Florida Trail

Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Distance49.4mi
Elevation Gain51ft
Trailhead Elevation6ft
Top13ft
Elevation Min/Max5/13ft
Elevation Start/End6/6ft

Florida Trail

Florida Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Collier County and Monroe County, Florida. It is within Big Cypress National Preserve. It is 49.4 miles long and begins at 6 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 75.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 51 feet. The Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center information can be seen along the trail. There are also parking, a fire station, restrooms, and a pier along the trail.

Florida Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This section of the FT traverses some of the most rugged terrain in Florida, the Big Cypress National Preserve. The hiking will be challenging; wet feet and slogging through water up to your knees are guaranteed. The sun can be brutal in open areas. And following the orange blazes of the often-faint trail takes a keen eye and patience.

Normally, backpackers are looking for water to go with some level ground. Here, backpackers are looking for dry ground to go along with their water. A hike through the Big Cypress will help you understand why this area is one of the last strongholds of the Florida panther. Be prepared for serious backcountry hiking when entering the Big Cypress. Some folks who get back here drive “swamp buggies.” These contraptions look like Jeeps on steroids, with their oversized tires and elevated frames. They make wide muddy paths, which the FT crosses. But traversing the Big Cypress via foot power will give you a unique experience, which is simply unlike hiking anywhere else in the United States."

"Hike or backpack along a marked trail (orange blazes) through prairie, pineland, sloughs, and cypress forests. Members of the Florida Trail Association blaze trees with orange paint to help designate the official trail, but exploring off-trail is allowed. There are side trails blazed with blue that loop off the main trail."

Florida Trail Reviews

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12/24/2015
This guide book does not accurately reflect the current FNST, nor does it mention characteristics of the trail north of I-75. The trail was well marked. No water on main trail north of I-75. Stayed at Panther Camp. All camps were well maintained and provided amenities like fire rings, picnic tables and bear ropes. Go to the Florida Trail website for the most accurate description.
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4/28/2010
Our plan was to start at the Oasis Visitor Center, head north on the Florida Trail and possibly complete the 10 mile loop. First mile was easy to follow, dry, and fast paced. As we got deeper into the glades, the occasional water pools turned into a continues ankle to knee deep body of water. As the main trail is well marked with bright orange markers, it is also somehow difficult to follow due to slipery footing. We opted out to avoid the deeper sections, which lead to longer time per mile. There was very little shade, but luckily for us no blood thirsty critters. Overall, very challenging but rewarding hike.
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1/30/2010
I hiked the section of the Florida Trail NORTH of I-75 (for which this trail guide is completely worthless as it doesn't even mention that section of the trail.) The trailhead is on the off ramp of I-75 North at about mile marker 62-63. The Trail is a high and dry road created by digging out the parallel slough. It is a trail meant for slow, quiet steps as there is abundant wildlife in and around the slough. At sunrise expect to see abundant bird life. By 9 AM when the sun hits the opposite shore line the gators are out and sunning. Within the first mile I saw 4 that were 12-14 feet and another six at 10-12 feet. Lots of gators. Lots of fun for photography.
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5/1/2008
Wowee... the first 7 miles of the FNST between Loop Road and U.S. 41 are for serious hikers only. It was me and a friend. It was a hot, somewhat humid late april environment. The mosquitoes thirsts for blood. The water level was ankle to knee deep. The first 4 or so miles are through plains of nothing but florida pines and sawgrass. Some places have short pines, others have taller pines. Some have a lot of pines, other have a few pines. Serious pineage. A short palm appears occassionally. You'll see a cypress dome here and there where you want to rush to to get some water when you are ingesting 2 gallons per hour. It's hot. No shade. Muddy. Wander alongside the trail if the mud gets well, muddy. There are a few shady spots during the first 5 miles. Opt to miss the first campsite, which is pretty nice, and continue northward..cause this is where it pays off. In the middle of this area, the scene changes into (and im sure there is a name for it) a subtropical canopy of knee to waist deep water everywhere with mangrove-like islands to dry off. This is jungle-like, and fun to traverse. Set up camp here on a mound of dirt. You'll know it when you see it. The party starts at midnight, and ends when the birds sing. The rest of the trail is an eclectic combination of the two until you hit up oasis visitor center. We traversed this going FROM 41 to Loop road, and the only way we did it in 1.25 days was through hauling ass(we are fit(excluding camping and arriving time)). These are loooong miles. We wanted to walk several miles north of oasis on the FNST, but after 1.25 miles of mud-hell and roughly the same scenery, we decided that the dry season is best. I will eventually do the US 41 to I-75 section, as it promises to yield an amazing time for the hikers who are willing to hike it.
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3/10/2008
This will more then likly be the most diffcult section of the FT that you will encounter. During the dry season you spend 60-75% of the time with your feet in at lest ankle deep water. During the wet season you swim. There are well maintaied campsites every 6-10 miles and once you get out there these camp sites are they only place you can go to get dry. you will be wading threw water for miles and miles. Its fun in a challenging way. It takes a lot of focus becaue there are hidden bits of cypress waitng at ankle level for you to miss a step and fall face foward. Bring pair of dry socks for each night. make srue you have weatherproof gear. The trail is very well marked and getting lost should not be a issue. I can be done in 3 days but I recomend 4 if its your fist time out here.
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Trail Information

Big Cypress National Preserve
Nearby City
Big Cypress National Preserve
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Moderate
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Big Cypress National Preserve
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Sep 2018