Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge was established for
the protection of the Florida Panther and its habitat. There are several ways to enjoy the refuge.
Wildlife Viewing and
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 the refuge
visitor with a chance to experience the various habitats found on the refuge.
The trail is well marked, but during the wet season,
overgrown vegetation on the trail may encroach on the trail. Regardless of the
trail's condition, the visitor will enjoy a leisurely walk through hardwood
hammocks, pine flatwoods, and wet prairies. Late winter and early spring will
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
(239-353-8442) to check the status of the trails.
In spring, the refuge hosts an open house, where
areas that are normally closed from public access are open to a limited
audience for buggy tours, swamp hikes, birding tours, and plant ID walks.
Occasionally other tours may be offered during the winter depending on staff or
volunteer availability. Tours will be posted on our "Events Calendar".
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The Florida Panther Refuge open house will be held on Saturday, March 15th. All activities are free and include lunch and refreshments sponsored by the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge. Make your reservations for free swamp buggy tours, orchid wet walks, guided birding walks, and guided plant hikes starting March 10th.