Everglades National Park | SNAKE BIGHT TRAIL

Snake Bight Trail Map

Snake Bight Trail Map

See the Hiking web page for an interactive location map.

NOTE: While the National Park Service no longer maintains the Snake Bight Trail due to the presence of Cape Sable Thoroughwort, an endangered plant species, it is quite wide and thus manages to avoid becoming overgrown. As one of the few navigable trails left in the Everglades, it is quite popular.


Length: 1.9 miles, one way
Time: 20 minutes by bike, 1 hour on foot
Difficulty: Easy

The Snake Bight Trail in Everglades National Park is a 1.9-mile out-and-back trail that leads to Snake Bight. A bight is not a “bite,” but a small curvature in a geologic feature. In this case the curvature is to the shoreline, and the result is a small, shallow bay called Snake Bight. The trail is as straight as an arrow and runs between Main Park Road and a boardwalk that overlooks the water. It is open to both hikers and bikers (off-road bikes required, as road bikes won’t make it). Park along Main Park Road to access the trailhead. I road my bike to save time.

Snake Bight Trail parking area on Main Park Road

Snake Bight Trail parking area on Main Park Road

No matter what time of year, mosquitoes flourish in the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park. Here on the Snake Bight Trail they are thick even in late February, which I assume makes the trail unbearable during the summer months. I advise long pants, long sleeve jacket (jean jacket will do), hat with mosquito net, and thin gloves. You can apply all the insect repellent you want, but it is not going to keep the mosquitoes off of you. Clothing is the only real protection. You may be sweating and look like a goof in a Hazmat suit, but you will never pass another hiker on this trail who doesn’t comment on how he wished he had the same get-up.

Snake Bight Trail starts off as an old road. The terrain is wide and pleasurable to travel on, so I doubt the lack of maintenance by the National Park Service will have much affect on this section. The road was elevated out of the water by digging earth from either side of the road bed and piling it in the middle to form the road. The “borrow ditches,” so called because the dirt was “borrowed,” are located along the side of the road. These tend to fill with water, making them favorites of alligators during the dry season. However, this is not Shark Valley or Royal Palm where the animals are so used to people that they won’t budge unless you jump on them. Alligators along the less traveled trails tend to take off as soon as they hear anything coming, so you are more likely to hear large splashes as they jump into the water than actually see one.

Typical terrain on the road segment of the Snake Bight Trail

Typical terrain on the road segment of the Snake Bight Trail

Borrow pit

Borrow pit

About .4 mile from the end, Snake Bight intersects with the Rowdy Bend Trail. For those who don’t want to see the same things twice on an out-and-back hike, you can form an 8-mile loop using the two trails and the park road. This is what I did back in 2015, but from what a park Ranger told me in January 2021, the Rowdy Bend Trail is now too overgrown to navigate pleasurably. It was pretty overgrown back in 2015, so I believe it. Keep in mind that if you do the loop, you have a 2.75-mile hike or bike ride back to your vehicle along Main Park Road. I’m no fan of riding on a road, but I certainly didn’t want to retrace my steps along these two trails, so there’s not much choice. Though there is no shoulder on the road, the closer you get to Flamingo, the less traffic, and the cars seem to be going much slower than they are up near Royal Palm. See the Rowdy Bend Trail review page for more information.

Starting at the Rowdy Bend Trail intersection, the Snake Bight Trail narrows. If any section of the trail were to become overgrown due to a lack of maintenance, this would be it. However, as of January 2021, plenty of people are hiking the trail, and traffic tends to keep the path open.

Typical terrain south of the Rowdy Bend Trail intersection

Typical terrain south of the Rowdy Bend Trail intersection

At the end of the Snake Bight Trail is a boardwalk that leads to an overlook of Snake Bight. You cannot ride your bike on the boardwalk, so park and walk the rest of the way. Snake Bight is a good place to see shore birds. The area is affected by tides, and at low tide a lot of mud is left in the bight and the birds wade through the muck in search of fish, crabs, snails, and other tasty snacks.

End of the Snake Bight Trail

End of the Snake Bight Trail

Boardwalk to the overlook of Snake Bight

Boardwalk to the overlook of Snake Bight

Snake Bight area at low tide

Snake Bight area at low tide

Snake Bight area at low tide

Snake Bight area at low tide

Once done, head back the way you came. It’s nearly a 4-mile round trip, and in truth, if you’re hiking, it isn’t worth the time. That’s nearly two hours to walk down a road all for a look at Snake Bight. If you have a bike, that’s another story, as you can complete the trip in less than an hour. I suggest doing the Snake Bight Trail only if you have a bike, or simply want 4 miles’ worth of exercise on foot. 

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Last updated on February 25, 2021
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