Southwest Florida is a great place for hiking. Since spring has arrived, you may need to ease in to your outdoor nature walks. With that being said, we've put together a short list of simple hikes in the Bonita Springs & Estero area for you to check out.
Black Island Trail
Black Island Trail. Photo courtesy of Becka G. on Alltrails.com.
Black Island Trail is a 2.7-mile loop trail located near Bonita Springs. The traffic on the trail is moderate and it features a river. It is primarily used for hiking, birding, and road biking, and it can be used all year long. Dogs are also able to use this trail, but must be kept on leash. The trail is within Lovers Key State Park
. Entrance fee is $8 per vehicle and $2 per pedestrian.
Visitors have noted the trail for its wildlife, including sightings of alligators, manatees, gopher tortoise, and a variety of species of birds.
Imperial River Loop Trail
Imperial River Loop Trail. Photo courtesy of Jacob Hyre on Alltrails.com.
Imperial River Loop Trail is a 1.2-mile loop trail located near Bonita Springs. This lightly trafficked trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and fishing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail, but must be kept on leash.
Visitors have noted that the traffic on I-75 can be distracting, but overall is a nice, easy hike. As the trail is around the Imperial River, visitors generally enjoy kayaking, as well. It sits near the private Imperial River Preserve, a 38.95-acre forest, also bordered by Little Hickory Bay.
Delnor-Wiggins Boardwalk Trail
Delnor-Wiggins Boardwalk Trail. Photo courtesy of Pauline Pauline Thibeault on Alltrails.com.
Delnor-Wiggins Boardwalk Trail is a 0.7-mile, out-and-back trail located near Naples. Traffic is moderate at this hiking spot, which offers scenic views. The trail is accessible all year long. Dogs are also able to use this trail, but must be kept on leash.
Visitors praise the scenic beauty and general cleanliness of the trail. The trail sits at the northernmost end of Naples along the shores of Delnor-Wiggins State Park. Trail dwellers can also visit the beach and go shelling and watch birds. There is an observation tower rising over the mangroves, which sits at the far end of the farthest parking area.
CREW Cypress Dome Trails
Photo courtesy of CREW Land & Water Trust.
According to its website, the CREW
Trails are perfect places to visit year round.
"Each season brings dramatic changes to the plants and animals due to variations in water levels," the website says. "Come see baby alligators and pine lilies blooming during the fall, hawks and flycatchers nesting in the spring, the graceful swallow-tailed kites in summer and the dramatic red maples in winter."
The CREW Land & Water Trust
provides guided walks for the public, environmental education programs for all ages, special events for members, teacher workshops, presentations to community groups and more.
Estero Bay Preserve State Park has two trail systems. The Estero River Scrub has four marked trails with a combined length of about 10 miles, according to the Florida State Parks' official website.
"These trails meander through pine flatwoods, tidal salt flats and lead to the Estero River," the website
says. The trails here are seasonally wet. Visitors typically frequent this trail between October through May when the trails are at their driest.
The Winkler Point trails have three loops totaling six miles.
"Here the trails take you through wet flatwoods, salt marshes and mangroves," the website continues. "There are two observation decks overlooking tidal ponds and are a good place to view waterfowl and wading birds."
This area is very seasonally wet and, according to the website, the trails are difficult to maintain due to the hydrology of the site with trails completely submerged most of the year. Visitors typically frequent this trail January through May when the trails are at their driest.
The Preserve also has a diverse array of wildlife. People usually like to observe migratory bird species that stop over or winter in south Florida.