BIG CYPRESS NATIONAL PRESERVE
The Big Cypress National Preserve was set aside in 1974 to ensure
the preservation, conservation, and protection of the natural
scenic, floral and faunal, and recreational values of the Big
Cypress Watershed. The importance of this watershed to the
Everglades National Park was a major consideration for its
establishment. The name Big Cypress does not refer to the size
of the trees, but to the vast amount of cypress which cover about
one-third of the 728,000 acre preserve.
- Highest from Christmas through Easter.
- Ochopee, Florida
- Big Cypress National Preserve
HCR61, Box 110
Ochopee, Fl. 33943
- (941) 695-4111
- OPERATING HOURS, SEASONS:
- Daily, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year round.
- CLIMATE, RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:
- The climate is sub-tropical, with mild winters and hot, wet
summers. Light weight clothing for hot temperatures is
suggested. Long sleeves, pants, sturdy shoes, and bug repellant
- The visitor center is located on Tamiami Trail (U.S.41)
approximately half-way between Naples and Miami.
- To Preserve: I-75, state road 29, and U.S. 41 all travel
through the preserve. Miami International Airport services the
area from the east coast, Ft. Myers International Airport from
the west coast, and several private tour bus lines.
- In Preserve: Personal vehicles. Privately owned off road
vehicles can be used to access certain areas of the preserve
after purchasing an O.R.V. permit. Bicycles and horses are
allowed in designated areas.
- FEES, COSTS, RATES:
- No entrance fee. A yearly fee of $50.00 is charged for
O.R.V. permit obtained at the visitor center. Most camping is
free except a $4.00 fee at the Dona Drive campground.
- FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
- Visitor Center/Exhibits:
The visitor center offers a 15-minute movie about the preserve, a
wildlife exhibit and book sales. Two roadside picnic areas are
located along the Tamiami Trail.
- Trails, Roads:
- The preserve includes 31 miles of the Florida Trail which can
be very wet in the rainy season. The Tree Snail Hammock Nature
Trail is a short, self-guided trail located on Loop Road. Two
scenic drives through the preserve provide leisurely wildlife
viewing. The Loop Road is a 26-mile, single-lane, unimproved
road beginning and ending on highway 41. Turner River Road and
Birdon Road form a u-shaped, 17-mile graded-dirt drive. In the
Bear Island area, swamp buggies, A.T.V.s and four-wheel drive
vehicles with a permit are restricted to the designated improved
trails. Bicycles are allowed on some of the improved trails in
Bear Island and on all roads.
- During the winter season the preserve offers scheduled
ranger-led wet walks, presentations in the visitor center and
campfire programs at the campgrounds. In the summer season,
environmental education programs are given to various summer
schools and library groups in the Collier County area.
- Lodging and camping facilities:
- Eight primitive campgrounds are available to the public,
seven of which are free of charge: Bear Island, Midway, Burns
Lake, Monument, Loop Road, Pinecrest, and Mitchell's Landing.
These campgrounds have no water or rest room facilities. The
Dona Drive Campground has a $4.00 per night camping fee, a dump
station with a $4.00 per vehicle charge, and a portable water
supply. Several small motels, and private campgrounds can be
found around the Everglades City area.
- Restaurants and convenience stores are located in nearby
- Other Concessions/NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and
Book sales in the visitor center are managed by the Florida
National Parks and Monument Association.
- The visitor center is wheelchair accessible.
- RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES/PARK USE:
- Film at Visitor Center; birding and wildlife viewing on
scenic drives; picnicking; O.R.V. use.
For information on archeology, visit SEAC
- O.R.V. permits.
- BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Allow at least two hours to drive the Loop Road, an hour for
the Turner River - Birdon Road loop, and one-half hour for the
visitor center. Traveling time from one side of the preserve to
the other on U.S. 41 is about an hour.
- VISITOR IMPACTS:
- Information on closing of areas to O.R.V.s, hunting, and road
conditions is provided at the visitor center.
- ADJACENT VISITOR ATTRACTIONS:
- Everglades National Park has two entrances near the preserve.
The Shark Valley entrance offers a visitor center and a two hour
tram tour through the everglades interior run by a private
concession. At the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, an hour and a half
boat tour of the 10,000 Islands and canoe rentals are available
through the private concession. Both offer ranger-led activities
during the winter season. A half mile boardwalk through a
cypress strand and a scenic drive are located in the Fakahatchee
Strand State Preserve which shares the western border of the Big
Cypress. Collier Seminole State Park is 40 miles west on U.S. 41
and offers canoeing, camping, hiking and a boat tour.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
- Call (941) 695-4111