Spite Highway South

Southern portion of the Spite Highway Trail, beginning from the campground on Elliott Key.

Hiking Easy

Distance
17 km
Ascent
25 m
Descent
25 m
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
0 m
High Point
4 m
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Spite Highway South Map

Description

Back in the 1960s, there was hot contention over Biscayne Bay, about whether it should be developed for real estate or preserved as a national park. In the end, conservationists won over public support and the lawmakers, but not before bitter landowners bulldozed a swath of forest clear across the largest island, thus creating the “Spite Highway” on Elliott Key. It never became a real road, though, and today it makes a nice hiking trail through the island’s interior. Vegetation has regrown thickly on either side, leaving only a footpath through a tunnel of greenery.

You could paddle to any place on Elliott Key then get to the trail, but bushwhacking may be required. The typical place to start is the campground and marina area. From there, a well-traveled path leads past the ranger station and into the woods, then intersects the Spite Highway trail. Go either north or south as far as you like from there.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/bisc/planyourvisit/elliottkey.htm https://www.nps.gov/bisc/learn/historyculture/the-birth-of-biscayne-national-park.htm

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area