Everglades National Park
Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring FL
These cyclists are on the Shark Valley road in Everglades National Park. This road is located on Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) about 35 miles west of Miami. It winds its way through sawgrass and wetlands to an observation tower. No cars are allowed, but trams are there, and cyclists must yield the right-of-way. The best times to view wildlife are early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Here are some of the denizens you are likely to see.
Everglades National Park is a great place for cycling. The main Visitor Center is south and west of Homestead FL. Take the Florida Turnpike south to Florida City exit and follow the signs. You can park at the Visitor Center and cycle into the Park ($5), or you can drive on through to Royal Palm Visitor Center, or to Long Pine Key. LPK is where the off-road trails start. There are about 30 miles of trails (except during wet season, usually summer). Winter is the best time for cycling.
An easy cycling road trip is from the Visitor Center to Pa-hay-okee Overlook. It is about 35-40 miles, depending on where you start. The road is fairly good, and is patrolled by rangers. They will stop and help cyclists. Here is a view from Pa-hay-okee during wet season.
Back at Royal Palm there is a boardwalk that takes you right over the wet areas where you can see wildlife close up. No bikes on the boardwalk.
This is called the Anhinga Trail. From Royal Palm, you can go on 2 rides, one on the road and the other on a dirt road. These rides start from Royal Palm and go to the fork in the road about halfway between the main road and Center. The road going right (west) goes to the Research Center. There is a big gator hole about halfway down that is usually full of gators. If you see a gator on the road, avoid it, even if it means turning back. Past the Research Center and at the end of this road is an old missile site left over from the Cuban Missile Crisis. It is fenced and locked, but you can ride around it. The other fork in the road goes left and south about 10-12 miles. There is a rough campground about halfway down. This is actually part of the old main road to Flamingo. Watch out for gators on this stretch of road also.
If you drive or cycle down to Flamingo, there is much wildlife to see. You will also go through several different vegetation zones. There is off-road cycling at Flamingo from the west campground. The trailhead is marked. Trail is singletrack, maybe 8-10 miles.
Lake Olivia, Avon Park Lakes FL
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