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Latest update: January 2020

Shark Valley Trail... Everglades National Park

Top 10 Florida Bike Trail... Ride with Alligators!

Shark Valley Trail (North Entrance, Everglades National Park) is truly one of the most unforgettable rides in America. Alligators are an awesome Florida symbol, and on this trail, you literally bike or hike with (and around) alligators. Located off the Tamiami Trail (US Hwy 41) west of Miami, adjacent to the Miccosukee Indian Reservation, Shark Valley Trail is a 14.5 mile paved loop which may be accessed by foot, bicycle, or tram (no skateboards etc.) Bicycles can be rented at the Visitor Center, or bring your own. The 65-foot observation tower offers panoramic views of the "river of grass." It's in a remote location, but well worth a trip (cool weather only)! Again... unforgettable! (Map link and photos below.)

Shark Valley, Everglades

Map link...
Shark Valley Trail, Everglades


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Location: Dade County
Mileage: 14.5 mile loop
Surface: Asphalt
Nearby points of interest: Miccosukee Indian Reservation, Miccosukee Resort and Casino, Miami Beach, Everglades, Florida Keys, Big Cypress Preserve.

Bike Shops/Rentals:

Shark Valley Bicycle Tours

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of the Everglades

Shark Valley Trail... Comments and Photos

For a unique view, during a clear night with a full moon, ride to the observation tower to watch the sunset (park outside the main gate). On the ride back, you will not need a light! With moonlight reflecting off the river of grass like a mirror, you can't tell when twilight ends and night begins. During the cooler months, local bike clubs often meet here for this moonlight ride, so you won't be alone.


Visitor Center

Trailhead parking, bike rentals, tram tours, information, snacks, restrooms. The park is open 24 hours a day, but the parking lot closes at 6 p.m. Overflow or late parking is available outside the gate or along US 41.


Western Side - trailhead to observation tower

The western side is straight with a canal alongside. You'll see far more alligators, birds and other wildlife up close on this side. During a cool winter day, dozens of alligators might be seen on the ride out to the tower.


At the observation tower

At the halfway point of the trail. When parking your bike, be sure to take any bags or food with you. The blackbirds are expert bag breakers, even opening zippers to get at contents. Restrooms, Borrow Pit Trail, sweeping views of the "River of Grass."

 

 
 

Eastern side - Observation tower back to trailhead

The eastern side is curvy, with no canal running alongside, so fewer gators are usually seen. This is the newer section, built with fill creating three small lakes near the end of the ride. While more "environmentally friendly," the wildlife obviously prefer the canal.


More Gators

This is what you came to see, here are some more alligators. While gators usually bask on the side of the trail, sometimes one will simply crawl out to the middle and plunk down. So you learn to ride around, or wait for the next tram (running every 20 minutes in season) to chase it off.


Other Wildlife

There also are many birds, turtles, fish, and we've seen deer, too. During the day, wading birds fan out into the everglades to feed; in the evening, they flock to alligator holes to roost (this keeps the birds safe from raccoons and other predators). One very popular alligator hole is next to the Park Visitor's Center. Beginning near sunset, when the conditions are right, you can watch as hundreds of birds flock in to roost right in front of you!

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