Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest is located approximately thirty miles east of Fort Myers, in southeastern Hendry and northeastern Collier counties.
The Okaloacoochee Slough, the forest’s namesake, is a 13,382 acre pristine slough that is oriented north-south through the forest. The natural systems of the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress Preserve are dependent on the water supplied by the Okaloacoochee Slough. The Okaloacoochee Slough is one of the few places in south Florida in which the pre-Columbian landscape, north of the Everglades or Big Cypress National Preserve, can be observed.
This unique natural system provides a large roaming area of contiguous habitat for a variety of wildlife species. The forest is home to listed, threatened, and endangered species such as the Florida panther, Florida black bear, sandhill crane, wood stork, and gopher tortoise.
One of the unique and special aspects of Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest is the number and length of driving trails available to explore the area by car. In the early 1900’s the forest was targeted by the lumber mills as an ideal source for railroad ties to supply the ever expanding railways into Florida. Although logging ended in the 1930’s, with agricultural and ranching interests taking control of the land, the old roads and trails established by the loggers still remain. Road and trail names like Twin Mills Grade, Wild Cow Grade, Mustang Grade and Oil Well Pad Road hint at the history of the forest. While the lumber mills, oil wells, wild cows and mustangs are indeed now history, nature resumes its steadily pressing need to imprint the area. Today Okaloacoochee is home to several endangered and threatened species such as Florida panther, Florida black bear, sandhill crane, wood stork, crested caracara, and American alligator.