Have you ever thought of hiking in Florida? Well, it wouldn’t be us if we haven’t. But let me put this question in another way: have you ever thought of watching alligators in their natural habitat? Because that’s the reason why we’ve planned to do some hiking in Florida’s Everglades National Park in spite of the fact that our visit was in the peak of July.
Everglades National Park is the largest tropical wilderness in the US and it has a very unique flora and fauna. Though we have to admit that we’ve spent most of our time on Florida’s beautiful beaches and finally we’ve spent fewer time in Everglades than we originally planned, but that short time was quite unique and memorable.
Wildlife paradise: Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail is a short and popular trail, it’s rather a walk than a hike and it’s very famous for its abundance of wildlife. So we were sure if we only choose one trail in Everglades, it should be Anhinga. And it didn’t disappoint!
We’ve seen different kind of bird species (uhm… we are not good at bird species, but did you know that anhinga is a bird, too?) and turtles in the marsh – and the main attraction: several alligators! Yes, these alligators are real – it’s their home and we felt so lucky to have the chance to observe them.
Anhinga Trail is a short loop on a boardwalk through a sawgrass marsh and it wouldn’t even take half an hour. But it would take more if you observe wildlife which you should absolutely do!
Worried about alligators?
So Everglades is the home of alligators and they are wild and free there. Would you be worried about being attacked by an alligator? This fear flashed through our minds as well. And it’s good because this fear made us educate ourselves a little bit about alligators, we’ve also read safety tips and we’ve been cautious. Our opinion is that if you do the same, there’s nothing to worry about.
Of course, there’s a risk (as always) and the choice is yours. But Anhinga Trail offers a safe opportunity to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat as most of the trail is on a boardwalk above the marsh.
Through the jungle: Gumbo Limbo Trail
The trailhead for Gumbo Limbo Trail starts at the same place as the trailhead for Anhinga Trail. It’s even shorter, maybe just a 15 minutes walk, but it gives insight to a different world: the world of a tropical jungle. It goes through a hammock of gumbo limbo trees, palms, ferns and air plants. It has a funny name and a lot of bugs.
The best time to visit
Uhm, it’s definitely not July. 😀 We planned a beach holiday in Florida and still we didn’t want to miss Everglades, but we only spent a couple of hours there, because it was so hot that all we wanted was to be on the beach.
Also, it was very buggy, especially Gumbo Limbo Trail. We had insect repellents, but they didn’t help much.
There’s two seasons in Everglades. Dry season lasts from November to March and wet season lasts from April to November. Dry season is the more popular for a visit, because warm winters attract a large variety of birds and their predators. And because wet season is the buggy season. Well, we can definitely confirm that.
Still, we haven’t regretted our July visit at all. It was our first chance to see Florida and Everglades was definitely part of our wonderful experience there.
Would you visit Everglades? What are your favorite places for wildlife watching?