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.
Together, these end 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.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Key Biscayne
Length: 2.2 miles in three loops plus a 1.3-mile linear paved trail
Trailhead: 25.715894, -80.150372
Address: 6747 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne
Fees: $5 weekdays, $7 weekends
Restroom: At the nature center
Land manager: Miami-Dade County
Open sunrise to sunset.
From the intersection of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and US 1 (Brickell Ave) in Miami, drive south on US 1 for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto the Rickenbacker Causeway, the toll road to Key Biscayne. Once you’ve paid the toll, continue another 4 miles into Crandon Park. The 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 two more trails begin.
Both 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 walk!
Learn more about Crandon Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
A popular destination for sun worshipers, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park has a long strand of beachfront complimenting trails along Biscayne Bay and a historic lighthouse at the point.
The grandiose home of industrialist James Deering may be the star attraction, but the gardens of Vizcaya, set along Biscayne Bay, rival those of any formal estate.
A tropical retreat along the coast of Coral Gables, Matheson Hammock Park has two distinct sides: a wild slice of the ancient Miami Hammock and a waterfront with a man-made atoll on Biscayne Bay.