4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
If you want to do a backpacking trip in the Everglades, consider the Coastal Prairie Trail.
It’s a remote path to a wild beach at the extreme southern tip of the Florida mainland.
Camping is allowed on the beach, called Clubhouse Beach, with a [wilderness permit](https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/wildernesscamp.htm) from the national park. This route crosses some of the Everglades’ notoriously inhospitable habitats.
They include marl prairie, where thin vegetation conceals ankle-wrenching potholes.
There’s also impenetrable thickets of buttonwood shrubs and swaths of shoe-sucking mud.
Luckily, the trail follows a historic road that cuts safely through the mire, but you’ll want to make sure to stay on route.
During wetter periods, you may still have to cross sections of mud or shallow water.
The Park Service states that the trail is not maintained, so additional obstacles may be encountered as well. In addition to the difficulty of terrain, there are the factors of weather and wildlife.
This trail is practically unbearable in summer because of heat, humidity, and bugs.
Save it for the cooler months, but bring sun and insect protection all the same.
Also, be sure to pack plenty of water, because winter is the dry season. Once at Clubhouse Beach, you may find it all to yourself, though the camp is also used by kayakers.
Tent spots are limited by the tide line and by vegetation, but there’s a handful of decent sandy spots, some even with a bit of shade.
This is a truly isolated setting in which to spend a night, far from any roads and city lights, with a view across Florida Bay at the Keys on the horizon. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/coastal-prairie-trail.htm https://floridahikes.com/coastal-prairie-trail