Everglades National Park | BOBCAT BOARDWALK TRAIL

Map of the Shark Valley trails

Map of the Shark Valley trails (click to enlarge)


See the Hiking web page for an interactive location map.


Length: .2 mile, one way
Difficulty: Easy, suitable for wheelchairs.

When I wrote about the Shark Valley Tram Tour, I advised that even if you took the tram around the 15-mile loop road that you should also walk some of the road, especially a section on the west side next to the canal, because you can see the animals up close and take photos on your own schedule. A better plan, one that will include an educational walk through the forested area of Everglades National Park’s Shark Valley, is to hike the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail and then walk along the park road to another short trail in the area, the Otter Cave Hammock Trail. Between the two trails and the road you can form a nice semi-loop hike that starts and ends at the Shark Valley Visitor Center. The route is slightly over 1.5 miles long and takes about 1.5 hours, with much of that time spent taking photos and observing the many birds, alligators, and turtles in Shark Valley. A trail brochure claims bobcats can be found along the trail at night.

The hike starts at the back of the Visitor Center at the tram loading area, with the first destination being the eastern trailhead for the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail. To get there, follow the park road in a clockwise direction (to the left), the same way the trams are heading. The trailhead is located a tenth of a mile down the road; you can’t miss it.

Eastside trailhead for the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail

Eastside trailhead for the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail

The Bobcat Boardwalk Trail cuts across the forested area bounded by the Shark Valley Tram Road. Along the way are signs that discuss the ecology and vegetation of the forest. The walk from the Visitor Center to the boardwalk and then to the other side of the loop road takes less than fifteen minutes.

Bobcat Boardwalk Trail

Bobcat Boardwalk Trail

Information sign along the trail

Information sign along the trail

Once you reach the road on the other side, take a left to head towards the Otter Cave Hammock Trail, a half mile farther ahead. You will see most of the animals along this road. It’s like being in a zoo with no cages. See the Otter Cave Hammock Trail review for details on that hike and the Shark Valley Wildlife Photos web page for a complete gallery of photos taken in this area.

If you just want to return to the Visitor Center, take a right when you reach the tram road.

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Last updated on December 31, 2019
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