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|Trail Image||Trail Name||States||Length||Surface||Rating|
The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) is planned to stretch 106 miles along the length of the Florida Keys, from Key Largo to Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United...
|FL||90 mi||Asphalt, Concrete||
We just got finished with riding the FKOHT in it’s entirety. We did it in sections and enjoyed having done it this way. It is a beautiful ride but like others have said, carry lots of water and sunscreen. We were quite surprised in some areas because the trail seemed to have ended. There are very few signs that indicate you are on the FKOHT, in fact we didn’t see any. Better signage would be a benefit and an indicator that the trail has switched sides or whether or not the trail route is on the berm of the road would be helpful. Also, a terminal marker in Key Largo is needed. We couldn’t tell where it started in Key Largo so we just hopped on. Regardless, we had a wonderful time and have great memories
I have just returned home after completing the 106 miles from Key Largo to Key West. After reading some of the reviews here I was a bit concerned with making this trip. While I agree that there are a number of surfaces you ride along the way that include sidewalks, trails, and roads, I found all quite manageable and safe. There is debris in spots especially on bridges but nothing more than I find riding my local roads. If you haven’t ridden on busy roads prior this probably is not the trip for you. We woke up early and crossed the Seven Mile Bridge around 7 am on a Friday and traffic wasn’t too bad. There is a big enough shoulder that you can maneuver around debris and still be safe. In the end The trail exceeded my expectations and I look forward to doing this trip again in January.
Does not qualify as trail. A good portion of it is just a sidewalk, you share most of the bridges with 60mph vehicles, unprotected, riding over debris. It is extremely noisy and stressful. The path crosses us1 at random spots. On a busy day it can take you up to 10 minutes. Long key bridge (a separate 2.2 miles of pedestrian/fishermen/bicycle only) would have been great if only it weren’t full of trash. Skip this one altogether. Not worth your like.
Rode out and back from north key West motel. Only have to cross US1 once going under a bridge. Nearly the entire ride is trail although there is 100 yards or so along the busy highway. Best parts are water views and bridges. Light to moderate bike traffic. Probably safest part of riding along US1 in the Keys. Stopped at Baby’s Coffee (very busy) then headed back.
We just rode from Key Largo to key Wat and has a great ride. The only reason I do not give the trail 5 stars is that there is a good deal of hurricane related impact on the trail and not many good sources to see just where this impact is. The good news is that there is always the option of riding on the Overseas Highway Bike Path. If you don't mind being on the road, it is excellent. Some of the off Highway paths are sensational. There are dedicated channel bike bridges, but many are not open. Be sure to look at signs for "no outlet" before you cross one of these bridges. The Channel 5 bike bridge does NOT go through. I found ample space on the side of the road for biking on the bridges. Some in our party did not. The 7 mile bridge is both exhilarating and terrifying. Uber is a viable option for the weak at heart. There is a lot of debris on the paths. Our group had 4 nail related flat tires. The amenities are great along the way and there are bike shops along the way. Riding from Key West to Key Largo, the head wind was a factor. We all agreed that we would do the trail again.
With winter approaching and freezing temperatures at home it seemed like the ideal time to cycle the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. This 106.5 mile Rail-Trail offers a scenic tropical bicycling adventure without leaving the continental United States.
The trail runs on Henry Flagler’s old railroad from mile marker 106 in Key Largo to mile marker 0 in Key West, Florida parallel to US Route 1. While more than 75 miles of the rail-trail were paved, several large sections of the trail and bridges were recently damaged by hurricane Irma. Unfortunately, much of the damage has not been repaired yet. As a result, cyclists are forced on to the roadway on bike lanes or narrow shoulders with the usual road debris and hazards. I did experience a flat.
So, riders beware! Although this trail is classified as a rail trail, it is not for the faint of heart when it comes to riding on the road. Expect a lot of road cycling on a busy highway with cars and large trucks speeding by alongside of you. In addition, the trail continually changes from side to side along US Route 1 forcing cyclists to cross the highway.
My wife and I took the trip together and really enjoyed it. We started at Key Largo by parking our vehicle (free of charge with advance arrangements) at the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce/Visitor's Center. We unloaded our bikes here and started at 6 AM pedaling south from mile marker 106. We were in Key West at 4 PM. Other than a few blinding rainstorms, the trip was uneventful. We enjoyed an extra day and night in Key West, then headed north. Knowing that wind conditions are tougher going north, we planned the return trip in 2 days - smart planning! 50 miles into the 20-25 mph winds was all we wanted to tackle in one day. All along the way, you'll find great little restaurants, shops, etc. On the way north, we decided not to tempt our fate a second time on the 7 mile bridge. Here's a secret...the Lower Keys has a bus service with stops scattered all throughout the Keys. Buses have bike racks on them, and for just a few bucks you can put your bike on the bus and ride across the 7 mile bridge, or through any other areas that you wish not to bike. One more tip...we took a long time in advance studying Google Earth satellite and street views to get a good idea of what we were up against. Very good tool to help you see the bike path, bridges, etc.
I was pleased to also see a bit of construction going on as well on the bridges. Yes, several of the bridges are closed as other posts have pointed out, but it's all about finding the funds for these infrastructure projects. I will look forward to the day when the trail is complete and bikers can be totally separate from traffic.
All in all, it was a great 212 mile trip (less 10 miles on the bus!)...if you like biking in a tropical environment, this may be the trail for you.
This is my first time biking the Overseas Heritage Trail and I normally don't bike anywhere besides dedicated bike trails. I biked the trail on Thu/Fri April 20-21.
I had my wife drop me off in Key Largo on day 1 and I biked to Marathon. The bike trail and lanes were really well thought out and the few times I had to cross the street really were not a big deal. Just waited for an ebb to the traffic and easy peasy. I was happily surprised at how wide the bike lanes were.
Day 2 started with biking over the 7-mile bridge and for the most part of this ride, I rode on the oncoming side of the road. This part of the ride did not have as many miles of dedicated bike trails and a number of the pedestrian bridges were closed forcing me to bike over the bridges. I had no issues with this as there was more than enough space (4-6+ ft) keeping me away from cars. There were a number of sections of this part of the trail where I had to ride on the road/curb but for the most part, I typically had a 4+ ft curb. My preference is to ride against oncoming traffic (on the curb or bike lane) as I feel if someone swerves off the road, I at least will see it and have time to get out of the way. I made sure to keep a blinking light on the front and rear of the bike and the two times I saw a car start swerving onto the curb, they immediately corrected as I assume they saw me and my blinking light. Both drivers had their cell phone in their hand as they passed.
I used the comments on this site to prepare for the ride and hope my comments provide help for others. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and most likely will bike the entire trip in one day the next time.
My wife and I completed the Florida Keys trail in late January, 2017. We did the ride in four days while enjoying stops to various Keys for the evenings. It was a great experience as we concluded our trip with two days in Key West. However, like many have reviewed on this site, expect a lot of road biking with car zooming around you. Overall I would estimate road cycling at about 80-85% with the remainder being nice trails for bikers/walkers. My wife is a bit hesitant for doing rides on roads. The good news is she is glad she did it...however if she had known the road activity she would have passed on this trip. The following recaps our trip for your consideration:
-Rented the bikes from All Keys Cycles in Key Largo. Nice guys with older but very well conditioned bikes. Bikes came with a tube and CO2 pump. It was needed as we did get one flat. All Keys Cycles picked up our bike in Key West. Bikes are hybrids, highly recommended. Don't suggest road bikes unless you stay on the road 100%.
-First day biked from Key Largo to Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada. Very nice resort with reasonable prices. Highly recommend. We stopped for a drink at Marker 88, nice stop with great views. About 22 miles this day.
-Day two Islamorada to Marathon. Longer ride around 35 miles. We wanted to get to Marathon to take on 7 Mile Bridge early in the morning. Stop in to Angler and Ale for lunch on Duck Key-awesome. In Marathon stayed at Tranquility Bay Resort. Nice resort with a bar great views of the gulf.
-Day Three, started at sunrise to take on 7 Mile Bridge. Start early for less traffic. There was still a significant amount of traffic with a narrow bike lane. No issues, the fastest my wife went all week. :) Destination was Ramrod Key, Looe Resort, about 22 miles. We got there around 10a, room unavailable until 3pm. Very little to do in lower keys unless you are a fishermen or diver. We are neither. Nice folks with "retro" accommodations.
-Day Four, destination Key West. Great ride from Ramrod Key, mostly trail with a few surprises of trail endings...then back on Highway 1. Around a 30 mile ride. Stayed at Saint Hotel an Autograph Selection hotel of Marriott. Used my points. Great location on Eaton street and a secret exit for Duvall street. Highly recommended. We enjoyed a couple days and drinks in Key West with no more biking.
-Saturday walked over to Enterprise to pick up our rental car for a day. Drove to Ft. Lauderdale airport.
In sum, a great experience. If you are comfortable on the road, a Highway...go for it. We are glad we did but wouldn't do it again. BTW, you go over 43 bridges.
Lets continue to help Rails To Trails so maybe some dollars can be allocated in advancing the Keys Trail.
I just completed the ride from Key Largo to Key West for the 2nd year in a row and this year a friend joined me. We both are experienced bike riders who ride about 2000-3000 miles a year in our home states of MA and NY. We enjoyed the ride, but have a few concerns relative as to why the signage is very limited. Also, I'm asking the same question that others have asked in reviews - why are the some of the rebuilt bridges for bikers and walkers closed and there are no signs to let you know this until you get to the bridge (many times having to cross the road) and find them locked. This happened four times during the trip before we decided to stay o the the left hand side, riding facing traffic for the last 25 miles to Key West (knowing that all the bridges are on the Northbound side). More signage to alert bikers of bridges that are closed would make this ride much safer.
We did the complete ride and rode across all bridges including the 7 mile bridge with no problems. However, everyone should consider the wind conditions, especially when riding over the 7 mile bridge. If it's too windy, avoid it until a calmer day. We had no tire problems and my wife dropped us off at the starting point each day and then picked us up. We averaged 25-35 miles a day with 2 - 3 hours of riding time a day. If we do this again, we will do it in 3 days - we are 70 years old and had no problem with the ride.
We hope that the FDOT will prioritize safety for this trail for everyone. Proper signage is most important as this keeps bikers from crossing the road when it's not necessary.
This trail goes through one of the most unique and beautiful parts
of the U.S. and we enjoyed riding over the bridges to see the amazing views of the water. Happy and safe biking!
I pedaled from Fort Clinch to Key West along route 1 and A1A last week. I've heard about unsafe conditions along the Overseas Heritage Trail, but found this not to be true. The Florida DOT is doing an amazing job building roads with trails and side paths all along my trip. Florida could become one of the top states for bicycling. If you don't want to ride the slower paths, only the streets, then I guess there is more danger from traffic than I encountered on my slower ride using sidewalks and paths when avaiable.
When you are pedaling to the Keys from Florida City or Homestead DO NOT use Card Sound Road. US1 is very safe with a wide shoulder bike path. I am trying to get Google Maps to direct bikers to US1 but have not had any success.
Our group of 8 riders was very excited to ride this trail. We've always emphasized water-based activities when in the Keys, so this would be a totally different kind of trip. Let me preface my remarks by saying we are all experienced road riders. We commute by bike, ride Rail Trails, tour country roads, etc. My husband and I have been all over with our road tandem, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, and Northern Ireland. We started our ride in Key Largo and rode to Key West, then back (total 225 miles in 5.5 days). Not really sure this can be considered a Rail Trail experience. Let me first start with the pros: The scenery is beautiful, there are plenty of places along the way for eating, drinking, sight-seeing, and lodging, and certain off-road sections are wonderful. Now the cons. The trail is constantly changing sides of the road, forcing cyclists to cross busy US1. We decided it was safer to ride in the bike lane rather than crossing the road in most cases (exceptions being the Long Bridge and Old Dixie Highway). The ride down was easier because of the wind at our backs, and even the Seven Mile Bridge wasn't too bad since it didn't take that long to get across. However, the ride from south to north (or west to east) has the better trail. More of the off-the-road trail is on the east side of the highway. The Seven Mile Bridge coming back was the most terrifying bike riding we've ever done! Not only is the shoulder (not an explicit bike lane) more narrow than most of the other bridges, but the speed limit is 55 mph. In my opinion, there's no need for the speed limit to be over 45 ANYWHERE in the Keys, and should mostly be 35 mph. Another issue we had was that most of the bridges had adjacent, intact bridges alongside for pedestrians and bicyclists, but for some unknown reason they were closed! Perhaps the bridges have been deemed unsafe, but to be riding along, and all of a sudden the trail ends, with no paved access back to the highway, is ridiculous. Then to return to the trail after the bridge, again we were forced to off-road it through grass and gravel. Several times we would cross the highway to get to the pedestrian bridge only to find it was gated closed. We suffered six flats all together during this ride. All in all we had a fun trip but would not recommend this for novices. Certain sections were wonderful, truly off the road and separated with vegetation, or the old highway, or even a smooth path. But a lot of the trail was no more than a glorified sidewalk (especially through the "towns" where we were competing with cars entering and exiting businesses--highly dangerous). Perhaps in a few years the pedestrian/bicycles bridges will be open and the ride will be better. But for us, we've checked this off our bucket list and there's no need to do it again.
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