Pinelands Trail Hike Everglades National Park Nature Trails


Pinelands Trail
Everglades National Park

 

 

 

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Pinelands Trail

The trailhead: This trail begins just 6 miles from the visitor center on the road to Flamingo. The marked parking area is on the right.

What you'll see:

This half-mile trail loops through a forest of slash pines (also called Caribbean or Dade County pine). These slash pines are the only pine species that grow in the Glades.

These trees are able to grow here by setting their roots on a key, a Florida term for both hammocks and pinelands where the limestone rock rises above the surrounding wetlands.

The pinelands have some of the highest and driest elevation in the park: 3-7 feet above sea level.

Slash pines also require little soil. In many places, the pines are rooted in the potholes that pock the limestone bedrock. Not much space for most trees, but these hollows also hold a rich combination of peat and marl.

Pinelands gradually evolve into a hardwood hammock if the area is not periodically burned. Young pine seedlings require plenty of sun to grow, and an unchecked understory of hardwoods will shade them out.

Controlled burning
, which culls the young hardwoods, leaves the pines sooty but undamaged. The Park Service has used fire since the 1950s to sustain the pinelands.

The Indians practiced the first fire management. They burned the pinelands to ensure that hardwoods did not replace the saw palmetto, which was important in their diet. Its starchy roots provided their source of flour.

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