Everglades National Park | MAHOGANY HAMMOCK TRAIL

Start of the Mahogany Hammock Trail

Start of the Mahogany Hammock Trail

See the Hiking web page for an interactive location map.


Length: .4-mile loop
Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

The Mahogany Hammock Trail at Everglades National Park is located at the end of a long road that branches off of Main Park Road (FL 9336), the road to Flamingo. It is a wheelchair accessible boardwalk that leads across a freshwater marl prairie to a hardwood hammock where mahogany and other hardwood trees grow. There is one very large mahogany tree that survived the logging done before the National Park was established.

The Mahogany Hammock Trail boardwalk

The Mahogany Hammock Trail boardwalk

The freshwater marl prairie is a wetland that looks similar to a freshwater slough, but while the water flows slowly southward in the slough, water in the marl prairie does not flow, but dissipates mainly by seeping into the ground. Marl prairies are more akin to marshes, whereas sloughs are more like shallow rivers. Both are characterized by sawgrass, though the sawgrass in the sloughs tends to grow taller. Marl, by the way, is a type of hard mud or clay comprised of minerals such as calcium carbonate, lime, and calcite.

Marl prairie in Everglades National Park

Marl prairie in Everglades National Park

A hammock is an area with a slightly higher elevation than the wet areas surrounding it, which allows hardwoods, pines, and other vegetation that cannot grow in the water to flourish. In the Everglades, this difference in elevation may only be a few feet, but it is enough to keep the hammock much drier. Mahogany Hammock is surrounded on all sides by wetland, making it an island of sorts.

Mahogany Hammock Trail in Everglades National Park

Mahogany Hammock Trail in Everglades National Park

The most interesting tree on the trail is a Strangler Fig. This is a tree that literally encases another tree like armor encases a human body. I’ve been on other nature trails that point out Strangler Figs, but they were so small that I never could figure out what the fuss was all about. This is the first time I’ve seen the Strangler Fig encase a tree.

Strangler Fig

Strangler Fig

As you make your way south towards Flamingo, the mosquitoes get more prevalent with each passing mile, even in the winter. The Mahogany Hammock Trail is mildly infested, which doesn’t sound too bad, but you will find hardly any mosquitoes a few miles farther north. It is amazing what can happen in just a few miles.

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Last updated on February 21, 2021
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