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Gary Hall | profile | all galleries >> Shark Valley Everglades National Park tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Shark Valley Everglades National Park

The Everglades, sometimes called the "river of grass," is seasonally dominated by a shallow, slow-moving sheet of water that flows from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay. During the wet summer months, the vast grassy prairie acts both as a home to a tremendous variety of plants and animals and as a filter for the fresh water river.

Dispersed throughout the Everglades are large tree islands called "tropical hardwood hammocks" and smaller shrubby islands known as "bayheads." The hammocks exist on limestone ridges rising a few feet above the seasonally wet sawgrass prairie. These higher elevation areas provide a flood-free environment with a thin layer of soil that can support a multitude of tropical and temperate zone vegetation. Bayhead communities also exist on ridges, but since the elevation change is less than that of a hammock environment, these ridges are periodically inundated by water. This results in an equally varied but different assemblage of plants.

The tram road, shaped in a "U", is 15 miles (24 km) round trip. There are no short cuts in the 7.5 mile segments. If you become tired or are unable to complete the entire 15 mile trip, turn around, if necessary, and travel north. Bicycling the road takes an average of 2 to 3 hours, but varies with physical stamina and personal interests.

Never approach alligators! Maintain a safe distance (10-15 feet / 3-5 m) if you see alligators on the road.

The name "Shark Valley" is just to confuse you. There are no sharks and there is no valley. (Please read guests comments below photos.)
River of Grass - 1
River of Grass - 1
River of Grass - 2
River of Grass - 2
River of Grass - 3
River of Grass - 3
800 pound lizards enjoying the sun
800 pound lizards enjoying the sun
Alligators are everywhere
Alligators are everywhere
Egret
Egret
Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Blue Heron Arenaria interpres (ruddy turnstone)
Blue Heron Arenaria interpres (ruddy turnstone)
Anhinga (female)
Anhinga (female)
Anhinga (female)
Anhinga (female)
Anhinga (male)
Anhinga (male)
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Alligators are black and none are green
Alligators are black and none are green
Sometimes very hard to stay 15 feet away.
Sometimes very hard to stay 15 feet away.
West side of loop - 7 miles
West side of loop - 7 miles
East leg of loop - another 7.5 miles
East leg of loop - another 7.5 miles
Shark Valley entrance sign
Shark Valley entrance sign