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
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.
Paved or Off-Road: 3 miles of paved road
Notes: Neighborhood trail in Miami Gardens. Easy ride. Greynolds Park and the Spanish Monastery Gardens are nearby and worth checking out.
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
Paved or Off-Road: 8.5 miles of paved roads (bike lane and wide sidewalks)
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
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
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
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
Paved or Off-Road: 5 miles of paved trail
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
Paved or Off-Road: 11 miles of paved trail
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
Paved or Off-Road: 2.7 miles of paved trail
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.
Paved or Off-Road: 8.7 miles of paved trail
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
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
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
Paved or Off-Road: 13 miles unpaved roads, better for mountain bikes
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
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
Notes: This park also has a lake, mini-farm, soccer fields and a dog park. Bring sunscreen, water, and enjoy snacks on the lakefront.
Join the Discussion
Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.