Hike Gumbo Limbo Trail

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Gumbo Limbo Trail is an easily accessible nature trail in Everglades National Park. Located at the Royal Palm Information Center and Bookstore (and near the popular Anhinga Trail), the trailhead is a quick drive from the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center and the park’s Homestead entrance in South Dade. Gumbo Limbo Trail is less than a half mile long, making it great for families traveling with younger children. The trail’s paved loop meets a boardwalk where you’ll journey through a dense tropical hardwood hammock. There are interpretive signs on the trail offering information about the environment and the history of this area of the Everglades.

Native Plants

Set off through the tropical hardwood canopy beneath royal palms, ferns, air plants and the trail’s namesake gumbo limbo trees. You’ll recognize these trees by their riot of zig-zagging limbs and trademark peeling red bark. The red bark led to the cheeky nickname “tourist trees” for those who forget to slather on the sunscreen and face a similar fate – so don’t forget your SPF and a hat! Bug spray and plenty of water are also recommended supplies for your hike. 

Wildlife

The Gumbo LImbo Trail is a good place to spot native birds.

The Gumbo Limbo Trail is a birder’s paradise where you’re likely to spot elegant egrets, great blue herons, cormorants and other colorful wading and migratory birds, as well as zebra longwing butterflies and tree snails. When you reach the water, keep your eyes peeled for turtles and even alligators. Take your time, as you never know what you might spot.

Plan Your Trip

While Everglades National Park is open with COVID-19 safety precautions in place, always call or check the park’s website for alerts and closures before making your journey. From Downtown Miami, it’s just over an hour's drive south to the Royal Palm Information Center and Bookstore. Various portions of the park sometimes close unexpectedly due to weather events, flooding and other issues. 
 

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