10 Wild & Breathtaking Hikes in Miami for All Levels
By Kay Rodriguez
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Updated November 10, 2022
Despite what you may know about the city, Miami isn’t just high-rises and wetlands. This coastal city has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and the best part is you don’t have to go far to get to them. We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best places to go hiking near Miami, ranging from small city parks, to secluded treks along the 1,000 mile Florida trail. Read on to see our favorite hikes near Miami!
An all-year round easy trail, the Shark Valley Trail will take you deep into the Everglades for a stunning escape into the natural wildlife of southern Florida. It’s entirely paved, making this trek accessible for everyone. Be mindful that bikers will share the road with you. There is a ton of wildlife here. Visitors frequently see dozens of alligators alone. Turtles, lizards, blue herons, and other tropical birds live in the area, making this prime wildlife territory. This is one of the best opportunities for long distance hiking near Miami.
At the halfway point of the trail is an observation tower that offers panoramic views. We recommend turning back after this point as the trail can get quite hot and there’s almost no shade past the tower. Those looking to get their miles in can continue for even more wildlife viewing. Visitors are also able to take airboat tours and see the trail from a different perspective.
Check out this gorgeous video of Everglades National Park for a sneak peek of what you can expect!
Trail Distance: 1.5 mile loop
Location: Everglades National Park, four miles west of the main entrance
Named after the bird native to the region, Anhinga Trail is the easiest and quickest way to immerse yourself inside the everglades. The hike is a short and easy trek that will expose you to all the wildlife and scenery the national park has to offer. You are practically guaranteed to see alligators along this trail. The wildlife is this area is used to human presence and will generally be easily photographed without the chance of you disturbing its natural habitat. Keep an eye out for the giant lizards and turtles as well!
The trail is one of the better maintained hikes near Miami and you’ll find yourself walking on a raised, boarded trail the entire length. The trek goes directly over the wetlands. Make sure to bring bug spray. We recommend going near the end of the day or early in the morning to get the best temperatures.
Also, no Miami hikes would be complete without some delicious snacks. Pack some granola bars in your fanny pack (check out our complete guide if you don’t have one!) and enjoy the salty sweetness as you take in the beautiful Everglades.
Location: Metheson Hammock Park, located near Coral Gables
In case you didn’t know, a Hammock in Florida refers to an island made up of hardwood trees. The short trail at Metheson Hammock Park allows you see the remnants of an old hammock that sat near modern day Miami. This trail is rarely crowded and will let you get deep into a tropical rainforest. You’ll see caves, sinkholes, and old limestone buildings along this hike. The trails aren’t well marked so take care to avoid getting lost. In general, the deeper into the forest you go, the more rugged the terrain will get. This hike near Miami is perfect for those wanting to completely escape the city and take in nature completely.
Tropical woods, butterflies, and tiny lizards inhabit this cute little park located near Fort Lauderdale. Like many of the other state park trails on this list, this hike can be extended by taking some of the offshoot paths away from the main trail. Dogs are allowed here, so take your furry friends along with you!
The trail is a relatively easy trek. Visitors can stick to the main paved loop bath around the outside of the park or venture in deeper among the trees through dirt paths. It may feel easy to get lost in these trails given the dense concentration of trees and vegetation here, so be sure to pick up the trail maps at the park entrance. One of the most gorgeous parts of this trail is the natural archway created by the vegetation surrounding you as you walk along the main path, making this one of the most beautiful options for hiking near Miami.
Oleta River State Park
Trail Distance: 1.9 mile loop
Location: Oleta River State Park located North of Miami
Primarily used by mountain bikers, the trails at Oleta River State Park offer a moderate challenge for hikers looking to escape from the city. Although the official trail is measured at just shy of 2 miles, it’s possible to extend this by taking one of the various offshoot paths along the main trail. You’ll hike along a narrow dirt path surrounded by trees and cross over several bridges and boulders. It’s easy to forget you’re in the city when you’re here.
This trek does offer its share of challenges. The trail is shared by mountain bikers, meaning you’ll have to be alert at all times. Additionally, trail finding can be difficult if you veer off the main path, but the natural beauty of the place is worth it. This is one of the best places to get lost while hiking near Miami.
Black Creek Canal Trail
Trail Distance: 1.7 miles out and back
Location: Biscayne National Park
An underrated and often overlooked trail, the BlacK Creek Canal Trail takes you along the shore of Biscayne National Park. The trek stretches out to the Colonial Bird Protection Area, offering an excellent location to see wildlife and bird watch. You’ll start along a paved trail that will quickly transition into dirt and sand. Learn about the surrounding area through the many information panels along the hike.
Come here for an early sunrise hike to see the sun come out over the water. Make sure to bring bug spray as the mosquitos can get quite hungry during the cooler temperatures. Even though it’s located within a national park, Biscayne is completely free and open to the public! 95% of the park is actually underwater. The part that is above sea level is a mesmerizing mangrove forest. This makes this trail one of the most unique options for hiking near Miami.
Make sure to bring water shoes along on this hike so you can dip your toes in the water!
Location: Take the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne. Continue onto Crandon Blvd all the way to the end. The trailhead starts here.
Take a stroll along the coastline of the beautiful Key Biscayne. This trail will take you through a secluded park not far from the city where you can see mangroves, sea grapes, and wildflowers. The hike is 3 miles and takes you around a loop, but it can be extended for up to 4 miles if you go down each branching path.
The trail itself is fairly easy with virtually no elevation change and is mostly dirt. You’ll see tranquil, clear, blue waters throughout most of the hike. At the northern most point of the trail, you’ll come across a lone, white lighthouse that has been standing for almost 200 years. Visitors can enter the lighthouse for free and experience panoramic views of Miami beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
Locals recommend doing this hike before noon to take advantage of the shade. We also recommend bug spray if the weather is cooler. During the Fall and Spring, you can see thousands of migrating birds from this trail. As with any trail in South Florida, watch out for snakes and other wildlife. Since the trail is located inside a state park, there is an entrance fee, but it is relatively cheap and annual passes to all the state parks are available to purchase here.
Location: Located inside Florida International University’s campus just north of the football stadium.
Located in the heart of the FIU campus in Miami, this 14 acre nature preserve is a perfect hidden recluse. It was originally established in the ’70s as an outdoor teaching lab for the biology department. It now hosts several endangered species of fauna inside its central pine rockland area. There’s a dirt jogging path along the outer perimeter of the preserve, but you can venture deep inside the park through the dirt nature trails. Although it’s a relatively small trail, you will see an incredible diversity of plants and animals here – over 450 in total!
Bear Cut Preserve Nature Trail
Trail Distance: 2.2 mile loop
Location: Take the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne. The trailhead is near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center.
Head out to Key Biscayne for an easy trek along the natural bay-front. One of the shorter Miami hikes in length, this trial will take you to the shoreline under the shade of tropical trees. You’ll be able to hear the waves of the ocean hitting the sandy beach nearby. This calming walk lets you cross through several beaches and see sandy dunes. The northern most point of the trail is a viewpoint of the fossilized reef, a collection of 6,000 year old mangrove tree fossils that have since formed a coral reef. We recommend this as one of the best closest options for hiking near Miami.
The Florida trail is a 1,000 mile trek that starts in Big Cypress National Preserve at the southern tip of Florida and extends all the way up to Pensacola Beach. Most of the trail is undeveloped and unpaved. This is a must for serious backpackers and hikers. If you are looking for a little taste of the longer trail, start at the Tamiami Trail rest stop and head about 30 miles north to I-75.
This trail will take you through some truly secluded wilderness. Although most websites rate it as moderate in difficulty, we recommend that only experienced backpackers attempt overnight trips. Depending on the time of year, the trail can either be extremely hot and dry, or wet and muddy. Make sure you have proper gear including water proof boots. The trail will take you through untouched wetlands. Beware of poison ivy and snakes. This is your best option for long distance hiking near Miami.
Additional Resources for Hiking Near Miami
What to Bring Hiking in Miami
Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.
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