Pine Glades Lake Loop

Remote paths through a wilderness area, among diverse vegetation and excellent wildlife habitat.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
14 km
Ascent
4 m
Descent
4 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
0 m
High Point
2 m
Gradient
Pine Glades Lake Loop Map

This hike goes through part of the vast Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness Area within Everglades National Park. Though most of the Everglades is marshland, there are large swaths of drier ground as well, known as the pinelands. These forests and fields are home to a great deal of diversity, from migratory birds and butterflies to herds of deer, and the rare Florida Panther.

Description

To hike this loop through the pinelands, start from Pine Glades Lake on the Long Pine Key Nature Trail, which is a wide dirt path popular with hikers and bikers. About half of the loop is on this multi-use trail, and the other half is on hiker-only trails deeper in the wilderness area. All of the route follows old roads, which are mostly of firm dirt surface but in places may be muddy, grassy, or rocky.

The trail goes through a variety of habitats that are typical of the Everglades uplands. Tall, thin slash pines grow generously spaced from one another, filled in by saw palmettos, thick grasses, and deciduous shrubs. There are also expanses of dry prairie void of trees, as well as patches of dense broadleaf forest. Look closely for the various natural residents of these habitats. Wildlife is easiest to find in winter, when vegetation is thinner and water scarcer. That’s also when numerous birds migrate to the region. Winter is best for hiking in the Everglades anyway, as summer is too muggy and buggy. Pick a cool but sunny day to walk some or all of this loop, enjoying broad South Florida skies and finding solitude among the pines.

Source: https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/long-pine-key-trails.htm

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Guidebooks in this area