Fodor's Expert Review Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Everglades City Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

When this refuge opened in 1989, it was off-limits to the public to protect endangered cougar subspecies. In 2005, responding to public demand, the 26,400-acre refuge opened two short loop trails in a region lightly traveled by panthers so visitors could get tastes of wet prairies, tropical hammocks, and pine uplands where panthers roam and wild orchids thrive. The 1.3-mile trail is rugged and often thigh-high under water during summer and fall; it's closed when completely flooded. The shorter 0.3-mile Leslie M. Duncan Memorial Trail, winding through a hardwood hammock, is wheelchair-accessible and open year-round. For either, bring drinking water and insect repellent. Sightings are rare, but you may spot deer, black bears, and the occasional panther—or their tracks.

Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Everglades City, Florida  USA

239-353–8442

www.fws.gov/floridapanther

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free

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