Thursday, March 1, 2012

Biking Miami's M-Path Trail

The M-Path was built in 1983 extends from the Miami River in downtown Miami to the Dadeland neighborhood in suburban Kendall, and now connects with the South Dade Trail at Metrorail's Dadeland South Station -- a continuous off-road path 31 miles all the way to Florida City.  It is built atop a portion of the fabled Florida East Coast Railway built by Henry Flagler in 1896.  Then in 1905, Flagler began an extension of the railroad to Key West, completing it in 1912, and that now represents the Overseas Highway to Key West as well as the route for the partially-constructed Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. 

 Below you see how it parallels US Highway 1 and runs alongside and beneath the Metrorail elevated structure.  

The M-Path generally follows US Highway1 (South Dixie Highway) and crosses 28 roadway intersections. The path connects the Metrorail stations of Brickell, Vizcaya, Coconut Grove, Douglas Road, the University of Miami and South Miami.  The roads are mostly controlled by traffic signals to keep you safe, but they do slow down one's progress of course.

The mature trees and the supports for the elevated train all serve to keep a good part of the trail in the shade and somewhat out of the wind, unlike the South Dade Trail to which it connects farther south, which is all out in the open.

You could park in one of the lots serving a station, but then you have to pay the prevailing parking rate.  You can also just park in one of the many shopping center lots neat the trail.  The trail near its downtown point connects with the Rickenbaker Causeway Trail out onto Key Biscayne.

At the North Dadeland Metrorail station, the paved pathway continues south as the South Dade Trail, all the way to Florida City. The entire route forms a 31-mile corridor.

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