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You may think of the Everglades as a vast swampland, but there’s even more to this diverse landscape.
The pinelands are areas of slightly higher elevation, forested with palmettos, pines, and various deciduous shrubs.
According to the National Park Service, the pinelands are the most diverse part of the Everglades ecosystem.
They are home to all of the park’s terrestrial species, including the critically endangered Florida Panther.
The elusive cats are almost never seen, but this is their habitat. You can get a taste of it on the Long Pine Key Nature Trail, a two-track dirt path that runs between Long Pine Key Campground and Pine Glades Lake.
Watch for the Everglades' abundant birdlife, butterflies, deer, and reptiles along the way.
The trail is open to hikers and cyclists but closed to all motor vehicles.
The trail is mapped here as a one-way, requiring a vehicle shuttle between the endpoints, but you could go any distance out and back instead.
Designated wilderness lies on both sides of the path, so bikes are not allowed to leave the trail.
Some connecting trails lead deeper into the wilderness area, but they are for hiking only. Source: https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/long-pine-key-trails.htm