Exploring Miami-Dade on two wheels

05/10/2013 12:00 AM

05/09/2013 4:11 PM

Growing up in Miami, riding a bike was my primary source of true neighborhood exploration. I spent countless hours outside discovering surroundings: which trees to climb, where the best parks were, finding hidden roads. It was a new adventure every day.

But at some point, we stopped or slowed down on exploring those curiosities — and we all got a car.

Now it’s time to get back out there on those two-wheelers and start exploring. Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami have been working to incorporate bike trails and bike-friendly lanes to accommodate all users of our roadways.

Here is a guide to some our favorite bike trails in Miami.

NORTH MIAMI, AVENTURA

•  Oleta River State Park, 3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami

Cost: $2 entry by bike, $6 entry by car

Paved or Off-Road: 15 miles of off-road, mountain bike trails

Info: www.floridastateparks.org/oletariver/

Notes: Bring water, bug spray, snacks and a camera to take pictures amongst the wetlands, tree hammocks, river and Biscayne Bay. Picnic tables along the way to stop and take a breath. There are also paved trails around the park, but the trails are the headliner.

•  Snake Trail, south of Snake Creek Canal from Northeast Miami Gardens Drive in North Miami Beach to Florida’s Turnpike in Miami Gardens.

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 3 miles of paved road

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/library/snake.pdf

Notes: Neighborhood trail in Miami Gardens. Easy ride. Greynolds Park and the Spanish Monastery Gardens are nearby and worth checking out.

COCONUT GROVE,

CORAL GABLES,

AND KEY BISCAYNE

(For the adventurous cyclist, the Rickenbacker Trail, Commodore Trail, Old Cutler Trail and Biscayne Trail all link together for a ride totalling approximately 27 miles)

•  Rickenbacker Trail, Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 8.5 miles of paved roads (bike lane and wide sidewalks)

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/library/rick.pdf

Notes: Bring water, sunscreen, camera and snacks. It’s a gorgeous ride overlooking Brickell and Key Biscayne. Virginia Key, Miami Seaquarium, Crandon Park and Bill Baggs State Park are additional stops along the trail.

•  Virginia Key, on Virginia Key, Key Biscayne

Cost: Free entry by bike, $5 entry by car on weekends

Paved or Off-Road: 4 miles of rock/gravel trail; best for mountain bikes

Info: www.virginiakeybeachpark.net

Notes: Bring water, sunscreen, camera and snacks. This trail winds through tree hammocks, coves and beaches. Grab a drink at Jimbo’s.

•  Crandon Park, 6747 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne

Cost: Free entry on bike, $5 per car on weekdays, $6 per car on weekends

Paved or Off-Road: Few miles of paved sidewalk

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parks/parks/crandon_beach.asp

Notes: Bring water, sunscreen, camera and if you’re interested in tanning the beautiful flat beaches are to your east. The nature center is located at the beginning of the North Beach entrance.

•  Bill Baggs State Park, 1200 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne

Cost: $2 entry by bike, $8 by car

Paved or Off-Road: 1.5 miles of flat, unpaved trail

Info: www.floridastateparks.org/capeflorida/

Notes: The trail will bring you through the trees and past the views of Biscayne Bay. Stop by the Cape Florida Lighthouse, the oldest structure in South Florida, for a tour. Grab a bite to eat at Lighthouse Cafe. Bicycle rentals on-site for $5 - 15/hour.

•  Commodore Trail, Coconut Grove

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 5 miles of paved trail

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/library/commodore.pdf

Notes: Commodore trail takes you along historic South Miami Avenue, Bayshore Drive, Main Highway and Douglas Road. Alice Wainwright Park, Museum of Science/Planetarium, Vizcaya, Kennedy Park, Peacock Park, and Barnacle Historic State Park are along the way and worth checking out.

•  Old Cutler Trail, Cocoplum Circle, Coral Gables

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 11 miles of paved trail

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/library/OCT.pdf

Notes: Bring water, sunscreen and snacks as this trail takes you through a Coral Gables neighborhood. Calm and beautiful ride under the Banyan trees along Old Cutler Road. Take the time to visit these stops along the way: Matheson Hammock Park (you can also bike through here for beautiful Biscayne Bay views), Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Pinecrest Gardens and the Deering estate.

•  Biscayne Trail, from the end of the Old Cutler Trail, head east on 87th Avennue to begin the Biscayne Trail in Palmetto Bay

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 2.7 miles of paved trail

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/library/biscayne.pdf

Notes: Bring water, sunscreen and snacks as this trail takes you through another South Miami-Dade neighborhood. The Biscayne Trail also cross over the Black Creek Trail .

•  Black Creek Trail, Southwest 137th Avenue and 184th Street, near Zoo Miami.

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 8.7 miles of paved trail

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/library/blackcreektrail.pdf

Notes: Bring water, sunscreen and snacks as this trail takes you through another South Miami-Dade neighborhood. The Black Creek Trail crosses by the Old Cutler Trail and Biscayne Trail and leads into Black Point Park and Marina. At the marina, you will have the chance to spot manatees, alligators and birds and grab some snacks at the restaurant.

•  M Path Trail, Florida City to downtown Miami, under the Metrorail system

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 30 miles of paved road

Info: www.visitflorida.com/en-us/trails/listings/001/a0t40000007qw2GAAQ.html Notes: Not the prettiest trail in Miami, but efficient if you want to avoid the US 1 traffic and your office has a shower! (Or you can bike to the Metrorail stop of your choice, and ride our lovely transit system into Brickell and Downtown Miami.)

•  Biscayne-Everglades Greenway Trail, Everglades National Park, Florida City

Cost: $10 by car, valid for one week

Paved or Off-Road: 45 miles paved/gravel roads

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/library/BEG_2008_UPDATE.PDF

Notes: The only bike trail in the country that connects two national parks (Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park). The trail also travels through Florida City, Homestead and surrounding farming areas. Bring water, sunscreen and snacks; expect mosquitoes in summer.

•  Southern Glades Trail, Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area

Runs north and south along the C-111 Canal right-of-way, from Ingraham Highway/State Road 9336 to U.S. 1/South Dixie Highway

Cost: Free

Paved or Off-Road: 13 miles unpaved roads, better for mountain bikes

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parks/parks/southern_glades_trail.asp

Notes: No bathrooms along trail. Bring sunscreen, water, snacks, bug repellent, and a cell phone (in case of emergency)

WEST KENDALL, EVERGLADES

•  Shark Valley, US Highway 41, 25 miles off the Florida Turnpike

Cost: $10 by car, valid for one week

Paved or Off-Road: 15 miles of paved roads

Info: www.sharkvalleytramtours.com/biking.html

Notes: Don’t miss the observation tower which overlooks the Everglades at the midpoint of the trail. Bring sunscreen, water, snacks (gummy bears will not suffice during this 2-3 hour trail) and remember not to feed the alligators. Be prepared for mosquitoes.

HIALEAH, MIAMI LAKES

•  Amelia Earhart Park, 401 E. 65th St., Hialeah

Cost: Free entry arriving by bike, $6 entry arriving by car

Paved or Off-Road: 8 miles unpaved trails for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders; better for mountain bikes

Info: www.miamidade.gov/parks/parks/amelia_earhart.asp

Notes: This park also has a lake, mini-farm, soccer fields and a dog park. Bring sunscreen, water, and enjoy snacks on the lakefront.

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