Sep 24

Anhinga Trail: Everglades National Park

Gator and CraneAnhinga Trail is a very easy, wheelchair accessible, trail at the Royal Palm Visitor Center in Everglades National Park.  The trail is around three fourths of a mile round trip and is one of the most popular trails in the park because of its accessibility for hikers of all abilities and its abundance of wildlife.  The trail goes through a sawgrass marsh and while Karen and I were there we saw alligators and a variety of birds.  Since we were there right at sunrise in March we had the whole place to ourselves.  Unfortunately, it was the only place at the Everglades that we were able to enjoy.  To have a good laugh at our expense and see how well our Florida trip went, click here.
Sunrise on the Anhinga Trail

The Royal Palm Visitor Center is where the trailhead begins and ends.  The center has all the amenities you will need including a small store, restrooms, vending machines, and a place to sit down and take it all in.  The only bit of advice we can give you is to bring lots bug repellant because even in March I was getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes.  I think if I ever went in the summer months I would have to have a full body suit to make it out alive. I might be taking it a little too far there, but bring your bug spray, long sleeves, and pants.  You will thank me later.
Green Heron

The trail starts off as a paved walkway that will lead to a boardwalk over the Taylor Slough which is a freshwater sawgrass marsh.  The boardwalk will take you to several different observation platforms for even better views of the wildlife.  It is a very easy trail with little to no elevation over the .75 mile roundtrip.  We recommend that you come early around sunrise or at sunset because those two periods of the day are when the animals will be most active.  It also makes for good photography lighting.
Black Vultures and Gator

The animals that are around the Anhinga Trail must be very accustomed to hikers because they do not seem to be bothered by the proximity that one gets to the other.  Remember that these are wild creatures and you are not in a zoo so use precaution whenever you enter another animal’s habitat.  Plus, disturbing the wildlife is illegal and violators are harshly punished.  So, play it smart and enjoy your surroundings without leaving a trace that you were there.

It was pretty amazing to see our first wild alligator, and they were everywhere.  Karen and I probably saw at least a baker’s dozen while we were taking the trail.  It really gave us a rush to see such powerful creatures in their natural habitat.  I could have easily done this hike several times and not gotten bored with it.  Karen and I highly recommend this trail if you are in the Everglades.  You will not be disappointed.
Everglad Flower

For more information visit the Everglades website at http://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm
Walking the Trail

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