Once slated to become a condominium development, this park contains one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the United States. The park is home to 84 protected species of plants and animals, including wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe and the American crocodile. Exploring the park´s trails gives visitors a chance to see some of these rare species of plants and animals. Over six miles of nature trails provide a wealth of opportunities for birdwatchers and photographers. Most of the park´s trails are paved and accessible to both bicycles and wheelchairs. Signs along a self-guided nature trail provide information about the park´s ecosystem and wildlife. Ranger-guided tours are also available.
Bicycling is easy along the main paved ½ mile boulevard. The backcountry trails are either gravel or a leaf-littered coral rock substrate, and accessible to visitors by simply completing a backcountry permit at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Ranger Station.
One of Key Largo’s “secrets” is the self-guided nature walk in this tropical hardwood hammock, which includes a native plant butterfly garden and a picnic table. In early fall, insect repellent and long-sleeves and pants will ward off any mosquitoes, but as the weather changes, the mosquitoes disappear.
The re-opening of the Port Bougainville Trail can extend your walk by one or two miles on the loop trail. Use of this trail no longer needs a backcountry permit, but visitors must stay on the designated path. Additional backcountry trails may be explored simply by completing a backcountry permit at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Ranger Station.
Wildlife observation is also outstanding at the park. Northbound in April, and especially while southbound in October, migratory birds are funneled into the Keys by the landform. Many tropical species are resident here, including the white-crowned pigeon, mangrove cuckoo and black-whiskered vireo. Tropical vagrants such as the thick-billed vireo and La Sagra’s flycatcher are frequently reported in the park.
Butterfly-watching has rapidly grown in popularity since the mid-1990s; the park features an incredible diversity of species, including the Schaus’ swallowtail, silver-banded hairstreak, and both hammock and mangrove skippers. Rare tree snails feed on the lichens and bark of the tropical trees, and can be easily observed by park visitors.
The main entrance and marked nature trail at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is located on Monroe County Road 905, approximately .5 miles north of County Road 905′s intersection with U.S. Highway 1 at Mile Marker 106.County Road 905 (MM 106)
Key Largo, Florida 33037
Phone: (305) 451-1202