30587 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, 33043
Trails: Daily, sunrise to sunset
Visitor Center: Mondays-Fridays, 9:00am-4:00pm;
Before heading to the trails stop by the visitor center at Key Deer Plaza to pick up maps, checklists and information about programs and events. Next, head to the Blue Hole Trail, which partially circles one of the few bodies of fresh water on Big Pine Key, a feature that not only attracts Green Herons and Belted Kingfishers, but also brings in migrating warblers, vireos and thrushes. Jack Watson Manillo Trail passes through pine rockland, an uncommon habitat this far south, and brings you close to the island’s resident songbirds as well as species like Black-whiskered Vireo, Gray Kingbird and White-crowned Pigeon. The Mannillo Trail ends with a viewing platform over a wetland. If you’re visiting the refuge between May and July look and listen for Antillean Nighthawks, which breed in the area. While you’re driving from trail to trail you are likely to encounter endangered Key Deer, the smallest subspecies of the North American White-tailed Deer. 75% of the population lives on Big Pine and No Name Keys. They are the only large herbivore in the Florida Keys and are perfectly adapted to living in the wild, they may, however, approach people looking for handouts; please help us keep them healthy and wild by not feeding them (it is illegal!).