Plan Your Visit

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Points of interest  

Please note that most of Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public access.

Two hiking trails are open to the public on the Refuge. A 0.3mile accessible gravel-surface loop offers a short stroll through hammock habitat of lush vegetation. A 1.3mile singletrack natural trail offers an approximately 45-90 minute hike through hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, and wet prairies.

The trails are located about a quarter mile north of the intersection of State Road 29 and I-75. Look for a wide open gate and brown hiking trail signs on the west side of SR29 just past the I-75 junction. Note that the hiking trails and their parking lot are south of the refuge headquarters office. No public access is offered from the office location. 

Open for free, seven days a week, during daylight hours only of sunrise-sunset, the trails provide visitors with a chance to experience a variety of Refuge habitats.

The trail is well marked, but during the summer wet season, overgrown vegetation is likely to encroach on the trail.

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 active wildlife.

Please keep in mind: all plants and animals here are protected and not to be taken, firearms are prohibited and conceal/carry permit holders must abide by FL state law, for their own safety pets are not permitted on the trails, off-road vehicles and bicycles are prohibited, please take all trash with you and do not litter.

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

The trail and boardwalk were funded by private donations from Marge Duncan, Safari Club International, and the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge.

For more wildlife viewing, photography, and hiking opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, visit the "Find A Refuge Trail" website to locate a trail near you! http://www.fws.gov/refuges/trails/index.cfm

FPNWR Trail Map - thumb
Click here for to view a trail map.  

Getting here  

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge consists of 26,400 acres and is located within the heart of the Big Cypress Basin in Southwest Florida. It is located 20 miles east of Naples, Fl at the northwest corner of the intersection of Alligator Alley (I-75) and State Road 29. The refuge is due west of the Big Cypress National Preserve and due north of Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and Picayune Strand State Forest.

From Naples Area:     Take I-75 South towards Miami. Get off at Exit 80. Turn left on State Road 29, heading North. The refuge trails will be located on the left-hand side about a half mile down the road. The trails are open from dawn to dusk all year long.

From Immokalee Area:     Take State Road 29 South. The refuge trails will be located on the right-hand side right before the on/off ramps for I-75.   

Know before you go 

Please use caution when walking the trails. Bring water, insect repellent, and sunscreen. Please do not leave valuables in your car. Allow time to return to your vehicle and leave the refuge before the entrance gate closes at sunset. Pet are not allowed. Do not hike or jog alone. Keep small children under supervision and close at hand. Do not feed any wildlife. 

Panthers are rarely seen on the refuge. However, if you do see a panther, follow these guidelines: 

Keep children within sight and close to you. Pick up small children. 

Give the panther space. Give them a way to escape. 

Do not run. Stand and face the animal. 

Avoid crouching or bending over. 

Appear larger. Open your jacket. 

Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. 

To learn more about how to stay safe in panther territory, check out these Florida Panther Safety Tips