This trip had been on my list for quiet some time, however not for the paddling. The Oleta River State Park has a mountain bike trail that I had wanted to ride for some time. I live north of Orlando and I only make occasional trips to South Florida and have never brought any recreational equipment on my trips. With my fianc permission I decided to pack my 15' Dagger Specter along with my MTB and try out this park or Key Biscayne. The day couldn't have been any more pleasant, it was about 72 degrees and sunny with a very light wind from the east.
I put my MTB to the test first-peddling only about 6 miles on a very clean and fun course that often times rides right next to the waters of the mangrove channel. That alone was worth the trip to North Miami.
After riding I was able to load my MTB back onto the Tahoe, take my kayak off and put it in the water only a few yards from the MTB trailhead. The waters of the inlet and on through the mangrove channels were calm, clean and quiet. Quite nice to be able to get away from the madness of the city without leaving the limits. There were three channels that did not interconnect but I managed to portage over the MTB trail from the middle channel to the west channel with ease. I asked another mountain biker to give me assistance with the kayak so I wouldn't have to drag it or throw it over my head. He looked at me oddly though, probably because there were not many other kayaks or canoes paddling into these waterways, and I wanted to get across his path.
The west channel then brought me back into the inlet where it connects to Biscayne Bay and the ICW. The water was a beautiful blue green color and was very cool at that time of the day. I paddled the ICW north to the 826 bridge then turned it around and came back. The water in the ICW was much more choppy and rough due to the amount of large boats and the stronger east wind that had picked up during the afternoon. A man made rock reef built to protect the mangrove estuary provided me with about a half mile of refuge along the waterway. It was about five feet wide at the most but it was nice to paddle along with the 100' vessels and not get waked while doing it.
All in all it was an enjoyable day trip that I will do again in the future.
Very nice pavilions near the water, beach swimming area and a paved bike course.
It's a State Park which is typically three to five dollars. Nothing extra to get on the water or MTB trails. Visit www.floridastateparks.com and search for Oleta River.
I-95 south from Ft. Lauderdale or north from Miami to 826 east (NE 163rd St), Oleta River State Park is on the south side of the road after Highway 1.
Just the provided map at the check in booth. I would have preferred a navigational chart or topo but I was not that prepared. I did not have any trouble finding my way around and I did have a hand held GPS.