Please note that the Bear Lake Trail is not currently being maintained because of potential damage to critical habitat in the area for the Cape Sable thoroughwort. This is a small herb in the sunflower family with bluish-purple flowers. Global distribution restricted to coastal ENP and a few sites in the Florida Keys.
Park staff are reviewing trail management techniques to develop strategies that won't affect this habitat so that we can reinstate trail management in the future. For now the trail remains open but you should be aware of terrain that should be traversed carefully and may have vegetation, branches, or other flora and fauna that could affect your hike.
Trail Length: 1.6 miles (2.6 km) one way
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Bicycles Allowed: No
Trail Description: Journey through a dense hardwood hammock mixed with mangroves. The trail follows the old Homestead Canal, built in 1922, and is an excellent area for woodland birds. There are more than 50 different tree species.
Directions to Trail: Two miles (3 km) north of the Flamingo Visitor Center. Bike, drive, or walk to the end of Bear Lake Road to begin this trail, which ends at Bear Lake. No RV's due to low overhead and minimal turn- around space.
The Bear Lake Road is closed to private motor vehicles as posted due to water on the road, typically June through mid-October or November. Water on the road creates pot holes, presenting a threat of damage to vehicles transiting the roadway. It also creates a safety hazard when drivers try to avoid the standing water and get too close to the Button Wood Canal.
Last updated: April 14, 2015