This route and photos are brought to you by Dora Suarez, aka Dora the Graveling Explorer.
She was one of the winners of our 2021 5-star Route Challenge and became a Gravel Bike Adventures' Ambassador for us in 2022!
You get to experience this area of Florida's unique eco-system while on gravel trails and two wheels. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve is the largest state park in Florida and is home to a variety of plant and animal species that can be found nowhere else in the continental U.S.
You are sure to see an abundance of Florida wildlife. On our last visit we spotted deer, mink, maybe a bear, and lots of gators. In previous trips we've seen a variety of birds.
This is a scenic and flat route with shady trails and picnic tables in various spots along the way- perfect for beginner to intermediate gravel riders!
Heat and humidity can sneak up on you. Plan to start your rides as close to the park opening as you can and avoid riding during peak afternoon hours and summer months.
There is no water resupply en route, so pack enough water and remember it gets HOT.
While wildlife is one of the main attractions on this ride, you need to be cautious and respectful of the animals in their space. Bears, panthers and other large creatures inhabit this area. However, most prevalent and not uncommon to see alongside the trails, are the gators. Most of the time you don't realize they are there and they usually scatter when they hear you coming. Once in a while they may claim a spot in the middle of the trail, so be alert as you ride. These animals are not interested in us, but if provoked, they could pose a threat. (Remember that while they look slow, they can reach speeds up to 35 mph on land and 20mph in water!)
Do this ride for a truly unique Florida gravel biking experience on two wheels.
This route starts from the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve main parking area.
The parking fee is on the honor system. Pay parking at the main gate and obtain your receipt.
Be sure to check the park website for current fees, but at the time of my visit it was $3/car up to 8 passengers and $2/cyclist/hiker.
(There's limited parking inside the park gate, but there is also plenty of parking in the gravel lot opposite from the main gate.)
There are two shady picnic tables near the parking lot, as well as a large bathroom and a water refill station at the start.
The visitors center was closed for renovation at the time this was posted, but we were told they don't normally sell refreshments or snacks, so make sure to pack enough food and water for your ride, and pack a cooler if you want to enjoy a casual post-ride picnic.
The park opens at 8:00 am and closes at sunset. Besides parking and bathrooms, there are no other amenities once you are out on the trails.
Share the trails. Always yield to hikers and wildlife. Pack it in, pack it out.
Read more about Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and we recommend making a day out of your visit.
Because of the heat and sun, Dora recommends: sun sleeves or plenty of sunscreen, a cycling helmet with a visor or cycling cap under your helmet, and a hydration pack for enough water.
Some of the trails have more exposed roots and can be slippery, especially after rain. Wider tires and grippier treads are suggested.
Everglades City not far away and has several restaurants to choose from. We had riders with a mix of dietary preferences and were happy with the service and offerings at Island Cafe.
I’m Dora the Graveling Explorer from Miami, Florida. My passion for cycling started in 2015, just before I turned 50, when I joined Miami’s Everglades Bicycle Club. I started road cycling with EBC where I learned and established the foundation for safe riding skills in groups and solo adventures. EBC set me on course, they inspired me to give back to the community where I served as a Ride Leader, Ride-Leader trainer and board-member from 2016-2019. In that time, the acquisition of a MTB led me to seek and explore off-road adventures. By February 2020, I discovered a passion for gravel cycling and purchased my 2020 Topstone Cannondale 105. Little did we know the world was about to change! My bike has provided me the opportunity to meet amazing like mind gravelers and inspired me to create and build Dora and the Graveling Explorers, a community where I can share routes and adventures to inspire all, especially, more women + families to go on bike adventures.
So if your adventure’s bring you South, look me up and let’s explore!