A self-guided trail that showcases a hardwood hammock ecosystem, the Gumbo Limbo Trail is accessible from the Royal Palm Visitor Center. At approximately .4 miles (.64 km), the Gumbo Limbo Trail is a short stroll, but grants a glimpse into a very distinct eco system of the Everglades.
Illustrating how a few inches of elevation can create a whole new world, the Gumbo Limbo Trail wanders through a hardwood hammock ecosystem, notably different from the saw grass prairie that can be seen on the neighboring Anhinga Trail. While the saw grass prairie disappears underwater each year, the hardwood hammock is a tree island in a sea of grass, allowing tropical flora to flourish, including palms, strangler figs and the trail’s namesake, the Gumbo Limbo tree. Also called the Tourist Tree (the red, flaky bark can resemble a tourist’s sunburn), the Gumbo Limbo has been utilized for centuries: the resin can be used as glue or as a water repellent coating and the wood has been carved into merry-go-round horses or as construction material.
Through walking the trail won’t take much more than an hour, it’s an excellent way to experience a distinct part of the Everglades.