Shark Valley Bicycle Loop

Location: Everglades National Park, Florida
Date: January 11, 2016
Distance: 15 miles

View across the Everglades from the observation tower at Shark Valley (Source: Abujoy on Wikimedia Commons)

On the northern side of Everglades National Park is Shark Valley, a shallow depression that is seasonally submerged. A paved 15-mile one lane loop road goes through the area, but personal vehicles are not allowed. You can ride a tram on a guided tour on the road or you can rent or bring your own bicycle and bike the loop. I didn't take my phone or camera on the trip, so these photos are not mine or from the day I went, but they are still representative of what I saw.

Tri-colored heron (Source: Wing-Chi Poon on Wikimedia Commons)
Snowy egret (Source: Hans Stieglitz on Wikimedia Commons)

When biking the loop counterclockwise, the first half of the road is nearly completely straight for seven miles and passes the Bobcat Boardwalk and Otter Cave Trail before arriving at the observation tower and the Borrow Pit Trail. This first half of the loop had the most wildlife, with several alligators and numerous birds, primarily along the right (west) side of the road. However, the largest alligator I saw during this entire trip was basking across the middle of the Borrow Pit trail, preventing anyone from walking the trail's entire length.

The observation tower (Source: National Park Service)

The return trip is slightly longer since the road winds back and forth, and the wind was coming from the opposite direction of travel, which made the trip slightly more difficult. Overall, this is a very easy bike ride, although I thought that the bikes available for rental were absolutely terrible and would recommend bringing your own if possible.

Looking north from the observation tower. This is the west side of the loop that you bike on to the tower. (Source: National Park Service)

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Stock Photos from 123RF


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