The Anhinga Trail is one of the most popular trails in Everglades National Park for a reason...It is amazing! This easy trail is perfect for wildlife viewing. You can expect to see alligators, turtles, Great Blue Herons, and a ton of other birds on this short trail.
Anhinga Trail - Everglades National Park
Every time we visit the Everglades National Park we stop at the Anhinga Trail. This is one of our favorite places in the park. The trail is paved and really easy to walk on. You are almost guaranteed to see at least one alligator if not 50 along the way.
When we arrived at the trail on our last trip there was a huge alligator sitting right by the visitor center. You did not even have to get out of your car to see them.
The Anhinga Trail follows along the waterway through deeper water and back to the parking lot. There is a lovely boardwalk that goes over the water. You have a chance to see alligators, birds, fish, turtles, and more as you walk along.
The park service offers guided walks along the trail or you can walk it on your own. There is a small visitor center with water, snacks, books and a volunteer to help answer any questions you may have about the area.
Please be careful around the alligators, even though they look like they are nicely displayed on the side of the path they are still wild animals. I was really scared on our last trip to see people reaching down and trying to touch the alligators.
There was a couple with a small child getting really close for a photo that made me really nervous. The alligators are wild and you will see their lovely teeth as you walk by them. I personally try to stay a few feet back at least when walking near them. They are massive and I do not really want to become up close and personal friends with one of them.
The boardwalk is fantastic. You go through a couple of different areas that really show off the Everglades. It is paved boardwalk the entire trail. I am not sure I would even classify it as a hiking trail it is more of an easy walk.
Anhinga Trail Information
Trail Length: 0.8 miles (1200 meters) round trip
Elevation Gain: 0 Feet
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Skill Level: Easy
Bicycles Allowed: No
Directions to the Anhinga Trail
Starts from the Royal Palm Visitor Center, four miles (6 km) from the main park entrance/Ernest Coe Visitor Center.
Parking: The parking lot is fairly large and offers access to not only the Anhinga Trail but also the Royal Palm Visitor Center and Gumbo Limbo Trail. There are parking spots for RVs.
Don't be surprised if you see car windshields covered in tarps. The vultures have decided that they like to pick the rubber around windshields. In order to help protects cars the National Park Service has a box filled with tarps and bungee cords near the bathrooms.
We have never had a problem but that shouldn't stop you from protecting your car.
What to bring with you
Depending on the time of year you visit you may experience heat, humidity, and a ton of bugs! Be prepared for Southern Florida weather that is constantly changing!
Bug spray is your friend! Mosquitoes in the Everglades are very friendly and want to become your new BFF. They are quite relentless and can make a walk on the trail without bug spray miserable.
Sunscreen - Similar to the mosquitoes the South Florida sun is constant, hot, and can fry you in what feels like minutes. Please come prepared with sunscreen and a hat!
Water - There is no water past the visitor center so make sure you fill your water bottles before heading out.
Royal Palms Visitor Center
This visitor center has a small gift store, restrooms, and picnic tables. The air conditioning in the gift shop area can feel like bliss after walking the trail during the summer.
These are the only restrooms before heading out on the trail.
Best time to view wildlife
The best times for wildlife viewing is in the dry season in the winter and early spring. Don't worry you can pretty much see wildlife year-round. The winter and early spring are the best time to see a large number of alligators and wildlife.
How much time should I plan to spend on the Anhinga Trail?
I would plan a minimum of an hour but you could easily spend a few hours along the trail. It really depends on how big of a bird/wildlife watcher you are.
If you are a birder I would plan to spend some time on the trail. We have been lucky enough to see Purple Gallinules moving around the lily pads along with a ton of other birds.
Ranger Guided Tours
The National Park Service offers Park Ranger-guided tours during the Dry Season (November - April). Most of the guided tours are free with your park entrance free.
There are two year-round Programs: The Anhinga Amble and Glades Glimpse are offered every day, year-round, including during the summer months!
Meet at the Royal Palm Benches before the tour starts. You can enjoy a guided walk along the trail. Available every day at 10:30 am, 365 days a year!
Meet at the Royal Palm Benches. This tour is undercover! Sit in the shade while listening to a park ranger talks about the wonders of the Everglades. Available every day at 1:30 pm, 365 days a year!
Everglades National Park posts
Everglades National Park Wildlife - Learn more about the great wildlife you can see in the park.
Things to do Everglades National Park - Check out all of the epic things you can do in the park.
The Everglades is one of the Most Visited National Parks in the United States.
Don't miss visiting some of the other great National Parks in Florida
They are great things to do in Biscayne National Park just down the road from the Everglades.
Check out the great Everglades Boat Tours you can take to see the park from the water.
Everglades National Park Resouces