Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park: Ten Thousand Islands

Explore liquid horizons, crushed-shell beaches, and islands hedged with thick mangroves on this three-day tour in the Gulf of Mexico.

This 28-mile, counterclockwise loop threads through Gulf of Mexico islands along the park’s northwest corner in what may be the world’s osprey capital. The feel is decidedly oceanic, with big tides and excellent fishing for sea trout, tarpon, jack, and snook. There are long crossings of bays and channels exposed to wind and waves, but most of the route is sheltered. Mazelike channels and endless green shorelines make navigation challenging, but shallow gaps through peninsulas and between islets let you avoid powerboat traffic.
Start by paddling northwest across shallow Chokoloskee Bay, threading between mangrove peninsulas to find West Pass Channel, the gateway to fine beach camping on Tiger or Picnic Keys. Paddling southeast to Rabbit Key involves a stout push that hugs the outer isles to minimize wind exposure, yet often requires paddling hard and long against crosswinds and quartering waves. Store all food and water securely against raccoons.
INFO: File trip itinerary and grab permits ($10/person plus $2/night) 24 hours in advance. (305) 242-7700; nps.gov/ever.
-Mapped by Steve Howe

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 45.0



Location: 25.845451, -81.387266

Launch boat at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. Head northwest toward Lane Cove


Location: 25.855917, -81.418358

Paddle through slot A


Location: 25.859349, -81.443861

Paddle through slot B


Location: 25.859488, -81.458977

East end of West Pass Channel; head SSW through the channel


Location: 25.827929, -81.491432

Fine campsite on Tiger Key


Location: 25.800239, -81.438244

Jack Daniels Key


Location: 25.750686, -81.380078

Rabbit Key


Location: 25.78173, -81.363695

From Rabbit Key Pass, swing NW at this point


Location: 25.787731, -81.364861

Continue NE


Location: 25.790309, -81.363362

Stay NNE


Location: 25.794656, -81.361592

Back into open water


Location: 25.818697, -81.359575

Alternate takeout. Hug shoreline back to Gulf Coast Visitor Center