The Best Hikes in the Florida Everglades [6 Trails]
The Everglades are a world away from the hustle and bustle and crowded beaches of popular Florida cities like Miami. This one-of-a-kind landscape is an international gem, home to rare plant and animal species, important habitats, and protected lands. It’s also a World Heritage Site!
Many visitors to these vast wetlands enjoy sightseeing by airboat or kayak, embarking on tours to see manatees and alligators as well as birds and other wildlife. There may not be mountains here, but the Everglades offer plenty of amazing hiking trails that allow you to immerse yourself in the rugged nature of this unique wilderness.
Most of the trails are easy to moderate on boardwalks or paved trails. Some of the more difficult trails are harder simply because they are left unmaintained in effort to preserve plant species. Overall, the hiking trails in the Everglades are easier to complete than those in other regions because the trails have virtually no elevation gain. In fact, the highest elevation in Everglades National Park is just 4 feet!
Whether you’re looking for longer hikes or family-friendly walks, the Everglades have hiking trails for everyone. Keep reading to learn about some of our favorites!
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Boardwalk
Winding through the Everglades under a canopy of old-growth cypress trees, the Corkscrew Swamp boardwalk is one of the easiest – and best! – hiking trails in the Everglades. The 2.5-mile boardwalk tunnels around virgin bald cypress trees, some of which are up to 600 years old! Located just 30 minutes from Naples, you can easily plan a day trip around this scenic hike.
The best part of this hike is how accessible it is. The entire trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible since it’s on a flat boardwalk, and there are many benches along the route to take a break. As you enjoy a leisurely stroll, look for ghost orchids and listen to the chatter of birds above you – 200 species have been identified in this area of the Corkscrew Swamp.
Note: Online reservations are required to access the boardwalk.
One of the top Everglades National Park hiking trails, the Anhinga Trail is located 4 miles from the park entrance near Homestead, FL, starting at the Royal Palm Visitor Center. With both a paved walkway and boardwalk, the loop trail is an easy option for families with small kids, especially since it’s one of the most popular spots in the park to see wildlife.
Be on the lookout for alligators, egrets, and of course, anhingas, long slender waterbirds with an S-shaped neck and tail feathers that resemble a turkey’s tail. You can also see egrets, turtles, and many other birds in this sawgrass marsh.
Get a sweeping view of the Everglades on this boardwalk loop with a raised observation platform that lets you see for miles. Drive 13 miles from the main park entrance at the Ernest Coe Visitor Center and you’ll arrive at the start of the trail. This hiking trail is particularly popular for its incredible views and abundant wildlife.
This wonderful Everglades hiking trail meanders along the shore of the Florida Bay, offering great waterfront views, up-close encounters with the mangrove habitat, and a glimpse at the old fishing village of Flamingo. Try to keep quiet as you walk so you can enjoy bird watching along the shore. Access this trail from the Coastal Prairie Trailhead off of State Highway 9336 from the main park road.
Bear Lake Trail
History buffs and nature enthusiasts will love the Bear Lake Trail. Not only does it follow the historic Homestead Canal, built in 1922, but it also features more than 50 different tree species. You can see remnants of early developers, a mangrove-lined canal, and a dense hammock of hardwood trees. Be on the lookout for alligator eggs, tree snails, and other signs of life. The views of Bear Lake at the end of the trail make the hike well worth it!
Note: Parts of this trail have become quite overgrown since the National Park Service has stopped maintaining the trail in order to protect the critical habitat for the Cape Sable thoroughwort (an herb in the sunflower family).
Long Pine Key Trail
Moderate – Difficult
The gorgeous Long Pine Key Trail is really a series of connected trails through the pinelands. As an out-and-back trail, you can make your adventure as long as you’d like before turning back. Due to the dry nature of the trail, it’s a great option for avoiding bugs and mud, and it’s also popular with cyclists.
The Long Pine Key Trail is generally less busy than other trails in the park, offering the chance to see deer, snakes, and plenty of birds. If you want to feel secluded and immerse yourself in the Everglades, this is the trail for you.
Even if you choose to hike an easy trail, remember to come prepared. Pack lots of water, bug spray, snacks, and a raincoat. There are so many ways to enjoy the Everglades, from kayak adventures to airboat tours, and more. Discover everything Everglades National Park has to offer and view one-of-a-kind tours and activities.