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.
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.
It was meant to be a national park, the largest natural hammock of royal palms in the United States, set aside by developer Barron Collier during his push to create the Tamiami Trail across the Everglades. The Federal government wasn’t interested, so the state of Florida stepped in and created Collier-Seminole State Park, which opened in 1947.
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.
The longer of two loops at Florida Panther NWR guarantees a wet walk through panther habitat of wet pine flatwoods and cypress domes
38.3 miles. Featuring the wettest, wildest wilderness traversed by backpackers in Florida, the Florida Trail in Big Cypress National Preserve is both beautiful and extraordinarily challenging.
30.3 miles. Traversing a vast wilderness in the wet wilds of Big Cypress National Preserve, the southernmost segment of the Florida Trail is the toughest backpacking trip in Florida
Heading north through Big Cypress, the Florida Trail immerses hikers through one of the last wild spaces of the region, then connects to Okeechobee via dikes.
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
At Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, the Leslie Duncan Memorial Trail is a short, accessible exploration into the habitats of the Big Cypress Swamp
Will you see a panther when hiking at Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge? I was fortunate to hike with a panther biologist and go on a tracking expedition, but we still came up empty-handed when it came to finding a big cat.
8.2 miles. Now the Roberts Lake Trail, the former Loop Road to Oasis section of the Florida Trail is now blazed blue. It is where sawgrass and cypress meet, where the Everglades and Big Cypress blend.