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CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trail

There's something about a cypress swamp that makes Florida feel a whole lot cooler in every sense of the word. Whether your hiking, biking, or taking your dog for a walk, the cool air of the Bird Rookery Swamp provides an oasis in Florida's hot climate with a wide open window into the real Florida.

 

 As you move along the grassy sandy trails, you'll encounter a wide variety of wildlife including copious alligators, otters, red-shouldered hawks, bobcats, Florida panthers, white-tailed deer, swallow-tailed kites, and many songbirds and wading birds (all of which have been seen by myself or others that have shared their encounters with me).

The Bird Rookery Swamp Trails offer 12 miles of hiking and biking trails on historic logging tram roads, including an 1,800 foot boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility. Biking may be a challenge depending on the current length of the grass, but always proves to be well worth the extra effort to make the entire 12 mile loop. Even if you decide the hoof it on foot, a quick afternoon hike at the first stretch of the trail can provide just as rewarding of an experience. You may encounter the occasional large reptilian road block along the way, but depending on your level of comfort and confidence, you can always skirt around them or encourage them to let you pass. And remember, you always should always use caution and avoid any situations that may include unnecessary risk while disturbing these majestic creatures as little as possible. After all, you are in their domain.

So get out there and enjoy the unique experience of the Bird Rookery Swamp Trail which is adjacent to Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in northeast Naples. It is a unique experience in the area with ample opportunity for wildlife viewing. It may be one of the "coolest" places around.

A tip from the Ryans: The Bird Rookery swamp is home to one of the largest alligators that we have ever seen. At about 14 feet long and as wide as your dining room table, Hercules is the king of the swamp. It will take some effort to get to his home pond, but if you can make it out there, it will definitely be worth your while if you happen to catch a glimpse of this enormous beast. See the map to locate the home of the infamous HERCULES!

Directions to CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trails: From I-75, take exit 111 and turn east (away from Naples) on Immokalee Road (CR 846). Travel 11.4 miles and turn left onto Shady Hollow Boulevard. (One mile past the Oil Well Road stoplight – Shady Hollow is where Immokalee Road goes from 4-lane to 2-lane). Go to the end of Shady Hollow (approximately 1.5 miles). Parking lot is on the right.

CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trail

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