On the shores of Biscayne Bay at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, Bear Cut Nature Preserve is a precious sliver of natural bayfront in Miami. The preserve provides hiking along the waterfront and in the shade of tropical trees on a trail system of footpaths that intertwine with paved trails, ending up at an overlook of a fossil reef with a backdrop of downtown Miami. The trails radiate from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Nature Center, a must-stop before you explore the surrounding habitats.
Location: Key Biscayne
Length: Up to 2.2 miles in three loops, plus the 1.3-mile paved Fossil Reef Bike Trail.
Lat-Long: 25.715894, -80.150372: 25.716100, -80.150950: 25.716017, -80.150783
Fees / Permits: Parking fee
Bug factor: low to moderate
Restroom: At the nature center
Take I-95 exit 1A to the Rickenbacker Causeway (bridge toll) to Key Biscayne. Continue on Crandon Blvd to Crandon Park (parking fee). Nature Preserve is at the north end of the North Entrance beach parking area on the left.
Start out behind the nature center with a walk down the 1.3-mile Osprey Beach Trail, a broad mowed path along the coastal dunes with several beach crossovers. Where it meets the paved path, continue straight ahead to a boardwalk that leads out to a scenic view.
Retrace your path or use the paved path (left fork) to return to the nature center, where the 0.3-mile Bear Cut Nature Trail and 0.3-mile Tequesta Hammock Trail create short rugged loops through the tropical hardwood hammock.
Enjoy the constant sound of the waves lapping the sand from the Osprey Beach Trail, where morning glories in ultraviolet hues drape over the vegetation. At the end of the boardwalk you’ll see a 6,000-year-old fossilized mangrove forest reef—well worth the trip!