“A tough trail taking you into the heart of the Everglades wilderness.”
— Beth Bailey
Swimming · Views · Wildlife
Families looking for an adventure can make an all-day or overnight trip of this trail, provided you are prepared with plenty of water and sun protection.
Check with the park rangers for any closures. Recent rain will make this trail impassable.
This trail takes you through an Everglades prairie into a tropical forest, and back to the prairie with beautiful changes in scenery. Be sure to check with the park rangers for current trail conditions as this is a very primitive setting. You need to be prepared to carry in lots of water and perhaps plan on camping overnight since the length of the trail combined with the sun dictates long breaks.
The trailhead is located in the very back of the Flamingo campground area and the beginning is well marked through a quick forest into the prairie. As you go along, there are fewer signs, but the trail is easy to follow. Enjoy the scenery changes and see the wide variety of flora and fauna that can be found in the Everglades. If it has been wet, be prepared to spend most of the way navigating through slippery mud conditions. For about three miles, you'll work your way through coastal grasslands. You'll then head into the forest for another two miles or so before making your way back into the prairie. The trail is very flat for the entirety of the trip, but it is very exposed to the elements.
Panther tracks are visible as you move farther into the grass and you feel like you're the only people in the world as you go farther along. You can hear many birds, but be prepared for the bugs once you enter the forest! Around 6.5 miles, there is a turn off to reach Clubhouse Beach
which offers the only non-chickee, hike-up primitive camping in this portion of the Everglades. This beach is paradise! White sand beach, clear shallow water, all to yourself! Just be prepared to wade through knee deep marsh to get there and to spend time foraging for wood.
Since this is an out-and-back, simply follow the trail back to the trailhead. Ration your water as the last section will be the long prairie section where the sun will beat down on you. Pay attention to the signs as you get closer to the trailhead so you don't accidentally take a longer loop. Cold drinks are available in the marina shop and the restaurant when you have completed your outing.