Hike to Clubhouse Beach – Everglades National Park

One night at Clubhouse Beach

A Not So Minimalistic Adventure

Facing East from the Campsite on Clubhouse Beach in Everglades National Park
Sunset towards Cape Sable from Clubhouse Beach
This hike follows what is known as the Coastal Prairie Trail in Everglades National Park, starting at the very back of Flamingo Campground. It is a beautiful landscape of hiking through forest trails into openings of the coastal Prairie and with no elevation change you can keep a very quick pace. This being said it is listed as the most difficult hike in Everglades National Park, and if not prepared could prove to be very dangerous.
 
You will see almost all of the birds of the Everglades on this hike and you will see a lot more wildlife. During some of the hike the ground gets carpeted in land crabs, blue crabs can be found in the grass near the trail and wild boar can be hear in the distance along the prairies. If you get lucky you may catch a glimpse of a bobcat or salt water croc when you get to the campsite.
 
 
As you near the end of the hike, around mile 6 or 7, you will come to a fork in the trail, going left will lead to a water crossing (at least it did for us) to the coast, and going straight will lead you in a loop back to the decision point. We wouldn’t advise going straight, we did and almost paid a price, we ran into an Eastern Diamondback Rattle Snake on the trail in front of us. We are very thankful we spotted this gem before we came to close and it was great to see, the biggest mistake was not taking a picture. After we walked around him, we ended circling back to the decision point and making the water crossing to reach the beach!!!
 
It was amazing, and very picturesque. This hike was what inspired us to go more minimalistic. There is no fresh water so you must carry all of the water you need (1+ Gallon per day), which gets very heavy, add a 9 LB tent to the mix in my pack and it was way too much weight and we had way more than necessary for 3 guys on a one day in, one day out adventure. 
 
We scouted the first 5 mi of the trail during the wet season a few weeks before with only water and some dry nuts and fruit. We didn’t have enough water and started the hike too late in the day, but we were able to run a lot of the trail due to our 15lb or less packs. We were forced to run due to our lack of good quality (DEET) bugspray. This is essential in the everglades and definitely something that would be very annoying to live without. On the full hike running wasn’t an option with the weight I was carrying but we still pushed through at a pretty good pace and had 3 or 4 full cans of 35% DEET.
 
I love this route, and you can also do the same trip by kayak which is also a very great trip. Continue your kayak journey to East Cape, also known as Cape Sable, and you have reached the southern most point of the mainland United States. Since pictures do speak a thousand words, we will finish with a few shots from my IPhone.
 
 
Looking Back at the Path in from the decision point off in the distance. 
The Entrance of the trail into the overgrown forest area which lines the coast and opens to prairies

 

Hiking In

 

Dinner on the beach, some Argentinian Charizo’s cooked over the fire. 
You must build your fire in the tidal area to ensure you leave minimal impact
Adrian out a few hundred feet of the mud flat
Just after sunrise from Clubhouse Beach, I love the distortion of the glare and reflection off the mud flat
 In conclusion this is a great hike to see wildlife, experience the Everglades and feel a sense of accomplishment when you are done. If you do decide to hike in be sure to bring plenty of water since there is no fresh water, bring at least a gallon per day per person. We enjoyed this hike for its beauty, difficulty and nature throughout. One more thing… BRING LOTS OF DEET!!! 
 
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