Bobcat Boardwalk Trail, Shark Valley Area, Everglades National Park, Florida

Bobcat Boardwalk Trail - 0.4 miles

Shark Valley Area

A gator along the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail. The trail winds through a 'bayhead', one of nine Everglades ecosystems<br> (GPS: N 25 45.345 W 80 45.988)

A gator along the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail. The trail winds through a 'bayhead', one of nine Everglades ecosystems
(GPS: N 25 45.345 W 80 45.988)

Round-Trip Length: 0.4 miles
Start-End Elevation: 7' - 7'
Elevation Change: Nominal Elevation Change
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Bobcat Boardwalk Trail - 0.4 Miles Round-Trip

The Bobcat Boardwalk Loop Trail is a brief .4 mile section of the 15.4 mile Shark Valley Loop Trail. The Bobcat Boardwalk is handicap accessible and ideal for families or those short on time.

Counter-clockwise route: Leaving from behind the Shark Valley concession area, the trail starts out on the main Shark Valley Loop Trail and very quickly meets the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail split. Turn left at the well marked sign to exit the Shark Valley Loop and hop on the Bobcat Boardwalk.

Once on the boardwalk, the trail leads across a bayhead. A bayhead is a small tree island which grows just above the saw grass prairie, but below the threshold necessary to support a hardwood hammock island. Plant species include holly, wax myrtle, coco plum, red bay and dahoon, to name a few.

Aside from their inhabitants, the main difference between a bayhead and a hardwood hammock lay within their root structure. While bayheads can tolerate their roots being underwater for long periods of time, the hardwood hammock islands have their roots above water year round.

Encircling the Bobcat Boardwalk bayhead is a vast ocean of saw grass. The edges of saw grass blades have rows of sharp teeth which discourage destructive animal foraging. The teeth also act as water capture mechanisms. Dew drops from morning fog will catch on the teeth and eventually fall down the v-shaped blade to the roots below. Saw grass, which is technically a sedge species, is the most abundant plant of the open Everglades.

For those with more time and / or physical wherewithal, try the 15.4 mile Shark Valley Loop Trail. This trail can be hiked or biked (bikes available for rent on site). A motorized 2-hour narrated tram tour is also avaliable. See related trails above for more information.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N 25 45.385 W 80 45.994 — Shark Valley Loop Trailhead
  • N 25 45.345 W 80 45.988 — Bobcat Boardwalk Split - Start boardwalk
  • N 25 45.403 W 80 45.855 — End of Bobcat Boardwalk- short walk to lot

Worth Noting

  • Entrance fee to the Shark Valley area is $10.00. This fee is also good for the entire park at any entrance for 7 days. Operating hours at Shark Valley are generally from 8:30am - 6:00pm, 365 days a year. Always call the Shark Valley visitor's center for current information and potential closures. All vehicles must be out of the Shark Valley parking lot by 6:00pm.

  • There are 3 ways to enjoy the 15.4 mile Shark Valley loop trail. You can hike the trail, bike the trail or take a 2-hour interpretive motorized tram ride. The tram ride is narrated by a concession naturalist or Park Ranger and is recommended for people with less mobility or for those simply wanting the easiest way around the loop.

  • Tram Schedule: during peak season from December through April, reservations are recommended for the tram ride. Tram schedule is as follows for December through April: Every hour on the hour from 9am through 4pm. From May through November, tram rides are available at 9:30am, 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm.

  • Ranger-led activities are led on a seasonal basis. Contact the park prior to your visit for upcoming events.

  • Bikers should allow 2-3 hours to complete the loop. Bikes can be rented at the Shark Valley Visitor's Center or can be brought by visitors. Bikes must be returned by 4:00pm.

  • Hikers should allow 6 - 7 hours to complete the loop.

  • The Shark Vally Loop Trail is a concrete path / road which is entirely exposed. Be prepared for heat, rain and potential thunderstorms.

  • At the half-way mark, there is a 50' tall observation tower with restrooms and a water fountain.

Camping and Backpacking Information

There is no camping or backpacking within the Shark Valley area. Day use only.

Fishing Information

Due to the heavy concentration of wildlife as well as tram / human activity, there is no fishing allowed at Shark Valley.

Rules and Regulations

  • There are no bikes allowed on the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail. Hikers only.

  • Keep at least 15' from all wildlife. Disturbing wildlife is illegal and violators wil be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

  • The Bobcat Boardwalk Trail shares part of the larger Shark Valley Loop Trail. Hikers must come to a complete stop for the Motorized Tram which runs on the Shark Valley Loop portion of the trail.

  • Littering is illegal and violators will be subject to heavy fines

  • Roller blades, scooters and other similar devices are not allowed within the park

  • Due to noise pollution and its adverse affect on Shark Valley wildlife, generators of any kind must be turned OFF at all times at the Shark Valley parking area

Directions to Trailhead

Shark Valley Visitor Center is located on Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) 25 miles west of the Florida Turnpike from exit 25 (S.W. 8th Street).

From the Naples area, take U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) approximately 70 miles east to Shark Valley.

Contact Information

Everglades National Park
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034-6733

By Phone
Visitor Information

By Fax

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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