Shark Valley Trail

Miami, Florida 33174

Shark Valley Trail

Shark Valley Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Hike, bike, or ride a tram on a paved trail through a vast Everglades marsh. The trail is a nature photographer’s playground.

The trailhead is at the west end of the parking lot by the canal. If you are a birder, you will want to hike or bike slowly with frequent stops. Typical birds to look for include common moorhens, egrets, herons, anhingas, and red-shouldered hawks. Specialty birds include snail kites, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, purple gallinules, least bitterns, American bitterns, limpkins, and rails. Black-crowned night herons and yellow-crowned night herons can also be seen here, even during the daytime. Look also for warblers, vireos, and other migratory birds from fall through spring.

Alligators are common along the trail and baby alligators can be seen seasonally, often crowded together in groups with their protective mothers nearby. Watch for water snakes, including venomous cottonmouth moccasins, along with various species of freshwater turtles. Fish abound in the canal along the trail."

Shark Valley Trail Trip Reports

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This is a paved trail with two very small side trails. It is best when hiked at very early hours of the morning. Excellent wildlife watching spots. Very clean and well-maintained. The mid-point is at the Observation Tower, where you will enjoy excellent views of the Preserve. Try to visit during the month of November and be prepared to literally walk with gators. Right now the temperature is too hot, so there's humidity, thumb-sized bugs, and fewer gators out. We had an encounter with a gator that hissed at us on one of the trails. Take the tram tour! it's worth the $15! Overall a good visit.
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If you are interested in the 'glades, Shark Valley is not to be missed. The description in the caption is accurate. Basically, the trail is a single-lane asphalt road straight out into the 'glades so that you are in the heart of the swamp at the observation tower. Most of the people (and many of the gators) are found in the first mile; after that, the road is usually open, except for when the tram comes by. The best way to see the trail is by bike, so that you can stop where you want. As with the other Everglades spots, this trail rewards close observation. From the observation tower you get a sense of just how vast the 'glades were.
Be sure to bring bug repellent and stay clear of the gators, especially in the winter when they like to lie on the road and sun themsevles.
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This is a paved trail that is a complete loop of about 15 miles through the everglades. You will definitely see alligators on this ride, whether off in the swamp or possibly even lounging in the middle of the road! At about the mid-point there is a great big tower from which you can get an incredible panoramic view of the whole area (and see a good number of gators, birds, etc.) If you go in the late evening or at night you should park outside of the park's front gate to avoid them locking your car inside (not good!). Bring friends (or even your mom) because it is a fun ride and easy enough for anyone to complete... pack a lunch and refreshments to picnic at the tower for a while.

Shark Valley Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day Trip
Everglades National Park
Local Contacts

Trail Log