Everglades Overview

Everglades National Park, located in southern Florida, USA, is a vast and unparalleled ecosystem covering approximately 1.5 million acres (about 6,070 square kilometers or 2,341 square miles). Established in 1947, it is the largest tropical wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River and is recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. The park is renowned for its unique landscape, which is a complex network of wetlands, forests, and mangroves that form a slow-moving river flowing out of Lake Okeechobee into Florida Bay.

The Everglades are often referred to as the “River of Grass” due to the vast expanses of sawgrass marshes that dominate the landscape. This unique environment supports a diversity of flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else in the United States. The park is home to a myriad of wildlife, including the American crocodile, the Florida panther, and a variety of wading birds such as the roseate spoonbill, wood stork, and several species of herons and egrets.

Everglades National Park plays a crucial role in protecting the fragile ecosystem of the Everglades, which has been greatly affected by human activity over the past century. Efforts to restore and preserve this unique environment are ongoing, highlighting the park’s importance in ecological conservation and environmental education.

Visitors to the park can explore its beauty and diversity through a variety of activities, including hiking, bird watching, kayaking, and boat tours. The park offers several visitor centers where guests can learn about the Everglades’ ecosystems, conservation efforts, and the cultural history of the area.

Everglades National Park stands as a testament to nature’s resilience and the importance of preserving natural habitats. Its stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and the vital ecological services it provides make it an invaluable asset for both wildlife and people.

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Everglades National Park Highlights


Everglades National Park, a vast and unique ecosystem within southern Florida, is a world-renowned haven for a wide array of wildlife, offering unparalleled opportunities to observe species that thrive in its subtropical wilderness. From the water’s surface to the expansive skies, the park’s diverse habitats support an incredible variety of life, each species playing a crucial role in the delicate balance of the Everglades’ environment.

American Alligator – Emblematic of the Everglades, the American Alligator is often seen sunning on banks or gliding through the water, a key species in the ecosystem.

Florida Panther – As one of the most elusive inhabitants, the endangered Florida Panther roams the park’s forests and marshes, a symbol of wild Florida.

West Indian Manatee – Gentle giants, West Indian Manatees, frequent the park’s warm waters, grazing on sea grasses in a slow-paced ballet of underwater grace.

American Crocodile – Unique for its tolerance of saltwater, the American Crocodile resides along the park’s coastal areas, showcasing the diversity of reptilian life in the Everglades.

Roseate Spoonbill – With its vibrant pink plumage and distinctive spoon-shaped bill, the Roseate Spoonbill is a striking presence in the park’s shallow waters.

Wood Stork – A conservation success story, the Wood Stork, with its bald head and white body, is often seen wading in search of fish.

Great Egret – Tall and graceful, the Great Egret stalks the marshes, a white beacon against the green backdrop, hunting for fish and amphibians.

Bald Eagle – The majestic Bald Eagle, America’s national bird, can be spotted soaring above the Everglades, a powerful symbol of freedom and strength.

Osprey – Known as the fish hawk, Ospreys are commonly observed diving for fish in the park’s waters, a testament to the richness of the Everglades’ aquatic life.

Snail Kite – Specialized in feeding on apple snails, the Snail Kite glides over freshwater marshes, its presence indicative of the health of the ecosystem.

Everglades National Park’s wildlife, from the iconic American Alligator to the specialized Snail Kite, represents the incredible biodiversity of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, inviting visitors to explore and appreciate the wonders of one of America’s most unique natural treasures.

Engaging Everglades National Park

Explore the vast wetlands of Everglades National Park on an exhilarating airboat tour. Glide over the shallow waters and sawgrass prairies, led by experienced guides who offer insights into the park’s unique ecosystem and wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for alligators, wading birds, and other fascinating creatures that call the Everglades home.

Hiking Trails

Embark on a hike along the park’s scenic trails, ranging from short boardwalk loops to longer backcountry routes. Wander through lush forests, past freshwater ponds, and across open prairies, keeping an eye out for wildlife and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.

Paddle through the tranquil waters of the Everglades, immersing yourself in the beauty and serenity of this unique wilderness. Whether you choose to kayak along mangrove-lined rivers or canoe through freshwater marshes, you’ll have the opportunity to spot wildlife such as manatees, dolphins, and a variety of bird species.

Everglades National Park Trails

Anhinga Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.8 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Anhinga Trail is a boardwalk and paved path through a sawgrass marsh, where visitors can see an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, and a variety of other bird species. This accessible trail is one of the best spots in the park for wildlife viewing, especially during the dry season.

Gumbo Limbo Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.4 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: Named after the gumbo limbo tree, this short, shaded trail winds through a dense, tropical hardwood hammock. Visitors can enjoy the cool respite from the sun while learning about the native plants and trees of the Everglades, including the gumbo limbo, often referred to as the “tourist tree” for its peeling red bark.

Shark Valley Tram Road

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 15 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: Ideal for biking or taking a tram tour, this paved loop offers panoramic views of the Everglades’ “river of grass.” Along the way, visitors are likely to encounter alligators, wading birds, and possibly deer and turtles. The observation tower at the halfway point provides a spectacular aerial view of the surrounding wetlands.

Pa-hay-okee Overlook Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.2 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: This short boardwalk leads to an observation platform offering expansive views of the Everglades’ sawgrass prairie. “Pa-hay-okee” means “grassy waters” in the Seminole language, and this trail offers visitors a quick but memorable glimpse into the vast wetlands and their unique ecosystem.

Mahogany Hammock Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.5 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: This boardwalk trail meanders through a dense, jungle-like hammock of mahogany trees, ferns, and air plants, leading to the largest living mahogany tree in the United States. The lush foliage and cool shade provide a stark contrast to the surrounding marshes, offering a peaceful and scenic walk.


1. What are the Everglades known for?

The Everglades are renowned for their vast and unique ecosystem, characterized by sawgrass marshes, mangrove forests, and diverse wildlife.

It is recognized as one of the largest tropical wilderness areas in the United States, home to numerous endangered species such as the Florida panther, American crocodile, and West Indian manatee.

The Everglades also serve as a crucial habitat for migratory birds, providing nesting grounds and feeding areas for hundreds of species.

Additionally, the park’s network of waterways, including rivers, lakes, and estuaries, offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

The Everglades are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, attracting visitors from around the world to marvel at its natural beauty and ecological significance.

  • All Trails, Best Trails in Everglades National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Britannica, Everglades National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Geographic, Complete National Parks of the United States, National Geographic Publishing, Washington DC.
  • National Geographic, Guide to the National Parks of the United States, National Geographic Society, 2003.
  • National Geographic, National Parks of North America, Canada-United States-Mexico, National Geographic Society, 1995.
  • National Parks Conservation Association, Everglades,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Park Foundation, Everglades,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Park Services, Everglades,, retrieved April 2024.
  • UNESCO, Everglades National Park,, retrieved April 2024.