Everglades National Park is the third-largest national park by land in the lower 48, however, most of the park is accessible by water trail. But if you are a hiker, don’t let that discourage you from visiting the park. Everglades National Park hiking trails may be for the most part short, but they are interesting, beautiful, and a great way to explore the park.
Everglades National Park is one of the most handicap-accessible parks for hikers. Most of the trails at the park at ADA compliant, meaning they can be used by wheelchairs. They are also great for moms and dads of young kids as they are accessible for strollers as well.
There are a few longer trails in the Everglades too, a few of which are also great for biking.
The Anhinga Trail is a 0.75-mile walk that begins as a paved path and then takes you over the water via a boardwalk. The Anhinga Trail is a great place to see the abundance of wildlife the park offers. Like other Everglades National Park hiking trails, the Anhinga Trail is great for wheelchairs and strollers. The trail leaves from behind the Royal Palm Visitor Center.
Gumbo Limbo Trail
To the right of the Royal Palm Visitor Center, the Gumbo Limbo Trail showcases its namesake. It is a great trail to explore the forest of the Everglades region. This 0.5-mile loop is paved and is also wheelchair accessible.
Lone Pine Key Nature Trail
Long Pine Key Nature Trail is one of the longer hiking trails at Everglades National Park. This trail can be accessed near the Long Pine Key Campground. Generally, we assume a “nature trail” as a shorter interpretive trail, but Long Pine Key Nature Trail is a series of graded fire roads. The Falcon Guide Book on the Everglades, suggests a 12.5-mile out-and-back that can be either hiked or biked. However, the sections outside this suggested section only allow foot traffic.
Not in the mood for a long hiking trail in pine rocklands area of Everglades National Park? The Pineland Trail is a great alternative. This 0.5-mile paved loop takes you through the pines, rocks, and other aspects of what this section of the Everglades unique and interesting. The Pineland Trail is also wheelchair accessible. It is a few miles west on the Main Park Road from the Long Pine Key Campground.
A few more miles down the Main Park Road, the Pa-Hay-Okee Trail is a very short hiking trail. It is only 280 yards roundtrip and is wheelchair accessible. However, one side of the loop has stairs to an overlook and another side has a ramp. You will want to keep to the left or west side of the loop for the ramp. Payhayokee is a Seminole word and means “great gassy waters.” This is what you think of when you think of the Everglades. The Pa-Hay-Okee Trail is also one of the few places in the Everglades where you can get higher for a larger view.
Mahogany Hammock Trail
As you make your way down the Main Park Road, you see these tufts of greenery throughout the landscape. Stopping at the interpretive signs, you will find out these are hammocks or tree islands in the sea of grass. The Mahogany Hammock Trail is a great way to explore one of these hammocks. This 0.5-mile boardwalk is elevated and takes you into the thick of the rainforest of the Everglades. I really enjoyed this trail because the Everglades is vast and open, but the hammocks remind you that you are in the tropics.
Snake Bight Trail
For a little bit longer trail, the Snake Bight Trail showcases three ecosystems in Everglades National Park. Snake Bight is not to be confused with “snake bite,” which probably wouldn’t be a very good name for a trail. This trail is one of the Everglades National Park hiking trails that also allows biking. The Snake Bight Trail is 1.6-miles one way and is a flat and easy path.
The trailhead is located on the Main Park Road between West Lake and Rowdy Bend. It begins through a mangrove forest and then transitions into coastal stand habitat. It ends on a wooden boardwalk over the shoreline of Snake Bight.
I’m always a sucker for a trail that takes you through different habitats. While visiting the park, I debated between this trail and the Christian Point Trail. I asked our camp host which one was best. He said, “The Snake Bight Trail takes you through three different ecosystems” and I was sold.
Coastal Prairie Trail
One of the longest hiking trails in Everglades National Park is the Coastal Prairie Trail. This trail is 6.5 miles one way or 13 miles round trip. Backpacking is allowed, but a permit is required. Backcountry campsites are also accessible by canoe or kayak.
The Coastal Prairie Trail leaves from the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park. The Falcon Guide book said the scenery is excellent and offers a view of mangrove forests, salt marshes, and Florida Bay.
Shark Valley Trail
On the north side of the park, Shark Valley is a wonderful destination to explore. The Shark Valley area and Visitor Center are off the Tamiami Highway. Shark Valley is named for the Shark River Slough, so your chances of seeing a shark are, umm, probably none. But your chances of seeing other wildlife, like alligators, are pretty high.
The Shark Valley Trail is also one of the longest hiking trails in Everglade National Park. “Hiking” may be a stretch because the entire path is paved, but nonetheless, it’s a 15-mile loop making it a trek. Shark Valley Trail can be accessed via bicycle or tram, for those who wish to not “hike” all 15 miles.
It’s a wildlife photographer’s paradise, according to the Falcon Guide, and a long blog detailing a shorter looped hike can be found here.
Otter Cave Hammock Trail
The Otter Cave Hammock Trail is a short spur off of the Shark Valley Trail. This is a dirt path and has solution holes along the path, making it difficult for wheelchairs or strollers.
Bobcat Boardwalk Trail
The Bobcat Boardwalk Trail is a great way to hike a little of Shark Valley Trail. The Bobcat Boardwalk is obviously a boardwalk and is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Everglades National Park Hiking Trails
Everglades National Park may not be known for its hiking trails, but don’t let that discourage you from bringing your hiking boots when you visit the park. The park offers some great short trails or some longer ones for those who want to explore a little more.