The Nine Mile Pond canoe trail, located 12 miles north of Flamingo on the Main Park Road, is a good place to actively enjoy anhingas, cormorants, herons, great egrets and alligators as you paddle through their territory.
The hardest part of this 5-mile loop route sometimes is at the outset when you have to fight strong winds to paddle east across the pond. Once there, you encounter a single white marker, #1, as you enter a mangrove forest.
In all, a total of 116 white PVC pipes mark the route. Another notable one is at Marker 44, a shortcut that cuts 1.5 miles off the trip. Allow 4 to 5 hours to leisurely paddle the full loop.
A number of markers designate important natural features. Download the trail description and print ahead of time. Don’t rely on a cell phone to do it for you when you get there. This site downloads slowly.
Low water levels from late February through May may make the trail impassable. Check with a ranger at the Coe Visitor Center.