The Calusa Heritage Trail is the publicly accessible walking trail at the Randell Research Center. As of December 1, 2023 a larger portion of the Trail is once again open to visitors! In addition to the first 1000′ of the trail we opened on January 11, 2023, we also have the north-facing platform on Brown’s Mound, the Randell Mound stairway, and the walkway to Smith Mound open! While the footbridge is still in disrepair, we have opened our interior service road to allow the public to access the site on foot. The trail is open daily for self-guided visits from sunrise to sunset.
Museum-quality interpretive signs along the trail provide visitors with detailed information regarding the Calusa people who inhabited the Pineland site, their culture and environment, and the history of southwest Florida after the Calusa left. The trail also features observation platforms atop the site’s tallest shell mound, in addition to trail-side benches and a boardwalk and bridge over low-lying areas.
Parking is available inside the main gate to the Randell Research Center at 13810 Waterfront Drive. Public restrooms and picnic facilities are also provided. Dogs are permitted provided they are on leash at all times, well behaved, and all waste is bagged and disposed of properly.
The Calusa Heritage Trail was sponsored by Dwight and Susan Sipprelle and funded in part by a Special Category Grant from the Florida Department of State, Office of Cultural and Historical Programs, Division of Historical Resources, and through in-kind services and the efforts of many volunteers.
Requested donations for visitors to the Calusa Heritage Trail are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children. Members of the Friends of the RRC and dogs on leash are admitted free. Income from donations and memberships makes it possible to maintain this important archaeological site.