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!
This ride includes Dora's favorite gravel trails and unique attractions that can be found just outside Everglades National Park.
While it isn't a guarantee that you will see wildlife, if you start in the early morning or end your ride closer to sunset you can usually catch sight of some deer and lots of birds.
You will bike through about 10 miles of the Aerojet Dade Rocket Facility, an abandoned rocket testing and manufacturing facility. It is full of colorful graffiti and makes for a fun photo op!
Robert Is Here Fruit Stand (see more below) is the mid-way stop where you can take a bio-break as well as enjoy some local South Florida Produce. It is a family-owned and operated fruit stand that specialize in rare & exotic fruits and vegetables, mostly grown right there on the farm. Although the location started off as a literal Fruit Stand located on the side of the road, it has grown into a complete tourist destination equipped with an animal farm, play area and picnic tables.
While not usually found in the northern section of these trails, the sector that goes into AeroJet (south of Ingraham Highway) may be swarmed with deer flies in the hotter months.
Florida sunshine, wind, heat and humidity can make this route harder than expected. Avoid riding mid-day, especially during the summer to prevent overheating. (Dora recommends a bike helmet with visor or wearing a cycling cap/visor underneath your helmet. Come prepared with a hydration pack or at least 2-3 bottles of water or sports hydration like Skratch. Don't forget to wear and reapply sunscreen and lip protection too!)
Do this ride if want to experience an eco-system unique to the Everglades which includes unique birds and tropical plants. The elevation profile is flat, so this makes for a fun beginner ride, or it can be ridden hard at an endurance pace.
Many of these trails can be prone to flooding, so avoid riding this route after rain storms.
While mosquitoes are normally not a huge nuisance, wear or pack bug repellent, especially if riding before sunrise or near/after sunset.
This ride includes a stop at Robert Is Here Fruit Stand, an iconic landmark in South Florida and a must stop on any trip to/from the Florida Keys. Make sure to order a shake and then head out back to experience their petting zoo. You will also find plenty of port-a-potties, hand washing stations and shaded tables. If a shake isn't your thing, don't worry, local South Florida produce is plentiful, as are other treats- all of which the staff is happy to cut up/slice so you can share with your riding buddies.
This ride starts and ends at the Everglades National Park Ernest Coe Visitors Center, where parking is free. They also have bathrooms (with plumbing) and a guest shop where you can buy refreshments, snacks and insect repellent. Hours may vary by season, so do check their website for current operating hours.
There are exciting hiking trails (some you can even ride) inside the park, so if you have enough time, your admission fee is good for 1-week and also includes entrance to Shark Valley National Park where you can ride a 15-mile paved loop alongside Florida alligators.
If you don't have time to visit the actual park, save time before or after your ride to visit the The Ernest Coe Visitor Center for the Everglades National Park. Admission to the visitors center is free, and it offers educational displays, orientation films and informational brochures about the flora, fauna, and history of Everglades, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve. In addition, there are special art collections by local artists often displayed.
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!