportunities to explore bayhead and hammock communities.
The Tram Road
15 mi / 24 km round trip
Average of 2 to 3 hours
There are no short cuts. If you become tired or are unable to complete the entire 15 mile trip, turn around and return on the same road. Be aware of vehicles coming up behind you. The parking lot closes at 6:00 pm, so be sure to allow enough time.
If you do not have your own bicycle, one may be rented at the tram office. Rentals are available from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm and must be returned by 4:00 pm. For more information, call the Shark Valley Tram Office at 305-221-8455.
Park regulations require that any group of more than 20 bicyclists obtain a Special Use Permit prior to their planned ride. Groups who wish to bicycle after park hours are also required to have a permit and are limited to no more than 25 persons.
Applications for Special Use Permits can be obtained by calling 305-225-3004 or 305-221-8776. To request an application in writing, contact:
Fee Collection Supervisor
S.R. 42 - Shark Valley
Everglades National Park
Ochopee, FL 34141
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