One of the lesser-visited trails of Big Cypress National Preserve, the Tree Snail Hammock Trail is along Loop Road across from the Everglades Environmental Center.
In a tropical hammock, this quarter-mile interpretive trail leads you through a world inhabited by rare and tiny creatures—the colorful and endangered liguus tree snails of South Florida’s hammocks.
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Length: 0.3 mile loop
Trailhead: 25.746467, -80.947850
Land manager: Big Cypress National Preserve
Open dawn to dusk. If roped off, do not enter.
Across the road, the Loop Road Education Center is open to youth groups and educators for specialized environmental programs.
From US 41 at the west end of the Miccosukee Reservation, turn south on Loop Rd and follow it through Pinecrest until you see the Loop Road Education Center on the left. Park on the left. The trail starts across from the center on the north side of the road.
This loop leads through a tunnel of petite trees in this dense, dark tropical hammock. Walk slowly so you can spot the snails on the smooth-barked tropical trees.
Look for the color-banded liguus snails grazing on algae on smooth-barked trees such as Spanish stopper and Jamaican dogwood.
If you see a tree snail, take photos, but don’t touch. They are very sensitive and extraordinarily scarce, a natural wonder to behold.
You’ll also find surface limestone outcrops along the trail. Sword ferns grow along the edge of a sluggish slough. A whisk fern perches in a strangler fig.
Yellow ropes delineate the footpath of this short, easy walk, which features several benches. An outdoor classroom surrounds the remnants of a whiskey still circa 1881.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
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.
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
3.0 miles. 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 rough OHV road