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Everglades National Park Shark Valley

Explore the Everglades: Shark Valley Visitor Guide

Welcome to Shark Valley, a hidden gem nestled just 30 miles west of vibrant Miami along the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41). 

This pristine oasis lies at the heart of the Everglades freshwater marsh, offering visitors a unique blend of nature, adventure, and tranquility.

Getting There

Shark Valley Visitor Center is conveniently located at 36000 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33194. Get Directions.

If you’re coming from Miami, simply take Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) west for 25 miles from Florida Turnpike exits 25A (north) or 25 (south). 

Travelers from the Naples area can head east on U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) for approximately 70 miles.

Opening Hours

Plan your visit accordingly. 

Shark Valley welcomes guests from 8.30 am to 5 pm from mid-December to mid-April.

During mid-April to mid-December, the hours shift to 9 am to 4.30 pm

Shark Valley Adventure

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a biking aficionado, or a casual explorer, Shark Valley has something for everyone.

Biking

Shark Valley Adventure bBiking
Image: Scenicandsavvy.com

Embrace the freedom of the 15-mile loop road, a cyclist’s paradise surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Explore the natural beauty of Everglades National Park on two wheels with five biking trails waiting to be discovered. 

These trails include Shark Valley Tram Road, Snake Bight Trail, Rowdy Bend Trail, Long Pine Key Nature Trail, and the L67 Canal Road.

Ebike Exploration:

Feel the wind in your hair on e-bikes with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. 

These are permitted on trails and public roads where traditional bicycles are allowed. 

Keep it leisurely with a 10-mile-per-hour speed limit on all trails, except for the Shark Valley Tram Road, where you can go up to 15 miles per hour. 

Fully electric bikes (no pedaling required) and vehicles are welcome on public roadways.

Bird Watching

Witness the diverse avian population that calls Shark Valley home. Keep your eyes peeled for feathered wonders.

Bird watching spots

Homestead (Main Entrance)

Hiking Trails

Explore nature at your own pace on well-maintained walking trails suitable for all levels of hikers.

Shark Valley Trails

Shark Valley Trails
Image: Nps.gov

Immerse yourself in the heart of the “True Everglades,” a 100-mile stretch from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Shark Valley area teems with wildlife in a freshwater ecosystem of sawgrass marsh and tree islands.

Bobcat Boardwalk (Walk)

A self-guided boardwalk trail winding through sawgrass slough and tropical hardwood forests.

Located off Tram Road behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center.

Otter Cave Hammock Trail (Walk)

A rough limestone trail through a tropical hardwood forest with small footbridges over a stream.

Check trail conditions at the Shark Valley Visitor Center, especially during the summer.

Trail starts 0.5 miles behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center, off Tram Road.

Tram Road (Hike, Bike, or Tram):

A flat, paved road perfect for tram rides, biking, and walking.

Encounter alligators, herons, egrets, deer, turtles, and snail kites along the way.

An observation tower at the halfway point offers panoramic views.

Below the Observation Tower is a short trail through a tropical hardwood hammock.

Bicycles are available for rent from the Shark Valley Tram Tour Company.

Trail starts directly behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center.

Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll, an adventurous bike ride, or a narrated tram tour, Shark Valley promises a close encounter with the Everglades’ captivating ecosystem. 

Enjoy the sights and sounds of this unique natural wonderland.

Embark on these engaging tours to get up close and personal with the beauty of Shark Valley and the Everglades. 

Make reservations for tram tours to ensure a smooth exploration of this natural wonderland.

Ranger Programs

Ranger Programs
Image: Nps.gov

Engage in educational programs led by knowledgeable rangers. 

Deepen your understanding of the Everglades ecosystem.

Explore Shark Valley with Ranger-Guided Tours!

Discover the wonders of Shark Valley through ranger-led tours, providing insights into the magic of the Everglades. 

Keep in mind that tour details might change due to weather, so check the park calendar or call the Shark Valley Visitor Center for updates.

Tour Highlights

Tour Highlights
Image: Nps.gov

Nature Stroll (10.15 am Daily, November 8 – April 6):

Take a relaxed walk with a ranger or volunteer.

Learn about how animals survive and thrive in Shark Valley.

Topics cover history, wildlife, and what makes the Everglades special.

Duration: 30 minutes, wheelchair accessible.

Flora, Fauna, and Fun Talk (2.15 pm Daily, 

November 8 – December 15) (1.15 pm Daily, December 16 – April 6):

Join a short talk at the visitor center for an in-depth look at the Everglades.

Explore the story of plants, animals, water, and history.

Duration: 30 minutes, wheelchair accessible.

Quick Insights – Shark Bites (Daily, December 16 – April 6):

Dive into specific Everglades topics with a ranger or volunteer.

Explore details about species, rocks, or factors shaping the Everglades.

Duration: 15 minutes, check the visitor center for details.

Shark Valley Slough Slog (ReservatiEons Required, offered January through April)

Immerse yourself in the “River of Grass” with a ranger.

Walk through water, mud, and uneven terrain.

Wear pants and closed-toe shoes; a hiking pole is provided.

Shark Valley Tram Tours (Reservations Recommended, offered year-round):

Dive into the heart of the Everglades, the “River of Grass.”

Led by a park ranger or naturalist, explore the habitat of alligators, wading birds, and other wildlife.

Tram Tours

Tram Tours
Image: Nps.gov

Sit back and relax on a narrated tram ride. 

Let the experts guide you through the 15-mile loop, providing insights into the unique flora and fauna.

Shark Valley Tram Adventures

Embark on a fascinating two-hour Everglades Tram Tour in the Shark Valley section of Everglades National Park – it’s not just a tour but a South Florida ecotour. 

Perfect for group outings, our knowledgeable Shark Valley naturalists will accompany you.

They’ll make your journey memorable by uncovering the secrets of this world-renowned wetland.

Tram Tour Highlights

Ecosystem Insights

Learn about the entire Everglades ecosystem and discover hidden gems that make this wetland famous.

Wildlife Viewing

Our open vehicles let you witness wildlife in the sawgrass prairies on both sides of the tram.

Everglades Observation Deck

Observation deck everglades
Image: Nps.gov

At the tour’s midpoint, a 45-foot-high observation deck awaits. 

Enjoy breathtaking views of the Everglades stretching 20 miles in all directions. 

Access is easy with a gently sloped ramp, providing different perspectives of the stunning landscape.

Reserving Your Spot

Peak Visitation

From December 26th to April 30th, reservations are highly recommended.

Tour Times

Seats can be reserved online or over the phone for the 10 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm trams.

Ticket Pickup

Ensure you pick up your tickets at least 30 minutes before your scheduled tour time. Space is limited.

Winter Season Tip

Allow extra time for park entry during high visitation, especially as the lot might be full.

Scenic Highlights

Halfway around the loop, ascend the 70-foot observation tower. 

Marvel at a panoramic view of the sawgrass marsh, transporting you back to the untouched landscapes witnessed by natives over 300 years ago.

Visitor Center Delights

Begin your journey at the Shark Valley Visitor Center, where educational displays, a park video, and informational brochures await. 

The gift store offers souvenirs, books, and postcards to commemorate your visit.

Amenities for Comfort

  • Educational resources at the Visitor Center.
  • Guided tram tours, bicycle rentals, snacks, and drinks are available from Shark Valley Tram Tours.
  • Two walking trails, one accessible to all.
  • Restrooms for your convenience.

Note: Cell phone coverage is limited, allowing you to disconnect and immerse yourself in nature.

Accessibility and Special Needs

Accessibility and Special Needs
Image: Nps.gov

Tram tours are accessible for people with disabilities. 

Please call ahead to let our staff know about any special needs you may have.

Dining Information

Shark Valley doesn’t have on-site restaurants, but vending machines with snacks and drinks are near the tram tours office. 

You can also find a variety of packaged items and drinks in the tour lobby.

Embark on an accessible and enriching tram adventure through the Everglades, where every moment is a chance to connect with nature’s wonders.

FAQs

What is Shark Valley?

Shark Valley is a unique and popular destination within Everglades National Park, known for its 15-mile loop trail, abundant wildlife, and iconic observation tower.

How do I get to Shark Valley?

Shark Valley is located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and is accessible via the Tamiami Trail (US Highway 41). The park’s entrance is clearly marked, and plenty of parking exists.

What activities are available at Shark Valley?

A 15-mile paved loop trail is available for walking, biking, or taking a guided tram tour. Viewing wildlife is popular, and the observation tower offers stunning panoramic views of the Everglades.

Can I bring my own bike, or are rentals available?

Both alternatives are available. Visitors can bring their own bikes or rent them from the Shark Valley Visitor Centre. For those who prefer a guided experience, tram tours are also available.

Are there facilities at Shark Valley, such as restrooms and a visitor center?

Shark Valley does, in fact, have a visitor center with exhibits, restrooms, and a gift shop. There are also picnic areas where visitors can relax and take in the scenery.

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