Paddling in The Everglades - West Lake
West Lake is one of the largest in the central part of Everglades National Park and the open waters can be choppy on windy days. The concrete ramp at the trailhead is an easy launch; no motors over 5.5 hp allowed. (Detailed map and photos below.)
The eight mile trail (one way) goes through mangrove tunnels connecting West Lake (which itself is about 2 miles) to Long Lake and the Lungs to Alligator Creek. Alligator Creek connects to Florida Bay at Garfield Bight where primitive camping is available.
This is an alligator and crocodile habitat, plus the usual assortment of Everglades wildlife, birds and fish can be seen. Restrooms are available at the trailhead. A half-mile boardwalk trail through mangrove meanders from the road to the lake.
This can be a full-day paddle, mostly open water subject to sun and wind, so standard precautions are recommended - do not paddle alone, bring food, plenty of water, sun block, insect repellant, waterproof bags for gear, tide chart, and a GPS. The closest visitor center to West Lake is the Flamingo Visitor Center, including an information center with natural history exhibits, a ramp at the marina, and boat tours and rentals.
Also visit us here: Bicycling in The Everglades
More information on paddling in The Everglades (opens in a new window):
Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Outfitters/RentalsEverglades National Park Boat Tours
Support and AdvocacyNational Park Foundation
South Florida National Parks Trust
Friends of The Everglades