• The Florida panther's steely gaze - NPS/RALPH ARWOOD

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • Annual 60-Day ORV Closure for Wheeled Vehicles

    Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, June 2, the annual 60-day recreational ORV closure for all units of the Preserve that allow for wheeled ORV access will begin. The closure will be lifted on Friday, August 1. More »

  • Secondary Trail Closure

    Effective 8/1/2014, following the 60-day recreational ORV closure, only the designated primary trails in the backcountry will be open to recreational ORV use and access. All secondary trails will remain closed on an interim basis for an additional 60-days More »

  • Campground Closure

    All campgrounds but Midway and the loop in the Bear Island Campground are closed through August 29. More »

  • Interstate 75 Mile Marker 63 Closure

    Beginning summer of 2013, the rest area and backcountry access at Mile Marker 63 will be closed due to construction. More »

Florida National Scenic Trail

Florida National Scenic Trail stretches 1,400 miles across Florida, from Gulf Islands National Seashore to Big Cypress National Preserve. The southernmost sections of the trail lie within the national preserve.

The national preserve portion of the trail can be logically divided into two sections moving in a southerly direction:



Approximately 8 miles one way

This section of trail follows Nobles Grade, an old oil road, through hardwood, prairie and pinelands. Beyond the national preserve boundary the trail is limited to a small number of hikers who are members of the Florida Trail Association per month traveling through the Seminole Reservation.

Please contact the Florida Trail Association for more information.



"Southern Terminus" plaque indicating the end of the Florida National Scenic Trail at Oasis Visitor Center.

Approximately 28 miles one way

Trailheads are located on Highway 41 near Oasis Visitor Center and on Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley) at the rest area at Mile Marker 63.

The trail passes through a variety of habitat types including hardwood hammocks, pinelands, prairies and cypress. Some high ground is available for camping at 13-mile camp. DURING THE DRY SEASON, THERE IS NO WATER AVAILABLE ON THIS ENTIRE ROUTE. YOU MUST CARRY ALL WATER.

This walk is not for the casual hiker. It is not heavily marked and vegetation grows over it during the rainy season when there is little foot traffic.


Hiking the Florida National Scenic Trail through Big Cypress National Preserve.

Hiking through Big Cypress provides some wonderful opportunities for solitude.


Approximately 6.5 miles one way

The trail begins (or ends) at the Loop Road approximately 13 miles from its east end on Highway 41. The other end is across the highway from the Oasis Visitor Center.

The trail winds through dwarf cypress and prairies and crosses through Robert's Lake Strand. It is well marked and easy to moderate in the winter season, but knee to waist deep in water during the rainy season. This part of the trail is an easy and well-marked way to take a short walk into the Preserve to get that "out in the middle of nowhere" feeling. Sometimes the only sounds you hear are wind and the occasional jet flying over.

Please refer to maps on the Florida Trail Association webpage (click here), or call the visitor center for detailed directions.

Did You Know?

A great white heron scratches its neck. Notice the color of the legs.

The great white heron is very similar to the great white egret. However, look closely and you will see that the heron has yellow legs, while the egret has black legs. The great white heron is found only in south Florida in the United States. It can also be found on several caribbean islands.