Best Places to Bike in the Everglades

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By: Chris Cavis

A great way to experience the beauty of Everglades National Park is by bicycle. There are several trail options throughout different areas of the park, with varying lengths and levels of difficulty. You can choose a trail that fits your biking style – whether that’s a scenic ride with your family or a longer excursion. Visitors can bring their own bikes or rent them at the Flamingo Visitor Center or the Shark Valley Visitor Center. E-bikes with electric motors of less than 750 watts (one horsepower) are permitted on all trails where traditional bikes are allowed. The wonderful thing about biking through the Everglades is that you get to cover more ground and set your own pace to enjoy the wildlife. 

Miami Entrance – Shark Valley Visitor Center

Shark Valley Tram Road

This flat, paved 15-mile loop is one of the most popular trails in the park. Shark Valley Tram Road begins directly behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center, about an hour drive west of Downtown Miami. At 20 feet wide, it is an easy biking trail that can provide some family fun. The Shark Valley tram tour will likely pass during your journey on the trail, but the wide paved road provides plenty of space for everyone. The trail is elevated, with canals on either side inhabited by alligators, birds and other wildlife. Remember to always keep your distance from wildlife and bodies of water. The observation tower at Shark Valley is the halfway point on the trail. The tower’s curved walkway leads up to the highest elevation point in Everglades National Park, and on a clear day you can see miles of the picturesque “River of Grass.”

L-67 Canal Road

The L-67 Canal road is about five miles east of the Shark Valley entrance. This intermediate trail follows the old eastern edge of the park, where you will bike over an unpaved gravel and grass road. As you make your way through this portion of the Everglades, you will have grand views of Shark Valley Slough. The bike path runs parallel to a canal where you can spot alligators, turtles and fish. 

Shark Valley Ranger Guided Biking Tours 

The Shark Valley Visitor Center offers several guided biking tours. A ranger will guide you along a biking adventure into some of Shark Valley’s most scenic spots, pointing out wildlife and offering unique insight into the Everglades. Try the meteor shower bike ride for the chance to see the night sky put on a show, or take the morning glades biking tour where you’ll explore the wetlands as they come to life in the early morning sun.
Tours are offered seasonally and may be impacted by COVID-19 safety precautions. Check the park website and call ahead for tour availability and details. Bike rentals are available if you want to bike on your own, but you must bring your own bike for biking tours.

Homestead Entrance – Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

Long Pine Key Trail

Long Pine Key Trail is about 14 miles of an out-and-back unpaved trail, with one trailhead near Long Pine Key Campground and the other trailhead near the parking area for Pine Glades Lake. It is located about seven miles from the Homestead entrance/Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center in South Dade, about an hour drive south of Downtown Miami. The trail is best suited for intermediate to experienced bikers, although families may enjoy short excursions on the trailheads near the campground. The trail is not being managed right now, so bikers may encounter overgrowth or branches. Be on the lookout for birds and alligators near Pine Glades Lake.

Ernest F. Coe Ranger-Guided Biking Tours

The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center offers a guided bike and hike tour through the Everglades. This strenuous bike tour covers 10 miles of ground, taking you areas of beautiful wilderness. Bikes, helmets and water are provided, and reservations must be made in advance. The tour may be impacted by COVID-19 safety guidelines. Visit the website or call the visitor center for details. The visitor center may also provide other biking tours throughout the year. 

Flamingo Visitor Center

Snake Bight Trail

The “bight” in this trail’s name actually refers to a geographical feature where a bay is inside another bay. Snake Bight Trail is almost four miles, round trip. It is located four miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center, about a 45-minute to one-hour drive from the Homestead entrance/Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. Note that the trail is currently not being maintained and you may encounter some rough terrain including vegetation and branches. The trail is part of an important habitat for the Cape Sable thoroughwort herb. This small herb is recognizable by its bluish-purple flowers. A boardwalk at the end of the trail provides some great bird watching opportunities where you may see wood storks, white and glossy ibises or a great blue heron.

Rowdy Bend Trail

This short trail is 2.6 miles one way, but don’t let the short length fool you. Rowdy Bend Trail begins three miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center. It is an overgrown trail through shady buttonwoods, providing a great opportunity to see woodland bird species. Even with its short length, the overgrown terrain creates a unique biking challenge. Experienced bikers can combine Rowdy Bend Trail with the main park road and Snake Bight Trail for a challenging 12.6-mile loop starting and ending at the Flamingo Visitor Center.

Flamingo Ranger Guided Biking Tours

Flamingo Visitor Center offers ranger-led programs and may offer biking tours throughout the year. Check the calendar for information.

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