I got my first chance to hit the trails at Virginia Key Park’s North Point, and it was a great 6.5-miles in the sandy dirt. I rode one of the singletracks, a half-mile trail I called Pine Switchback, three times. It was fast, hard-packed and had two sweet upsy-downs.
Above, this version of the Virginia Key Master Plan shows the location of the MTB trails–the centerpiece of the 60-acre northern reach of Virginia Key.
All the volunteers who worked so hard to build these trails, including course designer Bernard “Frenchy” Riviere, did a great job–in about three months time for the whole project. The trails are well groomed, and did I mention, fast.
From the course, you get views of Fisher Island and Downtown Miami; I myself prefer the more forested view from Oleta River State Park or some of the other trails I’ve ridden in Central Florida, when I’m in the bike saddle. But the breeze from the bay definitely makes up for the condo-filled horizon and the nearby wastewater treatment plant. There are five-plus miles of novice, intermediate and advanced trails. Helmets are mandatory. Bring sunblock and mosquito spray (most importantly, the bug spray in summer!)
The Mountain Bike Trails on Virginia Key opened to the public February 20. The opening was great news for a project that faced a tough uphill political battle to clear aside the land, and would not have happened if not for all those who worked to win political support from local officials, and all the volunteers who worked to build the trail network. Here is a great video chronicling all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into construction of the trails. More than 2500 hours of volunteer work went into the project that took nine years of planning.
Combined with Virginia Key Tropical Hardwoods Hammock preserve further south on the key, these two jewels make Virginia Key a wonderful place for a weekend eco-adventure, and in my book one of the best places (period) in the Miami area. See my post on the Tropical Hammock preserve here, and this cool photo I took of a Gray Catbird in the preserve.