The Everglades’ Old Ingraham Highway

One of the oldest and most historic roads in the Everglades is Old Ingraham Highway.  Work began on this road in 1916 and it was completed in 1922. The road was named after James E. Ingraham, who was the president of the Model Land Company and vice president of the Florida East Coast Railroad. Since this road goes through Royal State park and Florida East Coast Railroad helped making Royal Palm a State Park, it made sense the road was named after Ingraham.

This road was created to be a way to access the Flamingo area. People would drive their vehicles down to visit areas along Florida Bay. It was built on piles of limestone. The old road still exists from the Anhinga Trail to Snake Night. This road is no longer open to cars or bikes, and is considered a wilderness area.

If you’re looking to hike this road, please note there is little shade and it is around 10 miles, 20 miles round trip. Wear sunglasses, hats, and apply sunscreen. This takes around 5 hours to complete, one way. This is an easy to navigate path. The pavement has disintegrated, and the road is mostly gravel or potholes these days. Since it is a wilderness area, the trail isn’t maintained like some other trails in the Park. Be aware there could be a few plants or branches that you may have dodge.  You will come across mangroves and sawgrass, along with endless other plants.

Along the trail, there is a canal where birds and alligators can be spotted, especially during the dry season. The trail is open year-round.  There are also entrances to old campsites on the trail, but they are no longer in use.

Walking around the Everglades is a truly magical experience; however, it can also be extremely hot, tiring, and buggy. If you’d like a cooler, less exhaustive and equally-as-fun way to get around the Everglades, jump on an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours. Captain Mitch has been people around around the Everglades for decades. To book an airboat tour, click here or call 800-368-0065.


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Round Up: Things to do in the Everglades

things to do in the evergladesThe Everglades is a vast wilderness. If you want to plan a trip to this beautiful wetland, there is a lot you can possibly see and do. Even if you’ve been to the Park before, you can always come back and find new places to explore and experiences to partake in. Below, we’ve shared some tips on some things to do in the Everglades Park that are worth visiting.

  • If you’re looking to see some wildlife, the Shark Valley or Homestead entrances of the park is where you should enter.
  • If you have a lot of time, exploring the Ten Thousand Islands off the Gulf Coast, followed by a boat trip to the Everglades City entrance to the park is a great, breathtaking outing.
  • Visit the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center; the Center has a lot of great interactive exhibits and a 15-minute film, “River of Life” in the theater. You can also pick up maps here and have any questions you have answered. If you’d like to schedule a ranger-guided tour, you can do it here; these tours are great for first-time visitors.
  • The Anhinga Trail is a must-go-to place if you want to see alligators and wading birds at close range. This is a 3/4 mile paved, boardwalk trail.
  • The Pahayokee Overlook has an observation tower for people to view the vastness of the Everglades; it’s a great spot to catch the sunset.
  • Flamingo – If you plan to spend a lot of time in the Park or really love the outdoors, this is the area to go. It’s a long drive (38 miles from the Park’s entrance). This area is great for camping and birdwatching.
  • Coot Bay/Mud Lake is a great spot to canoe or kayak through mangrove tunnels and lakes; people can see lots of birds, alligators and crocodiles going this route.

Getting Around the Everglades

Along with all the great activities and places-to-see above, another great way to experience the Everglades up-close-and-personal is a ride on an airboat. Airboats are iconic in the Everglades. With an airboat tour, you can see wildlife and areas of the wetland that are inaccessible by foot. There are so many things to do in the Everglades! To book an airboat tour, contact Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click here.

Trails of the Everglades

trailsThe Everglades is a beautifully mysterious place to visit. So, why not experience it up-close-and-personal? The Everglades National Park allows visitors to explore their surroundings with several hiking and bike trails winding throughout the wetlands.

The Park asks that visitors bring plenty of water with them and to pay attention to the weather forecast. If visitors hear thunder, the Park suggests people take cover in a building or vehicle. Being such a warm climate, there will be lots of insects around and visitors should prepare themselves. Pets are not allowed on any of the Park’s trails.

Below is a list of a few trails within the Park that allows people to explore the flora and fauna of the area. These trails can be walked through but there may be some vegetation on the trail.

The following trails are currently not being maintained because there are endangered species nearby.

Coastal Prairie Trail – This trail is 11.2 miles long. This trail isn’t recommended due to its exposure to mosquitos and sun. The marl prairie is a breeding ground for the mosquitos and can be very muddy. It can be a very tiring walk. This trail is a critical habitat for the Cape Sable thoroughwort.

Snake Bight – Snake Bite is a 7.6-mile loop. This moderately-difficult trail leads from the forest to the shoreline of the Florida Bay. Visitors may spot crocodiles, flamingos (in December), mosquitos, and pythons and anacondas. People can walk and/or bike this trail. This trail is very buggy. This trail is considered a critical habitat for the Cable Sable thoroughwort.

Christian Point Trail – This trail is considered challenging; it leads people deep into a mangrove forest along the Florida Bay. After the forest, the trail will lead people to a small prairie and opens up later into a large mark prairie. This trail is a critical habitat for Cape Sable thoroughwort. It is 4.2 miles round trip. It can be very buggy on this specific trail being surrounded by heavy vegetation.

Other Non-Maintained Trails:
Rowdy Bend
Bear Lake
LPK Bike Trail

These trails are maintained:

Anhinga Trail – This trail is an easy trip and is .8 of a mile long. It’s close to the Park entrance, which is why most visitors travel on this trail. Wildlife is easily spotted along this trail, especially alligators and birds. People can look into the vegetation and see much of the wildlife on several observation decks throughout the trail.

Bayshore Loop – Bayshore Loop is an easy to moderate level trail that is 1.3 miles long. This trail is known to be aggressively buggy. This loop brings visitors along the edge of the Florida Bay through the coastal prairie habitat. It passes through the original fishing village of Flamingo, a relic stands where this place used to be. It’s a great bird-watching trail.

Pa-Hay-Okee Boardwalk – The Boardwalk is an easy .2 loop that leads visitors through the “River of Grass” (Pa-Hay-Okee) within the Park for a close look at the area. It leads people to an observation tower.

Other Maintained Trails:
Bear Lake Trail
Bobcat Boardwalk
Gumbo Limbo Trail
Guy Bradley Trail
Mahogany Hammock Trail
Old Ingraham Highway
Otter Cave Hammock Trail
Pinelands Ecotone
West Lake Mangrove Trail

Explore The Everglades Further

These trails offer beautiful views to those within while fully immersing them in the mystical wetlands. For a different look at the Everglades, an airboat tour can bring you around areas of the Everglades that these trails do not reach. Airboats are great especially when your feet get tired from all the walking! To schedule an airboat trip when you’re visiting the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click here.