Hit the Trails

Walk, jog, skate, or cycle in paradise

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Photo by Arek Adeoye via Unsplash

Lee County

Boca Grande Bike Path

Discover Gasparilla Island’s soothing beaches, upscale eateries, shopping, and nautical history along this paved, 6-mile trail that travels the length of the barrier island. Bring your sunscreen and your wallet: Use of the trail is free, but the causeway crossing and sites along the route charge fees. From the south shore, you can begin at the state park and visit the museum. From the north, there are many Gasparilla Sound overlooks. Whichever direction you choose, the scenic trail reaches central Boca Grande. Note: Golf carts share this trail.

Caloosahatchee Regional Park

This 768-acre park offers an outdoor escape along the Caloosahatchee River. It has interconnecting trails that make up 3.4 miles of hiking, with bicycles permitted on many of the trails. The Overlook Trail is wheelchair-accessible. The park is also home to the more rugged and adventurous North Side Mountain Bike & Equestrian Trails (Parking lot three at 18251 North River Road, Alva) boasting 10 miles of rutty trails.

Cape Haze Pioneer Trail

When you travel the nearly eight-mile Cape Haze Pioneer Trail, you’re tracing the line that once serviced Florida’s early phosphate industry and moved people, livestock, and local produce to steamships in Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. The fairly straight and flat rail-trail originating near Charlotte Beach has multiple access points and three trailheads. The northern trailhead boasts ample parking, water, and restrooms.

Estero Bay Preserve State Park

Off-road cycling is permitted at the Estero River Scrub Trails, however, bicycles are not permitted at the Winkler Point Trails. The Estero River Scrub Trails provide about 10 miles of sand, gravel, and dirt-surfaced paths. Riders are prohibited from traversing the salt flats.

John Yarbrough Linear Park Trail

Stretching from Colonial Boulevard to Six Mile Cypress Parkway, this six-mile, paved trail rolls alongside the Ten Mile Canal. Covered picnic tables provide shelter. Parking is located at the southern end of the trail, on the south side of Daniels Parkway.

McGregor Boulevard

This stately, palm-lined thoroughfare in the city of Fort Myers is flanked by parallel pathways for exercisers of all types. Stay on the sidewalk of the 14.6-mile-long road that runs parallel to the Caloosahatchee River or veering into established neighborhoods leading to the river. There are many commercial places to park in downtown Fort Myers.

Pine Island Bike Path

This 13.7-mile path spans the island along Stringfellow Road from York Road in St. James City to Barrancas Avenue in Bokeelia. Parking is located at Phillips Park (5675 Sesame Drive) at Pine Island Center.

Sanibel Island

The world-class island is well-known for its generous paths along the island’s main streets separated from traffic by grassy medians. Entering the island from the causeway, Periwinkle Way is the main thoroughfare, offering access to the Sanibel Lighthouse, restaurants, and shops. Look for the brightly colored Sanibel Island Visitors Center (1159 Causeway Road) shortly after arriving on the island to pick up trip-planning information.

COLLIER COUNTY

 

Bird Rookery Swamp Trail

The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail offers 12 miles of hiking and biking trails. A quarter-mile, crushed-shell path leads to a 1,500-foot boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility, then the trails become ground-level, relatively flat berms with swamp on both sides. This site is part of the public-private, nonprofit CREW Land & Water.

Collier-Seminole State Park

The century-old Historic Marco Road was the original route between Miami and Marco Island. Today it is part of Collier-Seminole State Park and a 3.5-mile segment welcomes hikers and bikers to its marsh, hammock, and pine flatwood habitat. The off-road trail is grass and dirt, which can get muddy in rainy months. The park rents bikes for both.

Gordon River Greenway

This 1.9-mile, paved, shared-use path through a 126-acre natural area in the heart of Naples is silky pavement measuring 12 feet wide and winding through a mixture of palm trees, pine flatwoods, and scrubland. The trail is interspersed with elevated boardwalk sections over wetlands. Several access points with parking, bike racks, restrooms, shaded benches, and drinking fountains make the trail doable for most ages and abilities.

Janes Scenic Drive/West Main Trail

Janes Scenic Drive through Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park qualifies as off-roading even though it is accessible by car. The 12-mile (one-way) dirt road provides access to off-road trails—elevated tram roads once used in logging operations. The trail (also known as West Main Trail) passes through a section of the strand’s variety of habitats, including bald cypress stands, swamps, and prairies. Wildlife sightings are common. The flora is rich, with 44 native species of orchids and 14 species of bromeliads. Fakahatchee Strand is west of Copeland on S.R. 29.

Lovers Key State Park

More than five miles of off-road trails lead you to some of the park’s best secrets. A park naturalist leads a free, three-mile Black Island Bike Tour about once a month during season.

Marco Island

Marco Island occupies 12.1 square miles of land, making it the perfect size to explore on two wheels. Wide, shared-use paths throughout the island take cyclists past historic and archaeological sites, shopping centers, and cultural and community destinations. The elevation of Marco Island is zero feet, though steepish elevations will be encountered in older neighborhoods built atop Calusa shell mounds.

Rich King Memorial Greenway

Rich King Memorial Greenway offers a paved, north-south, three-mile route along the east side of Naples. There is no designated parking lot; visitors park in area commercial or church lots. Trail end points are located at Rattlesnake Hammock Road and Radio Road (C.R. 856).

Rules of the Road

For bicyclists and pedestrians

Be prepared to share the road courteously. In Florida, cyclists on roadways or bike lanes are considered vehicles by state law and must follow the same rules.

Obey all traffic laws, including stopping at STOP signs or red lights.

Ride in the same direction as other traffic—on the road and on the sidewalk.

Stay alert. Don’t wear headphones.

Be predictable. Don’t swerve in and out of traffic. Be sure to use hand signals.

Do not ride more than two abreast. As a courtesy, allow motorists to pass when they are lined up behind you.

Be visible. Wear bright colors and make sure your bike has front and rear lights.

Wear a helmet. Helmets must be worn until the age of 16, by state law.

Light up. Lamps must be used on bikes after sunset.

For more options, maps, and resources:

BikeWalkLee: bikewalklee.org

Conservation Collier Preserve Trails: colliergov.net

CREW Land & Water Trust: crewtrust.org

Florida State Parks: floridas​tateparks.org

Gordon River Greenway: gordonrivergreenway.org

Lee County Conservation 20/20 Preserve Trails: leegov.com

Naples Pathway Coalition: naplespathways.org

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: traillink.com

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