Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Welcome to Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is the largest state park in Florida and is home to a variety of plant and animal species that can be found nowhere else in the continental United States. The emphasis at Fakahatchee is on the preservation of its natural character. In keeping with this goal, facilities and activities are limited, but allow the visitor a wilderness to enjoy and explore. The park can be divided into four main use areas. These are the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, the East River, the Jones Grade lakes, and Janes Memorial Scenic Drive.
The Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk is about 2,500 feet long and winds through a beautiful, pristine section of the Fakahatchee Strand swamp and ends at an alligator pond and observation deck. This is a great place for visitors to get an introduction to the preserve and for those that are just looking for a short hike. The boardwalk is located off of U.S. 41, about seven miles west of State Road 29.
The East River canoe launch is tucked away down an unmarked dirt drive off U.S. 41, five miles west of State Road 29, on the south side of the road. The river is a primarily brackish water and tidal responsive creek that flows southwest to Fakahatchee Bay and the Ten Thousand Islands. It is a beautiful and varied creek, passing through a succession of small lakes and canopied mangrove tunnels before widening into a tidal river. Maps of the river are available at the launch and at the park visitor center.
The Jones Grade lakes and trail can be accessed off of State Road 29, just south of the I-75 intersection. The lakes are great for fishing, canoeing or kayaking, however, no swimming is allowed. The Jones Grade trail crosses through the strand swamp and connects to the East Main tram, Pennington Post trail and the Florida trail.
Janes Memorial Scenic Drive is the main access point to the majority of hiking and biking trails in the park. Janes can be accessed from State Road 29 and is an 11-mile dirt road extending from the park visitor center in Copeland to Fakahatchee's border with Picayune Strand State Forest. All of the trails in the park are cleared tram roads that were created when the land was logged in the 1940s through the 1960s. The two most popular hiking trails are the East and West Main trams. The West Main tram is located 4 miles down Janes from the visitors center. The trail passes through 2 miles of strand swamp before opening up into a beautiful marle prairie. The East Main tram is located 2 miles further down Janes and extends 10 miles, north to south, connecting Janes to the Jones Grade trail at the north end of the park. The East Main tram is great for hiking and biking and passes through the central slough, one of the most beautiful places in the park. See the park's hiking maps for more information.