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

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • 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 »

Course Description


The hiking portion originates from the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve. There is no entrance fee associated with this area. However, participants must complete a backcountry permit to access the backcountry within the national preserve. Hikers should be aware that they may be walking in wet or muddy conditions, and should bring a change of shoes, socks and pants for after their adventure. It is highly recommended to wear lightweight pants in the swamp rather than shorts. During certain times of the year (the summer rainy season) triathlon participants may be walking in water about knee (20-30 inches) deep. A walking stick is always a good idea while hiking in the swamp. Work with visitor center staff on permits, trail conditions and to get other details about the hike. For more on swamp walking click here.

To review the route using Google Earth click here. For those with a Garmin GPS you can get the track log for the route by clicking here.


The biking leg of the triathlon is offered at the Shark Valley Visitor Center in Everglades National Park. Individuals may bring their own bikes; limited rentals are available on-site as well. There is an entrance fee for the Shark Valley area during operational hours.

To review the route using Google Earth click here. For those with a Garmin GPS you can get the track log for the route by clicking here.


To complete the canoe/kayak leg of the triathlon participants will start from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center located in Everglades City. Check in at the visitor center to get maps, directions, and up to date tide and weather information. Paddlers should wear closed toed shoes to protect their feet from cuts on oysters, rocks, and shells. Sun protection and extra water are recommended as well as insect repellant in the spring, summer, and fall. Participants may bring their own equipment, rent equipment at the visitor center or from other vendors within Everglades City. There is no entrance fee associated with the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.

To review the route using Google Earth click here. For those with a Garmin GPS you can get the track log for the route by clicking here.

General Safety Considerations

Click here for a guide to "Playing it Safe" while exploring in backcountry areas of South Florida. Be sure to check weather conditions before going into the woods and be sure to dress appropriately. Each participant should be prepared with plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. Bringing a hat and mosquito repellent are a good idea as well, though you may not encounter bugs during certain times of the year. For more information, please click here for a short informative video highlighting excellent safety tips!

Cell phone coverage is spotty, and you should not rely on them alone. Be sure to let a family member or friend know where you are going and when you are expected to return. Advise them that if they do not hear from you within a reasonable time from your pre-arranged plans to contact Park Dispatch at - 800-788-0511.

References to non-US Department of the Interior products do not constitute endorsement. By viewing the Google Maps on this page the user agrees to these terms set forth by Google.

This event is made possible through generous support from the South Florida National Parks Trust.

Did You Know?


Before Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States designated Big Cypress as the country's first national preserve, in 1974, he worked as a National Park Ranger at Yellowstone National Park, in 1936. He was the only US President to have worked for the National Park Service.