Explore the most popular hiking trails in Big Cypress National Preserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I wanted to take advantage of our lovely weather and tick this hike off of my list but I only wanted to do about 5 - 7 miles of it. I parked in the parking lot off of Alligator Alley next to the fire station. I entered through the gate and walked North along the dirt road which was not very scenic. I veered to the right with the trail and went off into the brush where it became much more scenic, it was absolutely beautiful, please see my photos. About 3 or so miles in, it became muddy. The mud became so deep that I thought I would lose one of my hiking shoes so I decided to turn back. I saw a lot of birds but no other signs of wildlife. I picked up a water bottle that I think someone is very sad about losing. Please see my photos. I would love to get it back to this person as it seems to have a lot of good memories attached to it. If you have any idea where else I can post to try to get this bottle back to the owner please let me know.

This is a short trail off of 41. The biggest concern are mosquitoes during wet season. Other than that it is Easy. Im not sure why its rated moderate.

Not necessarily difficult hiking. Spent a miserable night without tent next to the old CCC cabin on the loop. Mosquitoes had a feast.

We went NOBO on this trail to where we had a parked car at the Oasis Visitor Center. A friend drove us from the Center on Loop Road to the start of the trail. Be aware that Loop Road is a dirt road—slow going in the car and if it had not been dry season, would probably be muddy.

The entire trail is beautiful and a Florida boy’s dream. This is a very dry season, and there was no mud at all for the first five miles. Mile 5-6 was rough, because the terrain changes, you are in woods/water, and there are poor markings on the trail. Make sure you have a long sleeve shirt, because there is overgrowth at this point with thorny bushes that will hurt without skin cover.

The last three miles were also much muddier. Reaching the Visitor Center was a great relief, and in the end the trail ended up being easier than we expected.

I recommend this to anyone before they attempt the longer trail north of the Oasis Visitor Center.

We hiked on 12/28/18, the trail was dry, the bushes were a little dense and some trees down and on the way of the trail, we overnighted on mile 7.
Some panthers paw prints on dry mud, but we didn’t see any. Not many mosquitoes, just a few at night, but nothing crazy. Didn't find any water source.

Loved this hike! Went Dec 28th, didn’t experience too much water. First .5 miles is straight limestone - not sure if this is submerged in wet months but could see it being decently difficult if so. Next mile is hard forest ground, didn’t experience mud or mosquitos at all. There were two small water crossings and then around mile 1.2ish we had to cross a longer stretch. I’m not sure how dangerous this is, considering Florida is home to water moccasins (venomous snakes) and alligators. I didn’t see snakes, though one guy said he did on his way out. We saw an alligator basking in the sun ways away from the trail - didnt feel threatened at all. Turned around at mile 1.5. Very beautiful overall!

26 days ago

Trail was well maintained, however when we came up on a 5 foot rattlesnake it was a bit scary, almost turned back, but I'm glad we kept going because then we seen two deers, and got pretty close. Lots of air plants and palms, even a toilet on the trail lol....

ill admit I got the luckiest hike of my life this day. Once a year, volunteers clear the path for hikers and I got lucky enough to hike that same day. (11/17/2018)

The hike was well marked, path was very clear of debris. The weather was amazing. We started the hike at 6:30am and returned just a little after 1pm.

I hiked up blue to the panther camp and reversed back down blue till I got out. I did not use the red loops because having to walk down the car path on foot for so long is rough on the feet and knees. so I recommend going up blue to panther and coming out using blue as well. We saw tons of panther tracks, some I posted on here.

Was more a slog through an aquifer than a hike on a trail but it was amazing. Ankle to knee deep crystal clear water basically the entire way through so wear either crappy sneaks or aqua shoes or vibrams. Ether way, plan on drying them out when you’re back at the car. Surprisingly zero skeeters. Water makes for a challenging slosh but also helps with the heat. Keep an eye out for the yellow trail markers on the trees to keep you from getting lost.

I only hiked 2.5 miles before turning back. When you start the grass is extremely high and only room for one person, so you aren’t sure what could be there so we took it slow. The water was about a foot high in some parts, but not too bad.

trail running
6 months ago

You can run or hike on this trail for the first 4.75 Miles, I was expecting tu run the full 14.9 but vegetation took over and looks like no one has been there in a long time. 0 traffic and found snakes along the way.

7 months ago

Gator Hook trail is a great find in the Big Cypress National Preserve off of Loop rd We started at 9:30 am. There were no visible blazes for the first 1/4 mile so we were hesitant about the visible water very so soon into the hike. We tired a couple of side trails but soon realized you had to get wet no mater what. There were lots of large Lubber grasshoppers around and a hive of bees feeding on a palm bloom. The exposed limestone karst makes for a interesting walking surface creating small pools containing crayfish, crabs and frogs (tadpoles). and the Cypress Knees make for a lot of tripping hazards. Half a mile in and the trail becomes tight, and a yellow blaze finally shows up. There are several ankle and knee deep channels to cross with crystal clear water. At a mile in it becomes less maintained and now becomes a stooping under, and crawling over adventure. Here the Blazes are easy to see and abundant, The last half mile of the trail is not maintained at all, we lost the blaze.and had to turn back. Im sure we would have re found the trail. On the return we stopped for a snack and soon heard thunder. the rain was chasing us out. Lots of fun, come prepared!

After this first tree canopy it gets boringly

we completed the trail today. 3.29.18 and hiked a total of 16.02 miles. Took us about 7hrs including the the breaks we took. We had also really good weather. the day was hot but there was a breeze. very little shading. bring sunblock and about 3L of water per person. there isn't any water source available. all the ponds and bodied of water have alligators. BIG ONES. there are two camping zones with picnic tables so you can enjoy lunch. overall great trail.

10 months ago

Completed the loop on my dads b day (15.83 miles). He passed away several years ago and I wanted to commemorate his life. Took me about 6 hours with several stops to snack and rest my feet. Bring sunscreen, bug spray, and “plenty” of water. Not much shade to be had. But over the day was successful. Good luck!

Beautiful hike but not for the faint of heart or ill prepared. Don't forget hat, sun screen and plenty of water. shade is scarce along some points. You'll be in a remote area with lots of wildlife so keep alert. Saw dozens of gators, Turkey and tons of bear scat. Be careful and go slowly and enjoy!

Did this a few weeks ago and it was dry so nice not to walk through the mud. We stayed overnight in Panther camp and it was great as there was a picnic table and fire ring available.

Beautiful weather, perfect time hiking. Lovely area to experience South Florida nature. We observed alligators on the side of the road and many birds local to the area

Lots of hiking to be had here. Birds and gators on the left side of the service road. The blue trail has some nice prairie views. Campsites are big and well maintained .....also had a picnic table which was surprising.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

This is a great trail. We hit only a few patches of mud and one small bit of about an in deep standing water that we had to cross; otherwise the trail was dry and maintained, with clearly marked blaze and signs. We saw about 4 black racer snakes, at least 10 alligators sunning themselves once the clouds cleared, plenty of birds, wild flowers, and butterflies, and only about 4 other people. A few downed trees are still crossing the trail, but it would be easy to carry a mountain bike over them. I would happily hike, camp, trail run, or mountain bike here so long as it hadn't recently rained. But it got hot when the sun came out and there was nowhere to refill water, so bring plenty with you. Also, there is plenty of parking in the Collier County Rest Stop -- the entrance to the trail is just off the parking lot on the North side of I-75.

Friday, December 29, 2017

We through-hiked this is 2 days in April 2017. It was exceptionally dry for that time of year and we nearly ran out of water because there was nowhere to refill. Nevertheless, it was a great hikel.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Beautiful landscape, passes through various habitats from pinelands to hardwood hammock and through cypress domes. The southern 3/4 was very dry, but the north end requires sloughing through knee deep mud and water, it is also exposed to the sun. Bring a lot of water!

Monday, March 06, 2017

We started at the Oasis Visitor Center on Tamiani Trail. Our first day, the entire trail was dry, easy to traverse and very beautiful. We left around 8:30 and arrived at 13 Mile Camp around 4:30. The following day, the trail got very muddy and wet. Although it was much more difficult to hike, it was the highlight of the trip. We left at 7:30 and arrived at I-75 around 6 pm. We took several breaks and stopped for a long breakfast along the way. Adventurous and amazing. Unfortunately (or fortunately), never saw any snakes, even after venturing off trail many times in search of cypress domes. Mosquitoes weren't an issue either. Highly recommend this hike.

Very very nice....


Pain, pain and mud. And heat, draining heat. Leave it for the snakes and gators.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

My article on this trail is found on my blog at: http://travelwithnature.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/bear-island-campground-and-the-fire-prairie-trail/

Thursday, November 01, 2012

We hiked in Big Cypress the area north of I-75 on the FNST Florida National Scenic Trail. We traveled North to the Red Trail approximately 2.5 miles and headed NE to merge with the Blue Trail and "Carpenter Camp" a primitive campsite. The hike was wet, some areas the water reached our knees, but for solitude, peace and wildlife viewing its the best. I suggest the winter months, less water, less Mosquitos, and less heat. The round trip loop approximately 7.5 miles.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I have two articles I wrote for the Miami Herald on this section of the trail on my blog:
I hope you enjoy them!

I've hiked sections of this trail many times. There is copious wildlife found along the trail, with plant life changing with subtle changes in elevation. This is Florida Panther country, and though I've never seen one, I've often seen their tracks on the trail. Depending on the time of year and weather the trail can be anything from dry to muddy to knee deep in water, with muddy and wet being the most common conditions. The section from I75 north is dry year-round as it runs along an old dirt road. If you're interested in hiking in Florida check out the Florida Trail Association. They have chapters in many counties with monthly meetings and many group hikes.

Load More