Let's Get Pack Ready for the Rookery Swamp Trail 12 Mile Hike

Come and Explore one of SW Florida's Natural Habitats Hiking! 

Trails/Facilities: Free – donations accepted, Open to public

Level:  Intermediate.  You must be good physical shape to do this for 12 miles which equates to about 4 hours of walking plus a lunch break.

Things to Bring:

Backpack or Water bladder pack

Picnic Lunch



Water (very important)

Binoculars (if you have some)

Bug repellent 

Walking stick (maybe)

An Adventurous Spirit!

The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail officially opened in July 2011. The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail offer 12 miles of biking and hiking trails which are basically cut grass, including an 1800-ft. boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility. A 1/4-mile crushed shell path leads to an 1800-foot boardwalk, then the trails become ground level, sandy/grassy relatively flat berms with swamp on both sides. The trails are actually old tram roads used when the area was logged many years ago.

The maple-cypress swamp is home to alligators, otters, Florida panthers, bobcats, white-tailed deer and more. There is one port-o-potty at the beginning of the boardwalk and several benches along the trail within the first 1.5 miles. Beyond that there are no structures.

Birders will delight in the abundance of songbirds that frequent the cypress trees along the boardwalk, as well as the many raptors and wading birds found along the trails. Barred owls are common and swallow-tailed kites frequent the area in summer.


 From Fort Myers/Naples: From I-75, take exit 111 and turn east (away from Naples) on Immokalee Road (CR 846). Travel 11.4 miles and turn left onto Shady Hollow Blvd. (One mile past the Oil Well Rd stoplight – Shady Hollow is where Immokalee Rd goes from 4-lane to 2-lane). Go to the end of Shady Hollow (approx 1.5 miles). Parking lot is on the right.

From Immokalee: Travel west (toward Naples) on CR 846 (Immokalee Road) for approx. 16.5 miles. Turn right on Shady Hollow Blvd. Travel 1.5 miles north to parking area/gate.

All hikers hike at their own risk by signing up for this meetup you agree to the following:

Attendees understand that during their participation in any Events they may be exposed to a variety of hazards and risks, foreseen or unforeseen, which are inherent in each Event and cannot be eliminated without destroying the unique character of the Event. These inherent risks include, but are not limited to, property loss or damage, getting personally lost, trapped or separated from the group, and the dangers of serious personal injury and death (“Injuries and Damages”) from exposure to the hazards of our activities. Attendees know that Injuries and Damages can occur by natural causes, equipment failure or activities of other persons, animals, insects, plants, our surroundings, group members, Event leaders, organizers and assistants or third parties, either as a result of negligence or because of other reasons. 

Attendees understand that risks of such Injuries and Damages are involved in outdoor activity such as our meetup Events and appreciate that they may have to exercise extra care for their own person and for others around them in the face of such hazards. They further understand that on any Event there may not be rescue or medical facilities or expertise necessary to deal with the Injuries and Damages to which they may be exposed. 

Therefore in consideration for participating in Events, to the fullest extent allowed by law, Attendees agree to WAIVE, DISCHARGE CLAIMS, AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY the organizers, leaders, volunteers and members of the group from any and all liability on account of, or in any way resulting from Injuries and Damages, even if caused by negligence, in any way connected with our Events. Attendees further agree to HOLD HARMLESS the organizers, leaders, volunteers and members of our group from any claims, damages, injuries or losses caused by their own negligence while a participant on the Event. Attendees understand and intend that this assumption of risk and release is binding upon their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, and includes any minors or pets accompanying them on the Events. All Attendees have read this document in its entirety and freely and voluntarily assume all risks of such Injuries and Damages and notwithstanding such risks, agree to participate in the Events they attend under these terms.

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  • Nancy

    Two days later and I am still too sore to go to the gym. WTH? I thought I was in great shape.

    March 11, 2014

  • Diane B.

    Thank you Marie, it was a great hike. Nice to meet all of you and thank you for your patience. When I got home I could hardly get out of the car, I took a hot bath and went straight to bed. lol

    March 10, 2014

  • Nancy

    awesome adventure! thanks Marie!

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • Debra

    The BIRD ROOKERY SWAMP is maintained better than ever. We should have know it was going to be a perfect day when we were greeted by a Rosebill and a deer walking down the trail The day could not have been any more perfect. Very fun and challenging if you call tip toeing or running around the nose of a momma alligator laying on the trail, challenging. I do

    March 9, 2014

    • Marie

      Don't forget the barred owl and running not just tip toeing past a gator, LOL.

      March 10, 2014

  • Susan P.

    Thanks so much Marie. I truly enjoyed our hike and meeting all of you. What an adventure! My feet were not happy but I sure was.

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • Louis

    Hidden gem.... I am going back soon

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • Marie

    Full day with a great group of people! Thanks everyone for your positive attitudes and enjoyment of the area and sites. I'm sure everyone enjoyed their rest when they got home too though, LOL.

    March 9, 2014

  • Rodger

    Thanks Marie!
    A very nice group of hikers today.

    1 · March 9, 2014

    • Marie

      It was a great group and all troopers!!!

      March 9, 2014

  • Marilyn

    Marie, Thank you so much for organizing this hike through a undiscovered jewel! Thanks to the hikers for a terrific morning hike and conversation. I look fwd to walking that trail again.

    1 · March 9, 2014

    • Marie

      Thanks Marilyn, glad you enjoyed it.

      March 9, 2014

  • Louis

    If anyone wants to car pool from my place....I live north of golden gate pkway off Airport Pulling

    March 8, 2014

  • Marie

    We will have a 3 mile out turn around point for anyone that doesn't feel up to the full 12 miles at that point. The trail is a loop so there is no shortcut back.

    March 5, 2014

  • Diane B.

    I am so looking forward to this!

    February 21, 2014

  • Sheri

    dang!! I have softball this day! I'll make a Rookery trip one of these days! Sorry to have to miss it!

    February 21, 2014

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