Thursday, April 18, 2013

Big Cypress National Preserve - Loop Road Scenic Drive - Florida

After getting the rig parked and setup at Midway campground, we decided to drive the Loop Road Scenic Drive. This is a 24 mile scenic drive through remote areas of the Big Cypress NationalPreserve. The road is gravel but it’s in good shape for all vehicle types. However, Brad did just wash the truck the day prior.......and is still lamenting about his now less-than-clean tires. :-)

The first several miles of the loop take you past sawgrass prairies. These areas look like large tall grassy fields. These areas are at a higher elevation (just a few inches) thus flood for shorter amounts of time during the year, thus these prairies cannot not sustain Cypress trees.  

The loop continues through dense forest following several Cypress Strands.
Strands are lower areas where water collects in the dry season (now) supporting the development of large Cypress trees. In the deeper pools we saw numerous alligators, amazing birds and turtles from just a few feet away. It was fun to actually see alligators in the “wild”. Brad was ready to jump in the back of the truck if this guy decided he had enough sunbathing.

Continuing on the loop, there was more water and according to our guide (we were given a brochure of the drive), there are also river otters in the area; we looked hard but had no luck. A little farther and we came to the town of Pinecrest.  Okay, the word "town" is a very generous word for this place. It was one broken down building, a mobile home and a rusty car from the 1940s. The guide said Al Capone once had a home, hotel and brothel here. Really, it’s hard to believe. At this point we hit the paved road and the back roads drive was really done.This loop drive was definitely interesting and worth the time.

Here's a cool alligator pic~

And a couple cool bird photos~
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

1 comment:

jcw3rd said...

Be sure to drive over to the visitor's center and walk out on their observation platform. You should see dozens of large gators, tons of fish (the water is very clear) and evidence of 'walking catfish'. They are what are making the surface of the water bubble in specific spots. The gators love to lunge at these guys for a quick meal. We caught a great video of one of them doing just that.

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