Visitor Activities

Visitor activities - promo

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. 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. Open during daylight hours only, 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.

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


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!