sign on a rock that says Everglades National Park

EVERGLADES HIKING:  Fun Everglades National Park Hiking Trails and Sites to See

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Last Updated on April 19, 2024

boardwalk through Everglades National Park

Hiking in Everglades National Park provides an unparalleled chance to explore the park’s distinctive landscapes, from dense mangrove forests to expansive sawgrass marshes. Everglades National Park hiking trails offer an up-close encounter with diverse wildlife, unique plant life, and the opportunity to witness the delicate balance of this precious wetland ecosystem, making it an enriching and educational experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Visiting Everglades National Park offers a unique opportunity for anyone seeking a genuine connection with the wonders of the natural world.

Location: 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034.

Ernest F Coe Visitor Center sign in front of the poles of a building in Everglades National Park

Before you start your Everglades hikes, stop at the Ernest F Coe Visitor Center just like we did.  It is located near the main entrance of Everglades National Park in Homestead, Florida.  It is the MAIN visitors center for the Everglades National Park.  Due to its location before the main entrance, you can even stop in here before paying the entrance fee.

It’s an excellent starting point for anyone looking to explore the unique and diverse environment on the Everglades hiking trails. 

ranger on a large tv screen in a dark auditorium
Orientation Video at Visitor Center in Everglades National Park

Our exploration of all the Everglades National Park hikes started with a jpurney through the park with an Orientation Video.  It was an interesting video that explained the ecosystem and how we were about to enter the only Everglades System in the World!

The rangers will give you maps and help you choose the best hikes in the Everglades National Park!

Yes, there is an entrance fee for Everglades National Park based on the type of vehicle that you will be taking through the park.  To get to most of the Everglades National Park walking trails, you will need to obtain a pass to enter the park.

You can obtain information about park fees and obtain a visitor’s pass at the Ernest F Coe Visitor Center. There are a few different entry ticket options for Everglades National Park

Private Vehicle$30 per vehicle7 days
Individual Entry (pedestrian/motocycle/bike)$15 pp7 days
Everglades Annual Pass$551 year
America the Beautiful PassFree or up to $80varies
For more information and to see updated pricing information, visit the VISITORS CENTER WEBSITE

If you want to find all the best hiking in Everglades National Park and all the best sites to see, try one of these handy audio guides, so you don’t miss anything while driving in Everglades National Park.

This way you can get involved in the best Everglades hiking tours at your own pace!

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2 people standing in front of an informational sign at the Welcome Center at Everglades National Park
Map with all the Everglades National Park Trails

The National Park is open 365 days a year!  The hours vary depending on which entrance you choose.  The Main entrance is open 24 hours a day!  Opening hours for visitor’s centers vary.

The Ernest F. Coe Visitors Center is open every day throughout the year.

  • 9:00am – 5:00pm (April through Mid-December)
  • 8:00am – 5:00pm (Mid-December through March)

Check the operating hours of the visitor center and park entrances before you go on one of the hikes in Everglades National Park since the hours are subject to change.

Make sure you stop here first for all your picnic foods!!

large pond of water with lily pads and a building in the distance
Royal Palm Visitor Center in Everglades National Park

We started our second day in Everglades National Park at the Royal Palm Visitor Center.  There is not much there in amenities, especially compared to Ernest Coe Visitor Center, but it is the trailhead for one of the best hikes in Everglades National Park!

sunshining on 2 people on a walkway passing an alligator in the grass in Everglades National Park
Stopping along the Anhinga Trail, the most popular hiking trail in Everglades National Park

Anhinga Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Everglades National Park.  It is close to the main entrance for quick access.  This should be on your list and will most probably be your first hike in Everglades National Park.

The trail begins at the rear of the Royal Palm Visitor Center.  The 0.8-mile trail becomes a raised boardwalk that winds through the Everglades marshy environment and allows hikers to traverse through the wetlands while staying dry.  The boardwalk platform and short distance make this hike suitable for any level of hiker and also very accessible to wheelchairs and strollers!

Alligators are often viewed on this trail from the safety of the platform.  We were quite happy with the amount of gators that we saw here.  It was our first hike and it was a great introduction to seeing these reptiles in the wild.  Be aware though, and use caution around any wildlife.

family eating at a picnic table in fron of some water and grass
Having lunch along a trail in Everglades National Park

There are some nice picnic areas in Everglades National Park at Long Pine Key and Nine Mile Pond.  You can take out your picnic after a morning of hiking and relax while you admire the natural beauty surrounding you.

We stopped at Robert is Here Fruit Stand first and stocked up on fruit to take on our picnic.

Make sure you LEAVE NO TRACE and dispose of lunch trash properly.

scenic view of trees and everglades with a boardwalk in the distance
Overlooking Pa-hay-okee Overlook Trail in Everglades National Park

The Pa-hay-okee Overlook Trail is another one of the popular Everglades National Park walking trails.  It is in the Shark Valley area of the park, which is 25 miles west of the main entrance.

It has an easy walk along a short 0.2-mile loop trail that includes a portion of the boardwalk.  We didn’t see much wildlife here, but rather found other areas of the park to be more ‘populated.’  However, it is still a very nice scenic and leisurely stroll through the wetland with panoramic views of the expansive ‘River of Grass’.

**newly renovated**

pink building, picnic table, next to green murkey water at Visitors Center in Everglades National Park
Visitor Center: Image Credit

The visitor center at the southern end of Everglades National Park is the newly renovated Guy Bradley Visitor Center at Flamingo.  It is approximately 38 miles from the main park entrance.

It offers many amenities including: visitor information from park rangers, educational displays, ranger programs, informational brochures, and a gift shop.

This area offers views of the Florida Bay and may offer a unique opportunity to spot some incredible wildlife —see below!

moss covered manatee in the murky water in Everglades National Park
Manatees in Everglades National Park

The Guy Bradley Visitor Center is located in the region of Everglades National Park which is known for manatee spotting in the Florida Bay.  They can be seen most often in the marina and waterfront area, where they like the warmer, shallower water.  There is an elevated boardwalk near the marina where you can watch all the frolicking manatees.

Always remember to adhere to park guidelines for wildlife viewing. Stay a safe distance from manatees and other wildlife, as close encounters can be very stressful for the animals. Also, be aware that wildlife sightings are not guaranteed. For the most current information, check with the Visitor Center during your visit.

canoes in front of an opening into the water
Hell Canyon Trail in Everglades National Park

The Hell Canoe Trail is a back country water trail for those that want to explore the remote regions of Everglades National Park.  It has mangroves sprouting everywhere along its waterways and is located off of the Tamiami Trail near the Flamingo Visitor Center. 

Grab your own canoe or rent one, but before embarking on this adventure, make sure you stop at the Visitor Center to check on current conditions and obtain helpful maps for this backcountry adventure in Everglades National Park.

Rent a kayak for Everglade National Park for as little as $25!

Other ways to experience kayaking in Everglades National Park on these popular tours:

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For more info on kayaking or canoeing in Everglades National Park, get info at the Visitor Center.

Also known as US Highway 41, the Tamiami Road connects the east and west coasts of Florida along the northern boundary of Everglades National Park.  This is the Main Park Road and is a scenic drive with a few highlights that you should definitely put on your itinerary.

alligator perched on the side of a bank in Everglades National Park
Alligators are everywhere along Loop Road in Everglades National Park

This was our favorite activity in Everglades National Park.  It’s actually in Big Cypress National Preserve (it is NEXT to Everglades National Park!) and it’s not a hike (it’s a drive!), but I have to include it here in this list of things to do in Everglades National Park because we found it so amazing. 

A lot of the drive is unpaved and rustic so that you feel like you have been immersed in the swamp-like everglades natural environment.

There are PLENTY of alligators to see.  They are every few feet, every size, in groups, solo, mouths open, and every other variation possible!  Because there are so many, it doesn’t matter which side of the car you are on because there will be a good view on YOUR side coming soon!  I have to say that wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, but really we saw so many that I can’t imagine anyone going on this loop and NOT seeing anything!  Let me know your experience in the comments.

I’ve seen some websites say that you can see panthers on this trail, but we didn’t see any and I am not sure they would even come past the roadway.

This road is not heavily traveled by vehicles.  We were pretty much the only car for our entire journey (which took over an hour).  Let’s keep this hidden gem in the Everglades National Park a secret between us!

There was a restroom hut at the west end of the loop road, but no facilities anywhere else.

restroom facilities with man out in front along side a dirt road with sun shining down
Restroom Facilities on Loop Road in Everglades National Park
airboats going in the Everglades with a couple of people on them
Airboats in Everglades National Park: Image Source

Airboat tours in Everglades National Park offer an exhilarating and unique way to explore this everglades ecosystem. Most of the tour operators have facilities on Tamiami Road.  There are not many differences between them and the prices are similar.  Some things to consider when choosing an air boat tour guide:

  • Time of tours
  • Whether the boat is covered (**This was a big thing for us since we wanted a roof on our boat!)
  • Extra activities (some facilities offer extras like the gator show that we attended at Everglades Holiday Park.
4 people holding a small alligator

Here’s a description of what you might experience on an airboat tour in Everglades National Park:

  • Getting Started: Your journey typically begins at one of the designated airboat tour operators within or around Everglades National Park. These operators provide the necessary equipment and guidance for your adventure. We ended up having 1 hour before our tour started, so we picnicked at one of the tables under the trees near the registration desk.  It was very relaxing and we didn’t mind the wait.
  • Boarding the Airboat: Board a flat-bottomed airboat specially designed to navigate the shallow waters and dense vegetation of the Everglades.
  • Exploring the Everglades: Once underway, you’ll feel the rush of wind as the airboat glides across the surface of the water, propelled by a powerful engine and a large propeller mounted at the rear. It is VERY LOUD. Your experienced guide will navigate through a maze of mangrove forests, sawgrass marshes, and open waterways, pointing out notable landmarks and wildlife along the way.
  • Wildlife Encounters: The Everglades is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including alligators, wading birds, turtles, and more. As you cruise through the waterways, keep your eyes peeled for these fascinating creatures. Your guide will often slow down or stop the airboat to allow for better wildlife viewing and photo opportunities.  After our trip on Loop Road, the airboat wildlife viewing was a letdown.  We saw only one alligator (versus the ~30 that we saw on the road!)
  • Educational Commentary: Throughout the tour, your guide will share insights into the unique ecosystem of the Everglades, including its geological history, ecological significance, and ongoing conservation efforts. You’ll learn about the delicate balance of plants and animals that thrive in this subtropical wilderness.
  • Duration and Return: Airboat tours typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the chosen route and tour package. After your adventure, you’ll return to the starting point, where you can reflect on your journey and purchase souvenirs or refreshments.

Overall, an airboat tour in Everglades National Park provides a thrilling opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and biodiversity of one of America’s most treasured wilderness areas. Try one of these popular airboat tours in Everglades National Park.

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As with any outdoor activity, it’s essential to be prepared when on the Everglades Trails. It’s recommended to bring water, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, be aware of the weather conditions and be mindful of the park regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to the Everglades National Park hiking trails and areas around the park.

With its diverse ecosystem and unique landscapes, Everglades National Park offers a variety of hiking trails and natural wonders waiting to be explored. From the tranquil beauty of its wetlands to the awe-inspiring encounters with its wildlife, hiking the Everglades promises unforgettable adventures for nature enthusiasts of all ages. Plan your treks through the Everglades National Park hiking trails today!!

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Love this!

Good article – I live in Southwest Florida and will have to check out all of the places in the Everglades!

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