Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Welcome to Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve 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 U.S.
The emphasis at Fakahatchee is on the preservation of its natural character. In keeping with this goal, facilities and activities are limited but offer the visitor a wilderness to enjoy and explore.
The park is composed of four main use areas: the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, East River, Jones Grade lakes and Janes Memorial Scenic Drive.
- Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk is 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 U.S. 41, about 7 miles west of State Road 29.
- East River canoe launch is tucked away down an unmarked dirt drive off U.S. 41, 5 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. This location can be accessed by appointment only. Appointments can be made the day of or the day before by calling the park 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 239-961-1925.
- Jones Grade lakes and trail can be accessed off State Road 29, just south of the Interstate 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 is a 6-mile dirt road that be accessed from State Road 29. Visitors can hike or bike at numbered gates along the drive or an additional 4.5 miles of Janes that is closed to vehicle traffic and extends to the park’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 visitor center. The trail passes through 2 miles of strand swamp before opening up into a beautiful marl prairie.
The East Main Tram is located 2 miles farther down Janes. The first 2 miles of the trail are the most open, maintained and well-traveled. The tram continues for an additional 8 miles for the more adventurous hiker. East Main passes through the strand swamp and gives a breathtaking perspective of the park's dominant natural community.
Plan Your Visit
Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk
Prescribed Fire at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve
People Make the Parks
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