Everglades National Park: Visit to the Gumbo Limbo Trail
Recently, we had a chance to visit Everglades National Park. One place we got to visit was the Gumbo Limbo Trail. Beginning at the Royal Palm Visitor Center, just a short drive from the main entrance to the park, the Gumbo LImbo Trail is a short hike through a hammock of gumbo limbo trees.
The gumbo limbo tree is a common tree in the hardwood hammocks of Everglades National Park. The tree is sometimes known as a tourist tree, because its red bark peels from the trunk of the tree, like the peeling, sunburned skin of a tourist in southern Florida. With a long taproot, the gumbo limbo tree is well-suited to survival in hurricane-prone areas.
The hammock through which the Gumbo Limbo Trail winds is quiet and peaceful, giving you an opportunity to enjoy the nature around you. On the day we visited, we didn't see an alligator in the marked solution hole, although we were told
this is a good place to see them. We did see many small lizards and butterflies. There are also numerous informational signs along the way, providing information on hardwoods hammocks and the natural world that thrives in this Everglades habitat.
The highlight of the trail was something unexpected: a tree snail. Tree snails are known for their beautiful spiral shells. During the 1800s, the snails were widely collected for those shells. In many places, particularly in the Florida Keys, they were completely wiped out by this collecting craze. We spotted one along the trail, and even though it was small, knowing its history, it was the highlight of our hike.
If you are visiting Everglades National Park and want an opportunity to stretch your legs, the Gumbo Limbo Trail is a good option. Although we visited Everglades National Park on a busy Saturday, we almost had the entire trail to ourselves. The trail is flat and easy. It's also a good chance to see a different sort of wildlife than you will see in much of the Everglades.
Want to learn more about Everglades National Park? Pick up a copy of 101 Travel Bits: Everglades National Park to get more information on not just the Gumbo Limbo Trail, but many other great stops for your next trip to the Everglades.