This post will show you four short walking trails in the famous Everglades National Park, Florida. We will begin with the Anhinga Trail, one of the most popular Everglades trails, and also see the Gumbo Limbo Trail next to it.
Then we will drive on to the southern edge of the national park, to a place called Flamingo that has large wetland areas containing crocodiles and manatees.
On the way back there will be one more walk, the Mahogany Hammock Boardwalk.
Everglades hiking trails: the Anhinga Trail
All these four short walks are short and suit both young and old. We have even been to these places with small children and they really loved the day out: the marshes and waters, the birds and the shady hammock. And above all the name of Gumbo Limbo Trail.
This trip needs a whole day and you should bring your camera, good shoes and mosquito spray.
Everglades Trails on the Map
Location of Everglades walking trails on the map
The map shows the driving itinerary from Miami to Flamingo and back and I marked the location of the short trails on the map. So the drive will be 100 miles one way which is a two to three hours drive.
We will begin with the Anhinga Trail:
Walking trails in the Everglades: Anhinga bird
Anhinga Trail is named after the Anhinga bird that you can see many of along the trail. The trail starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Center which is close to the Everglades park entrance. The one mile long Anhinga walking trail winds it way through sawgrass marshes and gives you a good understanding of what Everglades National Park is like.
You will mainly walk on an elevated boardwalk from where it’s easy to observe the wildlife in the marsh and waters below. It’s easy to spot different kinds of birds and other water wildlife from the many observation platforms that are built for that purpose. Even the hungry alligators are right there, right below you, and so are the turtles and raccoons. And black and white Anhinga birds, ugly vultures and other wetland birds.
Even when Anhinga Trail is only a mile long you will probably stay a long time on this trail, observing nature wonders and Everglades wildlife.
Gumbo Limbo Trail
Everglades National Park: gumbo limbo tree bark
The second trail starting from the Royal Palm Visitor Center is the Gumbo Limbo Trail. This trail goes into a dense tropical hammock and is only half a mile long. It’s all the way on easy paths or boardwalks as well. Here you can see gumbo limbo trees, a specialty of the Everglades. You will recognize Gumbo limbo trees from their thick, red bark.
During the wet season the trees contain loads of big tree snails in many colors. We haven’t seen those snails however as we have only been to the Everglades in the dry season. But even during the dry season we did see mosquitoes in the thick hammock and they especially bothered the small ones.
Next stop: Flamingo.
Gulf of Mexico seen from Flamingo, Everglades National Park
Flamingo is far away and needs a long drive (40 miles one way). As we only planned to stay a couple of hours we were wondering if the place was worth the drive. What is there to do in Flamingo?
In Flamingo you can see the Gulf of Mexico and in addition the area has many fantastic inland lakes. They have marked water trails on the lakes that you can explore by canoe which is something I’d love to try!
And Flamingo has huge crocodiles, not just tiny alligators. We walked on the paths and spotted crocodiles hiding in shallow creeks and there should also be manatees which we didn’t see.
Going to Flamingo is really worth it if you stay longer than two hours, rent a canoe and explore the waterways or if you walk on the marked trails. There are many of them. Otherwise there is not much to see and the place is quite basic.
As many travelers stay the night here there is a campsite and Flamingo has a visitor center as well. And you can see a lot of Everglades nature on the roadside as you drive to Flamingo: swamp, winding waterways and dark brown marshland lakes.
A dark brown lake north of Flamingo, Everglades National Park
Driving back from Flamingo we stopped many times to have a look at those small lakes with dark brown water. Those lakes really look special.
Half way between Flamingo and the Everglades park entrance is our last short trail, the Mahogany Hammock Boardwalk. It’s a short loop trail in a tropical hardwood hammock and uses boardwalks all the way.
The Mahogany Hammock trail was a nice little walk. And here we saw what we had been warned about: a rattle snake hiding right below us below the boardwalk (the picture on the right).
Back to Miami
The Everglades National Park has one more interesting destination I would like to see, but we have not had time for it yet on our trips. It’s the Long Pine Key. There should be many good trails as well,and a campsite for overnight stays.
But it was getting late and we had to start driving back to Miami. On the way we stopped one more time, at a roadside vegetable and fruit market. They prepared super tasty smoothies that made us and above all the kids happy. And these smoothies helped them sit two more hours in the car.
Wildlife of Everglades National Park, Florida
More on Everglades National Park
I have also written another post on the Everglades, it’s about our biking trip to Shark Valley >>.
Alligator in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park
More about the Everglades and Florida Hiking:
- See my post about biking in Shark Valley, Everglades
- Everglades National Park website >>
- More about Florida hiking trails >>