Here you will find a canoe trail that circles approximately 1.5 miles through an estuarine mangrove forest. The trail waters are classified as Outstanding Florida Waters. Fish, mollusks, crustaceans, dolphins, and manatees all spend a part of their lives in this estuary. The salt-tolerant mangrove trees form impassable forests that are home to many species of wildlife. Marine creatures find food and safety among the tangles root system of the red mangrove. Ideal nesting sites can be found in the canopy of these mangrove trees. You might see yellow crowned night herons, roseate spoonbills, and white ibis. Overhead, look for the ospreys who call the Preserve home. Southern bald eagles feed and perch in the snags daily.
Visitors may launch their own canoes at the launch area found near parking area #3 (on the estuary side). A float plan should be filled out at the attendant's booth as you enter the park. There is no fee to launch a canoe/kayak, however, there is an $8.00 parking fee if you do not have a current Collier County beach parking pass.
There is a numbered trail you may follow in the estuary through the mangrove area (marked 1 through 15). It ends at the entrance to the river. For your safety, park management asks that you do not go beyond marker #15. Motorboats are traveling on the intracoastal waterway beyond that point. No motorboats are allowed in the back bay area, as it is very shallow and a protected area. Note: There is no entrance marked from the river.
Please take only photographs. The park management also asks that you please remain in your canoe. Sea grass beds and mudflats are home to many species of wildlife in all stages of development.