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“No reason to skip this!”

CREW Land & Water Trust - Bird Rookery Swamp Trails
Ranked #19 of 124 things to do in Naples
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail officially opened in July 2011. The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail offer 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, 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. Biking can be a challenge on the grassy/sandy trails, but quite rewarding. 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.
St Peter Port, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“No reason to skip this!”
Reviewed 30 April 2014

I went with my wife and four years old daugther at a tuesday at 98F so we abandoned our private trip as my wife got scared of the alligators and my little girl got tired. Once back on the parking lot we met Mako(very nice guy) and told us about a tour scheduled on wednesdays at 0900am. I decided to join that trip the next day right away.

The tour was lead by George and Bob. Just like Make, very nice guy's and willing to explain everything and the answered a lot of questions.

About the wildlife; we didnt see everything possible, but we had a fair trip. We spotted the 8.5 feet female Alligator(though not on the trail/road). We saw Woodpeckers, lots of brown anole's, red-shouldered Hawks and a few more. However when the water is higher, we wouild have seen more I understood.

Best thing we saw was a Turtle. George called it the Alligator Turtle since it had a tail like a turtle. It was on the trail. Even Gearge and Bob had never seen one in the fout years the worked there.

So, no alligator on the trail, not loads of birds or snakes. But the special turtle made the day!

I can do nothing but recommend a visit here. If you feel more comfortable then by going on your own, join the tour on a wednesday at 0900pm. I heard there is a webside where one can subscribe, but if you join at the right time, you can join most of the time.

The tour is about 2.5 hours long. Starting in November and the last is normally end of April. George told that from may - august they run a pilot tour every fourth saturday of the month to check if anyone is interested.

The title says it al, there is just no reason not to go there. Even on a "medium" day, its worth it. But above all: its free. So the only thing you would lose is some time!

Visited April 2014
2 Thank Karnyvekz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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167 reviews from our community

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Lansing, Michigan
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Gators on the trail!”
Reviewed 12 April 2014

My family decided to travel from Ft. Myers Beach to Naples in search of Bird Rookery Swamp and we were so glad we did! This is a true nature preserve with little man made features. There is a 0.25 mile boardwalk to get into the preserve and once in, you are surrounded by Floridian nature! The highlight of our walk was an 8.5 foot alligator lying across the path! The gentlemen at the mouth of the preserve told us the gator would be harmless and how to bypass her without agitating the gator. My son was so excited to see this gator, and several others of notable lengths, just lying around without fences. We wished we had planned more appropriately for the entire hike but we only completed the 2.5 mile trip.

Visited April 2014
3 Thank MelissaKramer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, MA
Level 5 Contributor
25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“watch out for alligators!”
Reviewed 31 March 2014

Funny thing...when we arrived, several folks had just completed a guided walk to find turkey vultures had destroyed the rubber and plastic stripping on their windshields and tops of their car (one man had his jeep attacked) while they were out having a glorious time. The ranger said this had been happening for a while, and the vultures were showing the same behavior in the Everglades. In the Everglades, people brought plastic bags to put over their windshield wipers, and tarps were provided. All this made my husband nervous because we had a rental car. So, he stayed behind. This sounds bad, but he had a fabulous time taking tons of pictures of the alligators and herons and egrets that made the area around the parking lot their home. I ventured out alone and probably had the biggest reward of my continuous search for trails in Southern Florida.

What a beautiful, quiet, isolated trail! Unlike Corkscrew, which we visited the previous day and loved, now you walk on the ground, on the same level as the wildlife. Honest-I almost stepped on an alligator not 2 feet off the trail! Satisfied that he was sound asleep, and fully conscious of the many "Leave the alligators alone" signs dotting the beginning of the trail, I took a few pictures and quietly went on my way. Because I was alone, there were only the sounds of the birds and rodents and mammals to delight my ears-some of which I could see, and some only hear in all the underbrush of the marsh. This marsh is teeming with animals. The same herons, egrets, hawks and other birds from the parking lot area of course also live in this rookery, and I was rewarded with their song and calls throughout. I only ventured a couple of miles in, not wanting to leave my husband for too long, but I would definitely return, armed with a tarp, to explore the further miles of this stunning location again. The path goes on for many many miles-maybe even 12-and I highly recommend you visit this extraordinary place. It differs from Six Mile Cypress Slough and Corkscrew, for example, because you have a path rather than a boardwalk-and it's much less populated by humans. It's unique from Lover's Key, because you are slightly more inland. So many choices!

One side note-as soon as we left the area and pulled into a parking lot to contemplate our next exploration, we were hit by a car trying to back into the space next to us. In that same rental car!

Visited March 2014
3 Thank chippie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cleveland, Ohio
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Highlight of our trip”
Reviewed 30 March 2014

Earlier in the week we went on an airboat ride and a kayak trip to see wildlife, neither of them came close to this free park. My 13 year old son is really into wildlife and this was a dream to him. We felt like we were in a rain forest while we were walking on the path. We were fortunate enough to have met some people coming out before we went into the park because when we got up to the big alligator just passed the boardwalk we probably would have turned to go back if they didn't tell us we would be ok just passing him. I still can't believe we walked that close to a very large wild alligator and another very large one that didn't seem as sleepy as the big one. The huge snake we saw was a thrill and the birds were non stop. What a visit. My son can't stop talking about this place and how he wants to go back next year. I need to do a little more research into our safety near gators that are that large. The parking lot lake is amazing in itself. We had trouble leaving because of all the activity going on right in the lake near the parking lot, between the little gators and all the birds there was non stop activity.

Visited March 2014
2 Thank bees60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rochester NY
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“great bird watching”
Reviewed 22 March 2014

We went on a CREW hike guided by George Luther. It was very informative and interesting. We saw a painted bunting and many red shouldered hawks,

Warning: The vultures were attacking plastic trim on cars parked in the lot.

Visited March 2014
Thank RochesterRick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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