Route: Big Cypress on the FT

Submitted by jpat on Mon, 03/13/2023 - 06:49pm
Florida, US
30 mi
Vertical Gain
8 ft

The traverse of Big Cypress National Preserve offers the most grueling flat miles you'll ever experience. The trail is often entirely submerged, mosquitos guard the few patches of shade, the sun is relentless and the last 10 miles drag through sucking mud that will rip the shoes off your feet.


But it's also some of the most remote and beautiful wilderness in the continental United States. For all 30 miles of this adventure there are only two ways out, turn back or finish. You're crossing over 1,000 square miles of roadless and wild Florida. The trail weaves through pine strands, marl prairies, oak hammocks, cypress domes and an endless mudflat of dwarf cypress. The wildlife is unique from alligators to Florida Panthers to Roseate Spoonbills.


Founded in 1974 Big Cypress is the country's first "National Preserve." Part of the National Park system, the preserve was created through the collaboration of environmentalists, sportsman, Seminole and Miccosukee people. The coalition came together to stop a supersonic jetport from being completed in the swamp and protect the land while also preserving it for the traditional uses of the local people.


The trail starts at the Oasis Visitor Center on Tamiami Trail, look for the monument marking the southern terminus of the Florida Trail. The trail ends at the wildlife fence separating Big Cypress from the I75 corridor. Follow the orange blazed trail for the entire distance.


From Outside Magazine:

"Everyone told Tom Kennedy to expect flooded trails when he hiked through Big Cypress National Preserve in the spring of 2015. But as he sloshed through miles of waist-deep swamp water that hid alligators and aggressive snakes, the trail quickly got the better of him.


Right from the start, at the Oasis Visitor Center, in the middle of Florida’s southern tip, the trail disappeared into a sawgrass swamp, the wispy green stalks climbing above Kennedy’s head. He waded in and soon found himself struggling for every step through muck that was as thick as drying concrete and threatening to pull off his boots. With little dry land available, he made camp in a hammock."


More information can be found at the following links:



  • The trail is maintained once a year, in the late fall and early winter it can become overgrown and very difficult to follow.
  • In the summer high water, high heat and devastating mosquitos make the trail almost impassable.
  • There are no off-ramps once you start and it's common to see no one else while you're out there. Bring what you need to self-rescue or reach park rangers in case of emergency.



GPS Track