Best Hike - 2008
Florida Trail between Loop Road and U.S. 41
Less than an hour from Miami, this nearly seven-mile portion of the Florida Trail is not for the wimpy or those unwilling to get wet. Don't be stupid and wear flip-flops, either. Lace up the hiking boots: You'll be stomping among snakes and sticks in shin- to waist-high water.
Coming from Miami, take a left off U.S. 41 at Loop Road near the wildlife check station. The marked trail begins about a dozen miles into the swamp. Along the way, play wildlife shutterbug and gawk at the bounty of birds and alligators that makes it feel like you're driving through an awfully nice zoo. Then park the car on the side of the road and look for the trail head. Enter the alien landscape of saw grass prairies and cypress swamps that was South Florida before the damn Yankees up and ruined it.
The only down side is the distance. You might want to drop a car at the preserve's Oasis Visitor Center on U.S. 41 if you don't plan to hike the trail there and back. At 13 miles, it could be a grueling day. Hiking six miles in the swamps can take at least four hours, so the one-way trip is much more doable. And pleasant.
Well hiking this trail is not as easy as it sounds... I hiked this trail a couple of years ago and it took me close to eight hours to go the distance! Granted, it was wet most of the way, knee deep, neck deep mid way, if you decide to go through a small lake midway, or perhaps you might want to go around it, but it will take you longer. During summer time, it is not recommended that you hike this trail, it is buggy, and wet but nevertheless strenuous and fun. Make sure that you come out near the Oasis ranger station; what happened to me, was that even though we headed to Oasis, we missed it! by 2 miles. Think walking all day and then 2 more miles... try it but be fit. We came in strong and came out weak and weary.Go for it, you will never forget your experience. Want to know more call me Raul 305 772 4932