At the Bill Sadowski Park and Nature Center, the Old Cutler Hammock Nature Trail offers a glimpse of what Cutler Ridge looked like before development. A verdant tropical hammock tops bizarre geologic formations that, in other places in Coral Gables, Pinecrest, and Cutler, were blasted apart or buried beneath grassy lawns long ago. Despite being ground zero for Hurricane Andrew’s wrath, the hammock has grown back lushly. Less than a half-mile long, the nature trail takes you into Florida’s own jungle habitats to expand your sense of wonder.
Length: 0.4 mile
Lat-Lon: 25.608283, -80.318983
Bug Factor: moderate
Restroom: at the nature center
Open 9-5, closed Mon-Tue. Ecotours and stargazing sessions offered at the nature center. There is a canoe launch at the end of the trail, and you can fish in the canal.
Follow Old Cutler Ridge Road south from Coral Gables to the traffic light at SW 176th Street; drive 1 mile west and look for the park entrance on the right.
Starting behind the nature center, the trail is a bark chip path snaking through a tropical hammock which was nearly leveled by Hurricane Andrew in 1993. Short fences warn you away from deep solution holes in the oolitic Miami limestone. A bridge spans what was once the drainage of a natural creek; a boardwalk takes you up and over a remnant of the rocky limestone Cutler Ridge. The trail ends at a canal, where you can turn left and walk down along the grassy open strip to the canoe launch area, or return back through the leafy forest to the trailhead.