Shark Valley Bike Trail

Is Shark Valley the Most Dangerous Bike Route on Earth?

Shark Valley is such a fascinating spot in Everglades National Park. You can ride your bike alongside a pretty remarkable animal: the American alligator. It's all on this man-made bike and walking trail that cuts right through the marsh. Now, don't get me wrong, it might sound a bit risky, but trust me, encounters with alligators are pretty rare. However, you still have to be a bit cautious. If you find yourself in sunny Florida, this is definitely a unique excursion to check out.

The name Shark Valley can throw you off a bit. You will not find any sharks, but interestingly, you will find plenty of alligators. There's a walk and cycle path that's 24 km long. Just keep in mind you'll be pedalling for several hours, under the burning sun, and of course, amongst lots of wild animals. Who, by the way, are not really bothered by your presence.

What Does the Excursion Look Like?

When you get there, your best bet is to head to the visitor centre. You can gather all sorts of information about the route, the animals, and renting bikes, as well as tips on how to tackle this rather lengthy walk.

You most likely will also see young alligators at Shark Valley.

But, getting on your bike at Shark Valley is fun. And different. Keep your distance from the animals, who like to sunbathe by the side of the road. Get too close, and they will dive back into the water. But many of the animals are used to people and won't mind posing for a picture.

This excursion is perfect for taking photos and is a lot less boring than the tourist train (Shark Valley Tram) that also operates along the route. Halfway through, you will find a viewpoint overlooking this vast marshland. A good time to take a breather in the shade. And grab something to eat and drink. 

Cycling at Shark Valley in the Everglades.

What Animals Can Be Seen?

You see a whole bunch of alligators. In all kinds of sizes. Including animals that are three meters long. Sometimes they casually cross the path. Don't get to close.

It's also a great place to see countless birds that live in the marsh. Like vultures, different types of herons and cormorants. And tons of little birds, just look. Oh, and snakes are regularly spotted too. The same goes for several species of turtles.

Where Does The Name Shark Valley Come From?

The name comes from the Shark River Slough. This is the large body of slow moving water coming down out of Lake Okeechobee. This river is the primary source of water for the Everglades.

Best Time for the Everglades

The Everglades basically has two seasons: the dry 'tourist season' (November to May) and the season of 'mosquitoes and sand fleas' (June to October). The dry 'tourist season' also means it can get busy. Especially excursions can quickly be fully booked.

But actually, you can visit all year round. Spring is the best time because there are also a lot of migratory birds. But in every season, you will come across a surprisingly large number of wild animals.

The best time to go is in the early morning. That's when the animals are still very active. As it gets warmer, more alligators come out of the water to sunbathe, while the cormorants dry their wings. The excursion is long enough to experience all of this.

More information: Shark Valley

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