People don’t usually expect to find alligators during their daily biking route, but at the Everglades National Park, that’s exactly what they sign up for. It may be intimidating for some, but biking in the Everglades has become popular because of the variety of wildlife in the area. It’s also a unique experience and a great way to get to know this incredible park.
Located at 36000 SW 8th St. off the Tamiami Trail, Shark Valley reopened in December 2017 after being closed for more than 3 months due to Hurricane Irma. Visitors are welcome to take the trail and appreciate the different animals that inhabit this valley in the Everglades. Cranes, turtles, alligators, deer, different species of birds, and even otters are frequently spotted in Shark Valley. Be aware that some of the animals like resting in the middle of the trails, so be on the lookout to avoid trampling them. You can also walk the trail if you want to take your time and fully appreciate your surroundings.
Biking in Shark Valley is known as one of the most unforgettable rides in the country. During the winter, the trail is heavily populated by gators on its western side, and it’s not uncommon to spot dozens of them basking in the sun. As you reach the observation tower, don’t forget to hop off your bike and enjoy the view from the top. The tower also marks the halfway point of the 15-mile path. If you prefer a little distance between you and the animals, you can always take the tram tour along the trail.
Although Shark Valley is the park’s most popular biking trail, there are other great places you can get to know while biking in the Everglades. Long Pine Key is a camping site located six miles from the Everglades National Park’s main entrance and features a 13-mile biking route with beautiful scenery and plants you won’t see anywhere else. If you want to check it out, don’t forget to take some bug repellent with you.
Most of the Flamingo area trails are only accessible on foot, but there are some that are bicycle-friendly. Trails such as Snake Bight and Rowdy Bend are popular among cyclists. Snake Bight is surrounded by a hardwood hammock and has a boardwalk at the end that allows for some incredible birdwatching. The Rowdy Bend trail is an open coastal prairie road, and it’s also a suitable place to appreciate the local woodland birds. Keep that bug repellent handy because there are a lot of mosquitoes in the area!
Think you got what it takes to go biking in the Everglades? Let us know in the comments below!
Cover photo courtesy of Max Pixels