Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge
Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge near West Palm Beach, Florida
Intro to Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge
Step into a world of untouched beauty and natural wonder at Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge. Tucked away in the heart of Southeast Florida, this refuge offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As you venture through its enchanting trails, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush vegetation, tranquil waterways, and diverse wildlife. From the haunting calls of migratory birds to the gentle rustling of leaves in the wind, every moment at Loxahatchee is a symphony of nature’s finest melodies.
Whether you’re a passionate birder, an avid photographer, or an angler simply seeking solace in nature’s embrace, Loxahatchee has something for everyone—Kayak through the serene waters, keeping an eye out for majestic herons and elusive alligators. Wander along the boardwalks, which meander through cypress swamps and marshes, offering glimpses of the delicate ecosystems that call this refuge home.
As the sun sets over the horizon, the refuge transforms into a magical realm, with fireflies dancing in the air and the stars painting the night sky. Loxahatchee is not just a place; it’s an experience that touches your soul and reconnects you with the natural world.
So, pack your binoculars, grab your camera, and prepare to be captivated by the allure of Loxahatchee Refuge. It’s a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by those who seek adventure and serenity in perfect harmony.
About Loxahatchee Refuge
The Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge portion of the northern Everglades is considered a refuge. The Marsh trail takes visitors along dikes surrounding impoundments where water levels manipulate levels seasonally to benefit wildlife. In addition to being home to nature, the refuge offers many recreational opportunities.
The Loxahatchee refuge has walking trails, a canoe trail, a bike trail, boat ramps, and fishing platforms. Additionally, an observation tower, a butterfly garden, and a visitor center are available to outdoor enthusiasts. A Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat ramp provides free launching. It is a single-lane concrete ramp in good condition.
Access the boat ramp quickly by exiting either I-95 or the Turnpike at PGA Boulevard. Traveling west is 4.0 miles from I-95 and 2.1 miles from the Turnpike to the ramp on the northeast corner of the intersection of PGA Boulevard and the canal. There is adequate parking, but no facilities. We have three boat ramps we recommend below.
- Headquarters entrance off Lee Road: 10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33473 – Take I-95 or the Florida Turnpike to Boynton Beach Boulevard. Go west to U.S. 441/State Road 7. Go south on U.S. 441/State Road 7 for approximately two miles to Lee Road. Take a right on Lee Road and proceed a short distance to the headquarters entrance gate.
- 20-Mile Bend entrance (north boat ramp): West of Wellington. From I-95, take Southern Boulevard west to S.R. 880. Go left. Take an immediate left just after the green bridge onto 20-mile Bend Road. Go right onto 20-mile Bend Boat Ramp Road. Follow the road to the automatic gate (open from sunrise to sunset).
- Hillsboro entrance (south boat ramp/bicycle trail): West of Deerfield Beach in the Hillsboro Area, located on S.R. 827 (Loxahatchee “Lox” Road). From I-95, exit at Hillsboro Boulevard. Go west. Take a right on U.S. 441/State Road 7, then a left on Loxahatchee “Lox” Road. Go nearly seven miles to the end of the road.
Obtain a Bird’s eye view by climbing into the observation tower on the Marsh Trail. Herons, egrets, ibis, limpkins, anhingas, purple gallinules, vultures, and red-shouldered hawks are common. Winter brings seasonal residents such as the northern harrier and several ducks species, including blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, fulvous whistling ducks, and ring-necked ducks.
The Loxahatchee Slough Canal provides excellent fishing for largemouth bass and other sportfish, such as bluegill and redear sunfish. A few black crappies are also present. Shoreline vegetation, rip-rap, and shady areas associated with bridges and culverts provide excellent places to fish.
If there is a strong current in the channel, look for protected areas that offer refuge from the channel current. Culverts and spillways with water flowing through or over them into the main channel are the right places to fish. The Loxahatchee Slough Canal contains more largemouth bass than most other canals in southeast Florida.
When choosing the types of lures for fishing at Loxahatchee wildlife refuge, start with plastic worms, topwater, and crankbaits. Live bait fishes such as golden shiners are also popular bait. The bag limit for largemouth bass is five fish per day, only one of which can be greater than 14 inches.
Take Interstate 95’s exit 50 in travel 7 miles west on U.S. Highway 98 (Southern Boulevard). Turn south onto U.S. Highway 441 and drive 13 miles. The entrance is on the west side of the road; the map is below.