Kayak trails in Everglades National Park are a treat for kayaking lovers. This awesome vast park in Florida has something for everyone.
Visiting the park is an overwhelming experience. The tourists enjoy natural beauty, wildlife, and the serenity which makes a long lasting impression.
The best kayak trails in the Everglades:
One of the cool ways to explore the Everglades is by boat, particularly, in a canoe or a kayak. So, here are some of the great kayak trails in Everglades National Park that you may love too.
The best kayak trails in the Flamingo and Homestead region:
Some of the best trails for kayakers in the Everglades National Park are found to be in the Flamingo and Homestead region. These kayaking trails are famous for the open marsh backdrop and diverse wildlife. The beautiful tunnel experience at the 9 Mile Pond trail is also a great lure.
The following kayak trails with their brief description would surely make your mind in exploring them for real:
1. The 9 Mile Pond:
Naturally beautified with a wide landscape with scenic mangrove islands including the occasional tree island and the saw-grass, adds to the charm of the place exponentially. It stretches a little over 5 miles and is rated as one of the finest kayaking trails for the beginners. Visitors on this trail must beware of the notable crocodiles which have taken their residence here for quite some time.
2. The Coot Bay and Mud Lake Trail:
This is famous particularly for the charming mangrove tunnels in the wilderness. Apart from that, the open lakes are beautiful which can get windy and sometimes monotonous too. Despite that, it is a trail worth visiting, particularly for the mangrove tunnels.
3. The Hell’s Bay Trail:
Underrated, but still a sight to watch the mangrove creeks and the extremely beautiful ponds. A full round kayaking trip on this trail would be around 10 miles which are enough to have a great kayaking experience. If tired or bored, then you can surely return halfway on the trail. This is one of those special trails which offer the camping options too on the platforms along the trail. However, the visitors are required to take camping permits, before availing any such camping activity in the vicinity of the trail.
4. The Noble Hammock Trail:
The Noble Hammock trail is a small route for kayaking but one of the preferred options of many kayakers to the Everglades. The out-and-back round trip of the trail is just 1.9 miles where you would love it for the twisting mangroves all through the way on the kayaking route.
5. The West Lake Trail:
This is a long kayaking trail stretching about 7.7 miles in one way and makes a round trip of 15 miles. The trail leads to the marvelous Alligator creek running through a series of awesome open lakes which are connected through the narrow creeks. The tail through the Alligator Creek is lined with mangroves which add to the beauty of the trail. The West Lake is known as the largest one in the vicinity and the lake sometimes can be extremely windy and rough. Therefore, be careful while visiting this and take all the safety precautions while kayaking here.
The best kayak trails off the Gulf Coast and the Tamiami trail region:
The Turner River by far is the best and the most preferred kayak trail in this region, but other trails are also noteworthy for a number of reasons. It is advised by the experts of the region to start your kayaking journey early in the day in order to avoid large crowds later in the day. The following are the trails for kayaking found off the Golf Coast and the Tamiami trails:
1. Turner River:
This is the most popular and the most exciting kayak trail in the entire Everglades National Park, primarily because of the reason that it has everything that the park could offer to the tourists on a single trip. The outstanding scenery and the diverse wildlife are the highlights of the Turner River. The tourist must note in advance that this trail due to its popularity can get extremely crowded. On the other hand in the spring season, it may get too shallow.
2. The Halfway Creek Trail:
This trail is not too far from the Turner River trail but offers tourists with a completely different and a unique kayaking experience. It might not be as scenic as the Turner River trail but preferred due to less crowd and there is no low water issue as well in the spring season.
3. Sand-fly Loop Trail
It is the place which gives you the unique experience that you may get at the Ten Thousand Islands if you ever had visited that before. It is known for the saltwater kayaking experience with an opportunity to cross over the open water as well.
4. The Indian Key Pass Trail
This one is an even more ambitious kind of the Ten Thousand Islands trip. The highlight on this kayaking route is the camping facility. Once again you need to get the permit in advance before you can camp along this beautiful kayak trail.
Ways to Kayak the Everglade Trails:
The Everglade trails could be utilized in a number of ways for kayaking. A brief summary of what you can do in this regard is given below:
- You can bring your own kayak or canoe, place it at the launch on the trail and start paddling. Paddling upstream in most of the trails is not a big deal.
- You can bring your own kayak or canoe and can make arrangements to be facilitated at the trail by the Visitor Center staff at the Everglades. They will provide you with shuttle service to reach the trail and the service could also be availed on return to your car. Boat for two people could be availed too from the service center at the park, inclusive of the transportation services as well till the trail.
- Guided adventure tours in the wildlife refuge with or without the additional services could also be availed from several licensed service centers in the Everglades.
Useful Safety Tips for the Kayak Trail Experience:
- Always check the weather forecast before arriving at the Everglades for kayaking. Avoid kayaking in severe weather conditions or when there is lightning.
- Ensure that your boat has got paddles, whistle, sunscreen, life jacket for each, drinking water, mosquito repellent and sunglasses etc.
- Avoid carrying valuables and other items that could be easily damaged by water.
- Beware of the windy condition, powerboat wakes, tides and the gear storage. These could potentially affect the stability of your vessel.
- If you happen to visit the Gulf Coast trail (Visitor Center) then beware of the muddy nature of the trail at the low tide where your boat may get stuck. Try to be on the very right side while launching, which is a much firmer area of the trail.
- In order to avoid injury of any kind, come with closed toe shoes and do not carry any sharp objects.
- You must not harass or even feed the wildlife.