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Visitor Activities

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Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge was established for the protection of the Florida Panther and its habitat.  While most of the Refuge is closed to public access, there are still several ways to enjoy the refuge. 

 

Wildlife Viewing and Photography on the Trail 

Two hiking trails are open to the public on the Refuge. The trails are located about a quarter mile north of the intersection of State Road 29 and I-75. Open during daylight hours only, the trails provide visitors with a chance to experience a variety of Refuge habitats. 

The trail is well marked, but during the wet season, overgrown vegetation may encroach on the trail. Regardless of the trail's condition, visitors will enjoy a leisurely walk through hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, and wet prairies. Late winter and early spring bring out many wildflowers. Deer, bear, and occasional panther tracks can be found along the longer trail. Don't forget to look up to catch a glimpse of a red-shoulder hawk, swallow-tailed kite or osprey. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to observe wildlife. 

Call the main office (239-657-8001) to check the status of the trails.


Interpretive tours

In spring, the Refuge and its Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge non-profit host an Open House, where areas that are normally closed to public access are open for buggy tours, swamp hikes, birding tours, and plant ID walks. This Open House event typically takes place on the third Saturday of March, designated as Save the Florida Panther Day. Occasionally other tours may be offered during the winter depending on staff or volunteer availability.  Tours will be posted on our "Events Calendar". Also be sure to "like" the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge on Facebook to stay updated on Refuge happenings or special events hosted by the Friends!

Last Updated: Jul 27, 2015
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