Exploring the Colorado Rockies

Naturalist Guided Hiking Trip: Exploring the Florida Everglades

February 12 – 18, 2012

Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and is made up of 1.5 million acres. Established in 1947, it is designated a Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. The Florida Everglades is one of the most complex and most fragile natural systems in the United States, consisting of nine distinct ecosystems. At its heart is the well-known "river of grass," a slowly flowing freshwater river that is both shallow and immense, which merges into wide tidal rivers and then mixes with salt water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Bay. It is here that the world's greatest mangrove forest thrives. In addition there is cypress swamp, freshwater marl prairie, hardwood hammocks, pinelands, and freshwater sloughs. This diversity of ecosystems combines to create some of the greatest biodiversity found in any one area. In Everglades National Park there are over 360 species of birds, over 1,000 species of plants, over 40 species of mammals, and over 50 species of reptiles.

We will be exploring the Everglades during the dry season. Dry conditions and lower temperatures bring about significant changes in the Everglades landscape. As water levels drop during the dry season, large numbers of animals congregate around remnant water holes, making wildlife viewing an easy endeavor. Birding is exceptional too, as many species winter in the relative warmth of the South Florida wilds. Owing to both an abundance of wildlife and comfortable conditions, the dry season is the time of highest visitation in the Everglades. Though we can expect to encounter other folks enjoying the beauty of the Everglades, we will have opportunities for more solitude as well.

February in the Everglades

February is the perfect time to enjoy the Florida Everglades. Though this is a busy time of the year in Everglades National Park, it is the most wonderful time to explore this unique ecosystem. With its abundance of birds and other wildlife as well as the variety of interesting wildflowers and other subtropical plant life, we are all in for a special treat. This is the time of the year when many of the water birds (waders and others) are nesting. More troublesome insects, such as mosquitoes and biting flies, become virtually non-existent in most areas of the park. However, there will likely be a few areas where we will see (and feel) a good number of mosquitoes, so bring a head net, just in case!

Exploring the Florida Everglades

Trip Length: 7 days, 6 nights

Trip Dates: February 12 – 18 (Saturday to Sunday), 2012

Trip Cost: $2545 Single Supplement $425 (limited)

Trip Highlights and Activities:

Birding; wildlife watching; kayaking or canoeing; botanizing; photography; exceptional scenery; exploring the unique Everglades ecosystem via hiking, paddling, and cycling; scenic boat tour; opportunity to view endangered species

Group Size: 5 (min) – 8 (max) participants

WeatherThe Everglades are mild and pleasant from December through April, with low humidity and clear skies. Temperatures reach average highs of 77°F and lows of 53°F. Though strong cold fronts may occasionally create near freezing conditions, such events are rare in this subtropical climate. For more detailed weather information visitwww.weather.com.For your information, here are some monthly average temperatures and precipitation amounts:



Trip Rating moderate to challenging

Naturalist Guide, Colorado Rockies, Day Hikes, Wildlife Viewing, Wildflowers, Birdwatching, Waterfalls, Lakes, The Best Hiking Trails, Spectacular Scenery!