One of my favorite short day hikes is the Pine East Loop Trail in Hunters Creek, Florida. Surprisingly, the East Pine Loop Trail is part of the Everglades National Park and its right here in Orlando! Literally, tucked away behind the Hunters Creek Middle School Bus Loop is the Trail Head, a short board walk through the thick Florida brush. You can find the trail here.
For those of you with your own kayak or canoe, you can launch your boats at the trail head.
Just a short note – this entire trail is dog friendly as well! Be warned though, there will be many dogs and people on the narrow hike, if your pup has a fear of dogs and people you might want your pup to sit this one out.
Taking a left onto the first step down off the board walk will take you on a short, straight two mile hike (there and back). A narrow path is front of you, to the left there are high pine trees and oak and to the right is Shingle Creek! As you hike you will pass over several handmade wooden bridges that run over the creek along with a lot of exposed roots (watch your footing). This winding path leads you straight down underneath a highway. The path will continue under the bridge, but the path is covered in broken glass and ends abruptly. When you reach the highway underpass, just turn around and head back to the board walk. The trip is roughly two miles. If you are looking for a short day trip, it is perfectly fine to step off here or to continue to walk the many trails this park has to offer.
Back on the board walk, make a left and pass over Shingle Creek. At the end of the board walk there’s a step down to the right. Now with the creek on your left, follow this path for a half a mile until you reach a clearing for the power lines. Make a left here and follow the path for another mile straight. I have hiked this trail several times and each trip was breath taking. With marsh on both sides of the trail, you will see a plethora of wildlife, from red-winged black birds to white hereon to brown ibis. Make sure to pick up a cheap bird pamphlet if you have the time to stop and watch the wildlife!
Continuing on, to the right there is a small entrance to the official East Pine Loop. Just a few steps in is a covered pavilion, a perfect midday stop for lunch. After eating, my husband I normally head off on the loop trail. This short trail is approximately 4 miles round trip. For miles around, the trail is sounded by pine woods and eldom pine trees. Wait until the winter months in Florida before tempting this hike (unless sweating/burning/chafing/dying is your thing). In the pine wood flats you can see coopers hawk and the seldom bald eagle!
After this loop we normally head back out to our car, making a left when you exit the East Pine Loop and continuing down the power lines until reaching the last right. Parking can be kind of tight during the weekends at this park, so we make sure to get there early! Either for a short day hike or a longer half fay hike this park really has it all. Well covered so you won’t get burnt by the sun and even access to kayaking! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below! I would love to hear your adventures!