Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk

Collier County

bald eagle

27020 Tamiami Trail East

The swamps of the Fakahatchee Strand are foreboding places. Dark, mysterious, seemingly inhospitable and impenetrable. But the Great Cypress Bend Boardwalk makes tromping through the swamp as easy an evening’s stroll.

The Fakahatchee Strand has been called the Amazon of North America because of the rich diversity of plants and animals living within. There are plants found here that grow nowhere else on the planet; orchids, ferns, bromeliads. Royal palm trees are endangered in the wild, but they thrive here; rare old-growth cypress tower above the canopy; thick ground cover provides habitat for Florida panthers, black bears and alligators. A pair of nesting eagles keeps watch over the Fakahatchee during the cooler months; listen for the call of barred owls as evening approaches

The boardwalk is about a half-mile long, well-marked with interpretive signs; one will point you in the direction of the eagle’s nest. It terminates at an observation platform and sitting area at a gator hole seemingly miles from the outside world. The temptation is to just sit there and take in the peaceful surroundings but eventually, you do have to go back. But the return is part of the adventure; there are still secrets to uncover.

Big Cypress Bend is part of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and is open dawn to dusk through the year. The fee for entering the park is $3 per car but is enforced on an honor system. The bugs were tolerable when we visited in winter, but bring insect repellent and consider long sleeves and long pants in the warmer months.

Virtual Tour
great cypress bend scene
Loggers took out much of Fakahatchee's old-growth cypress trees decades ago, but a few can be found al Great Cypress Bend. Here, the boardwalk accomodates two centuries-old cypress tree.

fakahatchee scene
The understory is dense with wild coffee, myrsine and an assortment of ferns and small trees.

gator hole
This is the pond or gator holde at the end of the boardwalk. It's about as serene a place as can be imagined.

Getting There ...

Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk is on the north side of U.S. 42 aka Tamiami Trail. It can be accessed via I-75 by exiting at State Road 29 and heading south to U.S 42 and turning right. The site is well marked.
Photo Gallery for Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk

Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.

Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.