Experiences & Amenities
Cycling is a popular and well-established method of travel in the Keys. Be sure to follow standard bicycle safety practices of riding in the direction of traffic and use extreme caution along the bridges. Helmets and safety vests are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under. A summary of Florida bicycle safety laws may be found at Florida Bicycle Law. Existing sections of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail for cycling are shown on the trail map. Several bike shops along the corridor offer bike rentals and/or repairs.
Please note: There are community events, road projects, utility repairs, etc. that impact our trail throughout the 106 miles of the Florida Keys. Although they impact the trail, we don’t always have control over the activities being performed by other agencies and groups and may not have up-to-date information on them. For your convenience, we have added the following planning resources link that may help provide additional information on these type of activities when planning your trip.
As it follows the path of an important migration route, the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail offers great opportunities to observe a rich variety of birds, including many types of wading birds and shorebirds. The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail offers a self-guided experience in learning about the species that may be found in this area. To help protect birds and marine life from the hazards of becoming entangled in discarded fishing line, there are recycling bins placed at the ends of the Trail's fishing bridges and Trail volunteers frequently assist with the monofilament recycling program.
The turquoise waters surrounding the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail invite trail users to enjoy boating activities. Boat ramps are available at several of the state parks in the Keys, with some offering marina facilities. There are also ramps managed by the FKOHT at other locations, as marked on the trail map. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has a very good deepwater boat ramp, located at the marina. This ramp can handle most boats up to 36 feet in length.
Canoe Kayak Launch
More than a dozen kayak and canoe launch sites are located along the trail corridor, as noted on the trail map.
Canoeing and Kayaking
The trail offers easy access to many kayaking and canoeing opportunities along the corridor, including sea kayaking within this designated segment of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. Kayak rentals are available through several outfitters and special eco-tours can be booked through various sources. Points of interest along the paddling trail are noted on the trail map.
Fishing is allowed on many of the trail’s historic bridges. Cantilevered fishing platforms have been added to the sides of selected bridges including the Channel Two Historic Bridge, Tom’s Harbor Cut and Tom’s Harbor Channel historic bridges and the Long Key Bridge. Rules for shared use of the bridges are posted at the ends of each bridge, along with containers for recycling fishing line that presents a danger to marine life.
All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
Hiking Nature Trail
One of the best ways to experience the Keys' colorful communities and beautiful scenery is on foot. The longest, continuous section of paved trail is currently located in the Upper Keys between mile marker 106 at Key Largo and through Mile Marker 72 at Islamorada, Village of Islands. Other sections of trail have been completed as noted on the map. Where there is no existing trail, hikers may, with caution, follow the shoulders of the road since the trail generally parallels U.S. Highway 1.
Picnic tables (no restroom facilities) are provided at the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail's Knights Key Trailhead located at the north end of the Seven Mile bridge. There are additional picnic facilities available at state parks and local parks throughout the trail corridor.
Though trail users are welcome to skate (with caution) on any of the existing paved segments of the trail, a couple of the better areas for this activity are in the stretch from the Marathon Airport to Grassy Key and in the Saddlebunch Keys segment.
Walking along the existing, paved segments of this developing trail and its historic bridges is a great way to access local businesses and points of interest along the way. At sunset, or any time of day, the scenery is worth the trip!
The trail offers access to many points of interest with opportunities for wildlife viewing including the Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, The Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge, Crocodile Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Key West National Marine Sanctuary, as well as 10 state parks.
The historic railroad bridges built by Henry Flagler in the early 1900s, to connect the Florida Keys to the United States mainland for the first time, are now a central component of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. On January 22, 1912, Henry Flagler rode the railroad to Key West where the project was heralded by the press as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Today, all of the remaining 23 Flagler Railroad Bridges have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Trail users can now travel the path of Flagler’s famous rail journey as they cross these bridges and learn more about Flagler’s historic achievement at the Pigeon Key Museum just south of Marathon. At the trail’s end in Key West, there are many more historic and cultural points of interest to explore, including Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
Well-behaved dogs are allowed on the trail with a maximum six-foot, hand-held leash. Owners are requested to walk their dogs near the edge of the trail, for the safety of all trail users.
Completed portions of the trail are wheelchair accessible. Motorized wheelchairs and other personal mobility devices are permitted if required.