There’s plenty to see at Everglades National Park, South Florida’s 1.5 million acre park that offers stunning views of everything from marshes to mangroves. Wildlife sightings are also extremely common here as it is a sweeping and diverse ecosystem that houses plenty of species—including alligators.

Visitors often take guided tours through the Everglades—but, if you are short on time and still want to see the best the park has to offer, the best trail to check out is the Anhinga Trail. Known for its abundance of wildlife, the Anhinga Trail is the perfect outing for any explorer looking to get a taste of the Everglades. The best part is, the area is loaded with ‘gators, so you’ll most definitely spot one if you hike here.

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More About The Trail

There are several access points to Everglades National Park, but the beauty of the Anhinga Trail is its position located close to the park entrance. Spend less time driving and more time soaking up the Everglades (and spotting alligators) when you opt for a hike on the beautiful Anhinga Trail.

This is a self-guided trail, so feel free to take your time and get plenty of pics of the local wildlife. Alligators aren’t the only animals you can spot here, the area is also known as a home to anhingas (long-necked birds similar to cormorants, and the source of the park’s namesake), turtles, herons, egrets, and more. During the winter, the spot is a popular gathering place for many birds because of its proximity to the marshland areas.

Take A Hike!

The trail is a 0.8-mile round trip loop that is flat and wheelchair accessible, making it perfect for visitors of all ages and skill levels.

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How To Get There

There are two Visitor Centers in this area and you can access the trail quite easily from both. Simply take the Homestead entrance to the park and follow the signs to your desired starting point.

  • From the Royal Palm Visitor Center (approximately 4 miles from the park entrance), follow the path along Taylor Slough—a waterway that was once a part of the original Ingraham Highway running from Homestead (the park’s current location) to Flamingo.

What’s interesting about Taylor Slough is that it stays water-filled all year long, making it a popular wildlife hangout. The Royal Palm Visitor Center has a ton of information about the park—including a small bookstore (open 10:00 am-4:00 pm daily), and educational talks given by park rangers.

The Ernest Coe Visitor Center is located right at the Homestead entrance to the park. Here, visitors can check out the bookstore. Learn more about the area at this popular stop, which includes an educational movie and interactive display. The trails are just a short drive from here.

  • Simply follow the Main Park Road for approximately 2 miles until you see a turnoff to Royal Palm Hummock. After turning here, keep following the road for another 2 miles until you see the parking area.

Dazzling Natural Landscapes And Plenty Of Wildlife

Be sure to stop at the nearby observation deck for a spectacular view over the marsh. There are plenty of birds in this area, so have your camera ready!

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If you follow the boardwalk along Taylor Slough, you will encounter alligators galore who enjoy hanging out on the little islands in the water. The scenery is also dominated by the pond apple tree, native to South Florida, and a fave snack for animals like raccoons. The pond apple trees are also home to other impressive plant life (check out the gorgeous orchids in the summer!)

By following the boardwalk to the wider part of the Slough, visitors will encounter yet another observation deck—a prime place for alligator spotting.

The wildlife is not the only thing to see on this walk, but if you’re determined to not leave Florida until you see an alligator, you won’t be disappointed. The trail is also known for its amazing views of the sawgrass prairies, so take a moment to admire the sprawling vista before heading back to the marsh.

The Devil Is In The Details

Outlined below is some basic information about the Anhinga Trail. However, always be sure to consult with the National Park Service website before visiting to learn more about the latest park conditions.

  • Address: Everglades National Park, 40001 SR 9336, Homestead.
  • Park Hours: Open from dawn to dusk every day.
  • Visitor Center Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm (December to April) and 9:00am-5:00pm (May to November).
  • Fees/Permit Info: There is an entrance fee of $25/vehicle, $20/motorcycle, $8/cyclist/pedestrian that is good for one week.

Everglades National Park is a must-visit for anyone spending time in South Florida. With plenty to see and do, visitors will love the gorgeous landscape, diverse wildlife, and the overall experience of spending time in this unique region. The Anhinga Trail is the perfect introduction for any visitor to this expansive park, so start here to get a taste of the Everglades—or make this your go-spot for ‘gators galore and sights that showcase the singular beauty of the Everglades.

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