Everglades National Park Plunge into emerald back country on the Hells Bay Canoe Trail–navigation skills not required.
Planning a backcountry trip in Everglades National Park can seem a bit like ordering surf and turf: more than many people can comfortably handle. But this 12-mile round trip to Hells Bay Chickee winds through tiny streams and ponds, making it a fine way to dip your toe into Everglades navigation while hewing to a well-marked route. Start the trip from the signed Hells Bay trailhead off the main park road, 9 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center. Numbered PVC posts mark the route, allowing you to enjoy the setting rather than obsessing over your map and compass. Bunk at Lard Can campsite (3 miles) or Hells Bay Chickee. If you’re still hankering for some adventure, continue past Hells Bay and the route-finding is all on you: The endless lakelets and freshwater creeks to the northwest aren’t on marine charts, so aerial photos–try www.terraserver.com–are your best bet for any ad-vanced exploration (GPS wouldn’t hurt, either).
Get There The main park entrance is 40 miles south of downtown Miami in Homestead; from there, the Flamingo Visitor Center is 38 miles to the southwest.
Get Info Everglades National Park, (239) 695-2945; www.nps.gov/ever