A massive ecosystem spanning more than a million acres, where rainfall slowly makes its way southeast in a shallow sheetflow to nourish the mangrove marshes along the Gulf of Mexico, Big Cypress is a mosaic of open sawgrass prairies, lush cypress strands, and pine islands. Many public lands protect this sensitive resource known as “the Western Everglades,” including Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, America’s own Amazon with abundant bromeliad and orchid species.
Trails and Parks in Big Cypress
- Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki - 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.
- Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk - East of Naples, the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park offers a peek into a notable natural landmark, a stand of virgin cypress.
- Big Cypress National Preserve - Protecting the heart of the Big Cypress Swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve was established in 1974. Exploring its lush subtropical landscapes means wading through crystal-clear swamps or paddling its channelized rivers.
- 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..
- Collier-Seminole Hiking Trail - A wet and wild 6-mile loop into the watery wilderness of the Big Cypress Swamp, the Collier-Seminole Hiking Trail provides a challenging wade into beauty
- Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary - You'll find Florida's best and most extensive boardwalk hike at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, meandering 2.3 miles through an old-growth cypress forest.
- CREW Corkscrew Marsh - Explore the northwestern boundary of Corkscrew Marsh - one corner of a massive conservation area surrounding Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and protecting the watershed feeding the swamp - on a series of trails that traverses through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, and palm hammocks.
- 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.
- 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
- Kirby Storter Boardwalk - An accessible walk through the habitats of the Big Cypress Swamp, Kirby Storter Boardwalk gets you up close to the wonders of nature in Big Cypress National Preserve
- Leslie M. Duncan Memorial Trail - At Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, the Leslie Duncan Memorial Trail is a short, accessible exploration into the habitats of the Big Cypress Swamp
- Naples Botanical Garden - At Naples Botanical Garden, buildings, landscaping, and nature live in harmony, with a delicate balance of natural spaces and lush gardens accented with art achieved.
- Roberts Lake Trail - No longer officially part of the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Loop Road to Oasis section of the Florida Trail is now blazed blue. This is where sawgrass and cypress meet, where the Everglades and Big Cypress blend.
- Royal Palm Hammock Trail - At Collier-Seminole State Park, the short and intriguing Royal Palm Hammock Trail is a wild but gentle introduction to the habitats protected by this park. Although the boardwalks are slippery, you can explore the coastal prairie and mangrove marsh without getting your feet wet.
- Sabal Palm Trail - Slosh for up to 2.5 miles on a very wet walk in the Big Cypress Swamp along the Sabal Palm Trail at Picayune Strand State Forest near Naples.
- 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.
- The Tamiami Trail Triathlon - Trying the hiking portion of the Tamiami Trail Triathlon in summer is a little crazy, but we wanted to check it out. The swamp is lovely, but the loop uses a hiker-unfriendly OHV road
- Tree Snail Hammock Trail - At Tree Snail Hammock, you enter a world inhabited by rare and tiny creatures—the colorful and endangered liguus tree snails of South Florida.