While Wilderness Swamp Trail may sound more rugged and wild and less, well, pedestrian, both trails offer a break from the hustle and bustle of resort and theme park life and some the best views found in Walt Disney World. Yet, where the Pedestrian Nature Trail ventures out into the woods and loops back in upon itself, the Wilderness Swamp Trail took explores to the marshy edges of Bay Lake via its boardwalk. Here guests could not only take in the sights and sounds, they could also come into contact with a wider variety of wildlife than is currently found along the current trail. Heron, alligators, and turtles were just a few of the untamed creatures that could be found stirring here.Just a few months after Fort Wilderness had opened, Walt Disney World released this photo of the Wilderness Swamp Trail in early 1972, and had this to say about it:
“[The] Boardwalk is part of [a] nature trail in [the] Fort Wilderness area of Walt Disney World’s Vacation Kingdom. [The] trail takes adventurers to natural Florida beauty and protected wildlife. At night, canoe excursions are led through [the] Ft. Wilderness area. Horseback riding and camping are other Ft. Wilderness attractions.”
While the boardwalk section of this trail has long since been forgotten, and has fallen into decay, I will always have found memories of running along its planks, the heavy thump of my sneakers echoing through the wilderness, trying to catch a glimpse of some swamp creature plying the waterways. I, and others who remember this lost piece of Fort Wilderness, can take heart in one thing, when closing the boardwalk, Walt Disney World only modified the trail, where beauty, protected wildlife, and a calming walk can still be found.