This route is 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 Ambassador for us in 2022!
Photo and video credits: Dora Suarez
This route includes scenic gravel cycling through dwarf cypress forest, pine forests and hardwood hammocks of Big Cypress National Preserve.
Expect to see lot's of wildlife, especially birds and gators.
The route is on serene, quiet and peaceful gravel roads located off Tamiami Trail about mid-way between Miami FL & Naples FL, thus accessible from East or West coast.
The roads are mostly smooth gravel with only light washboards, so its a great route for all levels of riders.
The route is remote, hot and humid. Additionally, there is no potable water on trail, so come prepared with extra water and a hydration pack.
Mosquitoes are very common at sunrise/sunset or in shaded areas when standing still.
This is flat trail, so pace yourself! There is no coasting downhill, so you will be pedaling the entire 40-some miles.
While not necessarily a low, you should know that it is common to ride by gators basking in the sun along the roadside.
Do this ride if you are looking for a great scenic Everglades gravel ride and are willing to drive approximately 1-2 hours from Miami or Naples FL. It is a perfect route for all levels of cyclists.
Visiting Big Cypress National Preserve is an exciting experience, but you'll want to be prepared for the weather, road conditions, and wildlife.
It is generally hot and very sunny, so I highly recommend wearing Pactimo Cycling Cap & Sun Sleeves.
It is suggested to ride this route in the Fall, Winter or Spring, but avoid Summer months as it is Florida's rainy season when some roads might be flooded and high humidity makes for uncomfortable riding conditions.
Scenic Loop Road is located off Tamiami Trail at the entrance to the old Monroe Station which is about 4 miles west of the Oasis Visitor Center at Big Cypress National Preserve. Turn onto Loop Road and continue on the gravel road for about 2-3 miles until you reach the Gator Hook Trailhead- our suggested parking place. There is a vault toilet and 1 picnic shelter at the trailhead parking lot.
Traveling from Miami to Loop Road, you may want to stop at the Miccosukee General Store, this is a convenience store + gas station located about half way. It's a convenient place to grab some cold drinks and snacks on your way to/from the ride start.
We also recommend a stop at the Oasis Visitor Center. It's a great place for a potty break, and if the Information Center is open, you can pick up some additional waters, gatorades, sun screen and bug repellent.
Leave some flexibility in your schedule and plan to spend some time away from the city. There are lots of activities besides biking to be done in this area. Visiting the NPS website for more information. If you are planning to camp there are several campgrounds in the area, but many are seasonal and require advance reservations.
If you want to explore other cycling areas nearby check-out Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve & Picayune Strand State Forest. The latter however may be more suited for fat tires over gravel bikes.
Not far is Everglades City where you can find restaurants, lodging and more opportunities for Florida adventures.
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!