- 1 Resources
- 2 Exploring Big Cypress
- 3 Public Lands in the Big Cypress Swamp
- 4 Where to stay in the Big Cypress Swamp
- 5 Swamp Walks in Big Cypress Swamp
- 6 Boardwalks in the Big Cypress Swamp
- 7 Articles on the Big Cypress Swamp
As Florida authors, we’ve spent a great deal of time in the Big Cypress Swamp. Because of its unusual beauty and botanical wonders, many aspects of it are featured heavily in our books on the region.
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we receive earnings when you buy these through our links. This helps us continue to provide public information on this website.
Exploring Big Cypress
A massive ecosystem spanning more than a million acres, the Big Cypress Swamp is unlike anywhere else on Earth. Rainfall seeps across this landscape in a shallow southeast sheetflow.
Along its path, it nourishes both lush cypress strands with deeper waters and open prairies with wizened diminutive cypress atop a rocky puzzle of karst. Islands topped with tropical trees and pines poke out of this sea of swamp.
Picking up nutrients during this slow process, the waters of Big Cypress feed the mangrove marshes of the Ten Thousand Islands as they mingle with the Gulf of Mexico.
Public Lands in the Big Cypress Swamp
Many public and some private conservation lands protect this sensitive resource known as the Western Everglades. Hydrologically, the Big Cypress Swamp stretches from Fort Myers to the northwest down to Naples.
It extends east towards Okaloacoochee Slough on its northern end, and once reached Lake Okeechobee. On its southern section, it meets the Everglades “River of Grass” along the edge of the Miccosukee Reservation along the Tamiami Trail west of Miami.
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
Winding 1.4 miles through the slough, the broad wheelchair-accessible boardwalk at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers leads you into a dark cypress strand
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
The longer of two loops at Florida Panther NWR guarantees a wet walk through panther habitat of wet pine flatwoods and cypress domes
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
It’s the Amazon of North America, home of the ghost orchid. Protecting more than 85,000 acres, Fakahatchee Strand is Florida’s largest state preserve and most certainly our wildest.
CREW Marsh Trails
At CREW Marsh, a network of well-marked paths crisscrosses the northwestern tip of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed, providing loops of up to 3.1 miles along a vast marsh.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Weaving beneath a canopy knit by old-growth cypress trees in a majestic swamp forest, the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of Florida’s best hikes
Big Cypress National Preserve
Protecting nearly three quarters of the million-acre Big Cypress Swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve is Florida’s largest and most remote wilderness.
Where to stay in the Big Cypress Swamp
These communities provide places to stay within and along the edges of the Big Cypress Swamp, as well as access to restaurants, ecotours, and museums.
Discover the cultural heritage and natural attractions of the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, too.
Billie Swamp Safari
With airboat and swamp buggy rides as well as interpretation of native species, Billie Swamp Safari is an attraction providing immersion into the Big Cypress Swamp, ancestral home of the Seminole Tribe since the 1800s..
Set in a 60-acre cypress dome on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum of Seminole culture provides an introduction to the tropical outdoors of natural South Florida’s swamps in which the Seminole Tribe has lived for more than a century.
Swamp Walks in Big Cypress Swamp
A guided swamp walk such as the ones offered at the Clyde Butcher Big Cypress Gallery are the best way to get your feet wet for the first time.
But this immense swamp also has many trails where you can wade right in, including Florida’s toughest backpacking trip along a 30-mile segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Here are a few suggestions.
Boardwalks in the Big Cypress Swamp
These accessible boardwalk trails provide an easy way to see the beauty of the Big Cypress Swamp without getting your feet wet. They are ideal for walking along slowly for birding.
Articles on the Big Cypress Swamp
Our narrative features on our adventures in the Big Cypress Swamp.
Big Cypress Backcountry Access
By December 15, all public comments are due on the new Big Cypress Backcountry Access Plan. Here’s our analysis of it and our opinions, along with a discussion of backcountry and wilderness in Florida.
Crossing Big Cypress
It’s Florida’s roughest, wettest, weirdest backpacking trip, best tackled with friends. Along this 30 mile stretch of the Florida Trail in the heart of Big Cypress National Preserve, immersing in the swamp is the point of the hike. Sandra tackled it as the final stretch of her multi-year 1,110-mile section hike of the Florida Trail, end-to-end.
The Ghost Orchid
On a guided swamp walk into the Fakahatchee Strand, I discover how difficult it is to spot a ghost orchid on your own, let alone keep your bearings in this tangled tropical wilderness
Summer at Corkscrew
There is a special magic surrounding a summer hike through Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, where ghost orchids dance high above in the soft green canopy created by the ancient cypress protected here
More Trails More Parks