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On our January 2020 trip to Big Cypress we hiked the swampy part of the Fire Prairie Trail. Then this year, 2021, we hiked a little further out into the prairie part of it, still on the trail though.
I still haven’t hiked the entire Fire Prairie Trail, but I really enjoyed the part we saw and it seems like the section I haven’t hiked looks pretty similar to what I did, so I’m not super worried that I haven’t done it all yet.
We go there enough, so I’m not worried I won’t see it. The first little pit of the trail. about 3/4 of a mile is swampy then the rest is open prairie. There isn’t much wildlife in the swampy part but it is good for admiring plants.
On that first part though, we did see a raccoon on the side of the trail running into the swamp, which, let me tell you, I would not want to be a raccoon in the swamp.
We also saw some Florida panther tracks which is always exciting. If you’ve been here before, you probably know I’m terrified of mountain lions even though I know I don’t really need to be because the chances of anything happening is so rare.
But I’m not afraid of Florida panthers. Which doesn’t make sense because they’re literally the same animal, though a little smaller, just with a different name. I’m sure I would be terrified to see one in person on a trail, but it would be so cool!
Unfortunately, I still haven’t seen one, just their tracks a few times. I also think it’s really funny that there is just a random outhouse along the trail.
We hiked a little ways along the prairie section just to the first cypress strand on the right side of the trail. There was a little palm on the opposite side of the trail we hung out under for some shade while we waited for the light to improve.
While we sat there, a man and his son came down the trail and we talked to them for a while. Turns out they were from Gainesville, or at least lived there for a while!
It’s crazy how much you run into people from the same place, whether it’s Florida or Wisconsin. After hanging out for a while, chatting for a bit, and getting some pictures, we headed back out.
While this isn’t my favorite trail in the area, I do like it and would recommend it if you like Florida prairie scenery and want an easy hike of moderate length. It may not be the most remarkable hike in Florida, but it’s enjoyable and easy.
Where is the Fire Prairie trailhead?
The Fire Prairie Trail is 40 minutes from Everglades City down dirt roads. They are easy dirt roads though and unless it’s been super, super rainy, your car can probably make it. It’s a super easy drive and you’re kind of driving through what you’ll be hiking through.
How long is the Fire Prairie trail?
The whole thing is 4.5 miles round-trip, the first 3/4 of a mile is swampy and the rest is just prairie. There are only 15 feet of elevation gain so it’s pretty easy.
Once you’re out of the swampy part, there’s pretty much no shade so the hardest part is just all the sun, which gets hot. So while it’s not the shortest trail in the area, it is super easy.
How long do you need for the Fire Prairie hike?
One hour for the hiking should be plenty if you just do the beginning, maybe 2 if you do the whole hike. Including drive time to the trailhead from Everglades City, it’ll probably be about 3 hours if you just do part of the hike, maybe 4 if you do the whole thing.
What to bring on the Fire Prairie hike
Good hiking shoes – If you’re sticking to boardwalks and other dry trails, Chacos will be good. If you want to go in the water or flooded areas, you’ll want closed toe shoes so you don’t get cut by sawgrass. Chaco Odysseys with socks are my favorite for hiking in Florida.
Is the Fire Prairie hike worth it?
I think so! Like a lot of the hikes in the area, it’s not the most exciting scenery, mostly prairies, but even just the beginning section through the woods and to the first strand of cypress trees right next to the trail is worth it.
The first 3/4 of a mile are swampy then it opens up into prairie. There isn’t tons of wildlife along here, we did see a raccoon and Florida panther tracks though. It’s more of a scenery hike which is pretty simple and pretty consistent in this area, but I liked it.
Have you hiked Fire Prairie trail in Florida? What did you think of it? Do you want to hike it? What is your favorite hike near Everglades City?