When you talk about hiking, Miami isn’t the first city that comes to mind. The Magic City has vast concrete jungles, sure, but we’re also proud of our natural spaces. We’re home to Everglades National Park, as well as a number of state and city parks, many of which include great trails to get away from it all. For the sake of this article, we’re defining a hike as any cleared trail (or backcountry area) hidden amongst trees, mangroves, or wetlands, and where animals can be seen in their natural habitats. These spaces are best appreciated right now in the cooler, dry months from October up through about May, and avoided during the especially wet season between June and September, when puddles and mosquitoes abound.
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens) on a tree in Kendall Indian Hammocks park in Miami, Florida.
Spanning 10 city blocks, from 117th to 107th Avenues, Kendall Indian Hammocks Park is a popular spot for birthday parties and Frisbee golf. But it also has plenty of nature trails that tend to go ignored by the masses. Walk right in and venture through trees and bushes and the occasional spider or butterfly. The trails themselves are fairly easy to wander through, but you can always veer off course and see what awaits.
11395 SW 79th Street, Kendall; 305-596-9324
This 265-acre park in North Miami Beach once served as an old rock quarry. These days, folks come to enjoy a little peace and quiet along the water or underneath the shade of hardwood hammock forests. Spend some solo time in the various nature trails, often kept cool by the hanging trees. The only company you might encounter are iguanas, raccoons, and maybe a few birds.
17530 W. Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach; 305-945-3425
Located on FIU’s Modesto Maidique campus, this incredible piece of land is home to a number of fantastic trails. Students and staff have long used the 16-acre preserve as a place to destress from school. The preserve is home to three different ecosystems (tropical hardwood hammocks, pine rocklands and freshwater wetlands), as well as over 450 plant and animal species, making it a truly unique hiking experience.
11200 SW 8th Street, Sweetwater; 305-348-3717
Bill Sadowski Park may be small, but it offers plenty for nature lovers who simply want a momentary break from the city without actually having to leave it. Their nature preserve features three unique habitats, including tropical hardwood hammock, pineland and drained Everglades slough. It won’t take you very long to hike around their trails, but it’s perfect for those looking to inspire youngsters to start.
17555 SW 79th Ave., Palmetto Bay; 305-255-4767
While the Virginia Key trails are used more often for mountain biking, there’s no reason they can’t also be used for hiking. There are a few dirt mounds to climb which makes for a more interesting and enjoyable workout. And since the ocean is not far off, you also get a nice, cool breeze throughout.
Arthur Lamb Jr. Road, Virginia Key; 786-224-4777
Hialeah is a great place for hiking. Didn’t know that? Maybe you haven’t been out to Amelia Earhart Park, then. Featuring five miles of loop trail across 515 acres of land, you won’t encounter anything too rare here. Squirrels, ducks, garden snakes and plenty of trees abound, though. Just make sure to keep an eye out for bikes as many of these paths are shared.
401 E 65th Street, Hialeah; 305-685-8389
Located on the far south end of Miami Beach, South Pointe Park offers biking and running trails right along the beach. The area is relatively quiet compared to the rest of South Beach. Enjoy a jog or a relaxed stroll all the way to the jetty, then take a moment at the pier to watch enormous cruise ships pass you by. It’s also one of the few places in Miami to get a great view of the sunset.
1 Washington Avenue, South Beach; 305-673-7779
Many drive out to Crandon Park in Key Biscayne for the tranquil beaches, but there’s also plenty of hiking to be done here. Bear Cut Preserve features a number of waterfront trails where the sea breeze keeps you cool year-round. Start with a visit to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, then make your way through 3.5 miles of trail while in the shade of tropical trees. It all culminates at a fossil reef which gives way to a breathtaking view of Downtown Miami.
6767 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne; 305-361-6767
Oleta is the largest urban park in Florida, just south of North Miami Beach. It’s widely known for its trails for hikers, bikers and kayakers alike. Hike underneath shady trees, through rocky paths, past beautiful foliage and lots of gorgeous wood storks, herons, egrets, and other native birds. And don’t forget to bring a bathing suit so you can take a nice dip in the ocean once you’re done.
3400 NE 163rd Street, North Miami Beach; 305-919-1846
For those who want a more rugged hiking experience, there’s always the Everglades, Miami’s own natural wonderland. Here, you’ll discover dozens of miles of trails. Some are great for beginners, like the Anhinga Trail (under a mile), where beautiful water birds often congregate. If you’re more hardcore, though, go for an overnight backpacking trip along Long Pine Key, featuring 22 miles of connecting trails that’ll challenge you for hours and put you in the thick of it all.
40001 State Road 9336, Homestead; 305-242-7700