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4.4 miles

Elevation Gain

0 ft

Route Type



Added by Keith Curry-Pochy

A large sinkhole in the Myakka Wilderness that is home to hundreds of american alligators during the dry season.

Tucked in the Myakka Wilderness, along the Myakka River, is Deep Hole. After hiking through expansive Florida dry prairie and hammocks of ancient trees draped with spanish moss, you come to a large sinkhole, 200 ft across and 130 ft deep. During the dry season it is home to hundreds of american alligators. 

To begin this hike, you must first check in at the ranger station to obtain a permit. Deep Hole is in the wilderness preserve of Myakka River State Park, this means that access is limited to 30 people a day. Permits go fast on the weekends so it is suggested to show up when the park opens at 8am. The rangers will give you a permit to carry on you, a code for the gate, and directions to the trailhead/parking.

From the trailhead it is 2.2 miles to Deep Hole, the trail is unmarked but easy to follow as it is a dirt road. Like most of Florida there is little elevation gain, but some of the trail is sugar sand. Most of the trail goes through Florida dry prairie, an endangered ecosystem unique to Florida. There are few trees on the prairie, thus very little shade, a hat and plenty of water is a must. At about 1.5 miles there is a short spur that goes out to Lower Myakka Lake. In April and May, depending on water levels, the exposed floodplain of the lake will be bursting with wildflowers and is a must see. 

The last half mile take you down to a gap in the trees and out onto the Myakka River floodplain, there is a clearly worn path out to Deep Hole. Here you will encounter American Alligators, high counts have been in the hundreds, but usually you will see between 50-70. On cool mornings the alligators will crawl up onto the bank to sun themselves, an impress sight. 

Alligators can be dangerous, even deadly, if harassed. As long as you keep your distance and give them respect they will leave you alone. Please to not feed the alligators, when they are fed they lose their fear of humans and become dangerous. It is also illegal to feed alligators in Florida. 

Along with the alligators there is an amazing diversity of birds, some more colorful bird include the Roseate Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, and Tricolored Heron. Limpkins aren't always seen but it is almost guaranteed you will hear their haunting cries echo across the floodplain. 

Once you have had your fill of the real Florida, follow the same trail back to the trailhead. Remember to check back into the ranger station and return your permit before you leave Myakka. If you do not they may send a search party out for you and bill you if it is not needed. 

The best season to hike this trail is during dry season. In South Florida the dry season usually falls between October and May. The best months of year to hike to Deep Hole is March-April. Water levels are usually at their lowest and the wildflowers are starting to bloom. 

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