Not only is hiking an activity that keeps you in great shape, but it's also the best way to get as close as possible to an area’s natural beauty and wildlife. Hiking near Miami will take you close to things you won't see anywhere else.

One of the great things about the natural beauty around Miami, Florida, is that there are many trails everyone in the family can enjoy, and they’re easy to reach. But before you hit the trail, there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind:

  • Sun Protection: Florida is famous for its sunshine, which can be unrelenting, so make sure you use sunscreen and wear hats and sunglasses as needed.
  • Drinking Water: Keeping hydrated keeps you fresh as you hike, so bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Food and Snacks: Strenuous hikes take energy, so be prepared with some snacks or food to fuel your hike.
  • Insect Repellent: While the warmth and water keep the Miami region green and beautiful, this also makes it the ideal home for mosquitos and biting midges — be prepared with bug spray.
  • Wildlife Distancing: Not only is it illegal to touch or feed wildlife, but it can also be dangerous, so keep some distance between you and any of the amazing creatures you come across.

Now that you're ready, let's look at a few memorable hiking trails around Miami.

Hiking in the Miami Area

There are some fantastic hiking trails just minutes from downtown Miami. If your time is limited, or there's too much to do, there are rewarding hiking options you can still squeeze into your plans.

Hiking in Oleta River State Park

Just north of downtown Miami, tucked away between the city skyline and the northernmost point of Biscayne Bay, is Oleta River State Park. This State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown year-round. There is an entrance fee of $2 for pedestrians, $4 for single-occupant vehicles, and $6 for cars with two to eight occupants. The park is at 3400 NE 163rd St., in North Miami Beach. For more information, call 305-919-1846.

Although this park is especially appealing to cycling enthusiasts, there is a three-mile, paved hiking trail at the southern end of the peninsula where you can see plenty of wildlife, including wading birds like the great blue heron or a roseate spoonbill. The water views will allow you to see manatees and dolphins in the bay, especially in winter.

Hiking in Matheson Hammock Park

Just south of downtown Miami, along Biscayne Bay, is the Matheson Hammock Park. Hammocks are tree formations that cover the Park, which is open from sunrise to sunset daily. There is a vehicle entrance fee of $5 on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays. The park address is 9610 Old Cutler Road, in Coral Gables. The park office number is 305-665-5475.

Old Cutler Trail is a paved hiking trail that runs along one side of the park. Over 25 miles long, hiking this trail to the end and back could take you an entire day. A paved trail of about three miles, shared with cyclists, circles back when it reaches the bay. Each trail offers excellent birdwatching and plenty of mangrove trees.

Oleta River State Park by Jimmy Baikovicius is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

Hiking in Everglades National Park

There's no place like the Florida Everglades, and the Everglades National Park is the perfect place to start your Everglades hiking adventure. As wild as the Everglades may seem, there are plenty of hiking trails the whole family can enjoy.

Hiking the Shark Valley Trail

A 1.5-hour drive straight west from Miami brings you to the Shark Valley Trail along the north entrance to Everglades National Park. This 15-mile paved loop circles deep into the Everglades. The gates at the Shark Valley Visitor Center are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center, at 36000 SW Eighth St., in Miami, opens at 9 a.m. and can be reached at 305-221-8776.

You can find alligators of all sizes sunbathing right along the edges of the trail, near water sources, so stay alert. You'll also find lizards, turtles, and wading birds such as herons, anhingas, and egrets. If you reach the Shark Valley Observation Tower at the seven-mile mark, you'll be rewarded with a commanding miles-wide view of the Everglades in all directions, as well as restrooms and water refill stations.

Hiking the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm

A less than two-hour drive southwest of Miami takes you to the southern entrance of Everglades National Park, near the head of the Anhinga Trail. This looping, paved trail is close to a mile long, with no cycling. The Ernst F. Coe Visitor Center, at 40001 State Road 9336, in Homestead, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April to mid-December but opens at 8 a.m. the rest of the year. You can call the Center at 305-242-7700.

The southern park entrance offers several hiking trails, but the Anhinga Trail gets you unusually close to its abundant wildlife. On the Anhinga trail, you'll have a front-row view of alligators, turtles, lizards, fish, herons, egrets, and anhinga birds.

SharkValleyAlligator by Mark Dobratz is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Hiking in Biscayne National Park


Although Biscayne National Park is known more for what's under its water, it also features a nice hiking trail starting a few miles north of the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, which the whole family can enjoy, and there are no entrance fees.

Hiking the Black Creek Canal Trail

A hiking trail runs along the Black Creek Canal at Black Point, across the water to the northeast of Black Point Marina, located at 24775 SW 87th Ave., in Homestead. The trail follows a spike of land that juts out into Biscayne Bay. The out-and-back trail totals 1.7-miles of a largely paved path, with no dogs allowed.

This trail is akin to hiking through a tunnel of trees with the bay on each side. The trail ends at the Colonial Bird Protection Area, an ideal place to see all kinds of Florida birds. It's also possible to see manatees in the water.

Enjoy your hikes in the beautiful world around Miami, and don't forget to bring something to take pictures with — you're going to be treasuring your memories of the hiking trails in Miami for a lifetime.

 cover image: Biscayne Bay, Cormorant by SEWinds is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0