Everglades National Park | PA-HAY-OKEE TRAIL

Pa-hay-okee Trail in Everglades National Park

Pa-hay-okee Trail in Everglades National Park

See the Hiking web page for an interactive location map.


Length: .2-mile loop
Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

The Pa-hay-okee Trail is the second short nature trail you come to when driving along Main Park Road (FL 9336) on your way to the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park. Unlike the Pinelands Trail that comes before it—which is located at a roadside pullout—the Pa-hay-okee Trail is at the end of a long road that winds through a sawgrass wetland populated by cypress trees. There are a number of good photo opportunities along the way, so if you see something you like, just pull off on the shoulder of the road. The trees you see along the road are called Dwarf Cypress, but they are the same as the tall Cypress located in the distance. The Dwarf Cypress just happen to be in a drier area with less nutrients, whereas the taller trees are sitting in a nutrient-rich depression that is wet year-round.

Dwarf Cypress

Dwarf Cypress

Tall stand of Cypress known as a Cypress dome

Tall stand of Cypress known as a Cypress dome

The trail is an elevated boardwalk the entire way. This keeps visitors out of the water during the wet season (June-October). At other times the prairie is largely dry or muddy.

Pa-Hay-Okee Trail boardwalk

Pa-Hay-Okee Trail boardwalk

Flower blooming along the Pa-hay-okee Trail in Everglades National Park

Flower blooming along the Pa-hay-okee Trail in Everglades National Park

The main draw of the Pa-hay-okee Trail is a covered overlook at the halfway point where you can view a sawgrass prairie. While that might not be the most scenic of vistas, it is what the Everglades is famous for. Three information panels at the overlook tell about the environment. Sawgrass, by the way, is not grass, but a sedge. A sedge has a thicker stem and can grow in harsh conditions.

View of the sawgrass prairie from the overlook

View of the sawgrass prairie from the overlook

Sawgrass prairie of the Everglades

Sawgrass prairie of the Everglades

While the Pa-hay-okee Trail is termed a “loop” trail, it is actually C-shaped and has two trailheads at different locations in the parking lot. I bring this up because one entrance has stairs and the other a wheelchair access ramp. The wheelchair ramp is slightly uphill at the start, so wheelchair-bound visitors may need a push. If you are in a wheelchair, you must return from the overlook the same way you came, for if you continue around the loop, you’ll find stairs awaiting you at the end. I have no idea what great engineering minds made the decision to put steps at one end and a ramp on the other, but that’s the way it is.

There is also a short boardwalk at a pullout along Main Park Road just before the Pa-hay-okee Trail. It has no name, but it does take you right into the heart a Dwarf Cypress forest.

Roadside boardwalk just east of the Pa-Hay-Okee Trail

Roadside boardwalk just east of the Pa-Hay-Okee Trail

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Last updated on February 21, 2021
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