Anhinga & Gumbo Limbo Trails at Everglades National Park

There are some fantastic stops with short walking trails within Everglades National Park along the Main Park Road (west of Homestead) that are a good way to acquaint yourself with the unique ecosystem of the River of Grass, and the Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo Trails are definitely ones you should visit. These trails are located next to the Royal Palm Visitor Center on the park map which is close to the park entrance and the big Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. I highly recommend the Coe Visitor Center by the way also.

The Anhinga bird itselfThey are short walks with the Anhinga Trail at 0.8 miles and the Gumbo Limbo Trail at 0.4 miles. The Anhinga (named after the water bird) gives a great opportunity at viewing wildlife up close including alligators, turtles, birds, and fish which makes it one of the most popular trails in the park. We saw all of the above. The first part of the trail is paved but most of the trail is on a raised boardwalk so you are out of harm’s way. The boardwalk takes you out over some very slow moving open water among the grasses that is part of the characteristic sheetflow that makes the Everglades so unique. This portion is part of the Taylor Slough drainage. There are informative signs to teach you about the area. A Florida Softshell Turtle near the trail scampered quickly into the water as we walked closer. Those are quite fast we found out. An alligator swam through an open water spot as we passed over on the boardwalk. We saw many fish through the crystal clear water.

The Gumbo Limbo Trail (named after the tree) weaves through tropical hardwood trees in a hammock. A hammock is an ecological island a few inches taller than the surrounding Everglades saw grass marsh prairie which allows for some dry land for trees to grow.

Both of these make for excellent family hikes and are suitable for people of all abilities. Other trails on this road that look like great stops are Pa-hay-okee Overlook and Mahogany Hammock.

First walkway on Anhinga Trail, boardwalk up ahead on left Anhinga trail sheet flow water Borrow pit and sawgrass Florida Softshell Turtle Alligator Slough Fish Trees

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