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Trails with Gators

Old 06-08-20, 02:46 PM
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Boston5602
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Trails with Gators

Hi all,

Wondering if any of you ride trails that warn you to stay on trail and not feed the alligators. At one point near the trail , but still in the water. I saw a gator just hanging out. Trail is about 6 feet across with a few more feet on each side that angles down towards water. I stopped and turned around as it was 1.25 miles from trail start and had 16 more to go. What do you all do, ride on or turn around. Just wondering. The trail was the Lake Apopka trail starting at Magnolia park.

Have a great day!
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Old 06-08-20, 03:16 PM
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I don't ride trails much, but in that situation I'd just keep riding. As long as he's in the water, I wouldn't be concerned.

If the gator was sunning himself across the trail, I'd turn around.
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Old 06-09-20, 07:54 AM
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Juan Foote
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I have ridden "by" gators that were hanging out in and by water. Many of them were pretty small. At one point there was a gator large enough and close enough that everyone was turning around and going another way. No need to chance serious injury or death from a dinosaur.
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Old 06-09-20, 11:55 AM
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An hour ago

I just returned from riding the trails off Maytown Road. See them everyday. They like to hang out on the sun side of the culverts that run under the trail. I just ride by. Attempted to post a pic but don't have the required number of posts.
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Old 06-09-20, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Boston5602 View Post
Hi all,

Wondering if any of you ride trails that warn you to stay on trail and not feed the alligators. At one point near the trail , but still in the water. I saw a gator just hanging out. Trail is about 6 feet across with a few more feet on each side that angles down towards water. I stopped and turned around as it was 1.25 miles from trail start and had 16 more to go. What do you all do, ride on or turn around. Just wondering. The trail was the Lake Apopka trail starting at Magnolia park.

Have a great day!
I saw the post title and immediately thought of the Lake Apopka trail. If you want to see gators, that is the place to go.
So far, every gator I've seen out there (laying across the trail, sunning on the angled bank, or in the water) has shown zero interest in me. If I get within 10 feet and they are standing their ground, I'm going to turn around. The stretch between Magnolia Park and the Pump House is full of gators, but if you take one of the inland roads from the Pump House, there's far fewer of them. If it's not too far out of your way, you could start at the Pump House or the Jones Ave trailhead or the Green Mountain scenic overlook trailhead and miss all the gators. (I typically ride Jones to Green Mountain and have as of yet to see a gator on that side.)
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Old 06-09-20, 03:39 PM
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Boston5602
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Thank you. Appreciate the info . It's beautiful out there by the lake and will try the trail from a different start point. Stay safe and enjoy your day!
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Old 06-16-20, 08:23 PM
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Every week recently I ride the levee service roads in Sawgrass Rec area near Markham Park in Sunrise (south Florida, due west of Ft Lauderdale), and I always see gators swimming in the canals there. I'm guessing they're about 8 feet in length, based on what I can see of them above the water's surface. Usually they're in the water, but I've been there recently at dusk, and as it gets darker they're out on the banks too. Twice recently, I've startled a gator and they thrash into the water, they make a big loud splash getting back into the water. I've never been closer than 10 yards in these instances. When they're on the banks I guess they're eating something they've caught because there's been a bunch of vultures around watching and waiting to get something after the gator eats.

So it's kind of thrilling to see them as you buzz past, and no real danger as long as you stay on the bike (!)

But I have no intent of doing this ride at night in full darkness, it's a 26 mile loop from the parking area at Markham and it gets pretty remote pretty quickly . . . at the loop's furthest point I estimate you're about 10 miles into the Everglades, it's mostly on a levee-top road that are raised about 10 feet above the glade's waterline and about 5-10 yards down to the water on either side. There's a 2-mile section however that is down at water level, on a foot-wide single track path through waist-high grass right long the water's edge. In this section I've seen several snakes too but no Burmese pythons (yet) . . . they prosper in the Everglades so I'm sure they're out there, just haven't yet seen any.
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Old 06-18-20, 07:49 AM
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I'm on the Florida Gulf Coast and gators are just a fact of life. I see them on a regular basis, sometimes as close as 15ft. as I ride past. Most of the time they're in the shallow water, sometimes they're on the bank. In my experience they show absolutely no interest in humans unless they feel threatened. That being said, I avoid night rides on trails with gators. During the day your risk is minimal (providing you use basic common sense).
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Old 12-20-20, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycletography View Post
I'm on the Florida Gulf Coast and gators are just a fact of life. I see them on a regular basis, sometimes as close as 15ft. as I ride past. Most of the time they're in the shallow water, sometimes they're on the bank. In my experience they show absolutely no interest in humans unless they feel threatened. That being said, I avoid night rides on trails with gators. During the day your risk is minimal (providing you use basic common sense).
you carry any weapons
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Old 12-20-20, 10:33 PM
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Live in North East Florida and I see them on occasion. Once I was riding along the St. John's river and needed to take a break. I stopped at a small park that had some concrete picnic tables and and a nice view of the river. I was sitting facing the road on top of the table, as it had rained quite a bit the days before my ride and the ground was pretty sloppy, so I did not want my shoes in it. As I was eating my snack, I heard some rustling behind me, thinking it was some fish or a bird, but when I turned, I saw an old 1 eyed 7 or 8 ft gator dragging itself out of the water to sun itself. I did not move any closer to me, but I did not hang around too long to find out if it planned to. I moved up the bank and back toward the road, finished my snack, and moved along leaving Mr. Gator to sun himself.
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Old 12-23-20, 05:41 PM
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The only time a gator will bother you is if it has been fed by humans and have lost their natural fear of us. For the most part, you near one and it will head for the water and get away from you. I would not want to startle a gator.

Riding near one that is next to a trail would not be a worry for me. I would not antagonize them and you cannot outrun one on foot. Being on a bike, you will probably be by them before they notice you.
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Old 12-23-20, 10:07 PM
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Not a trail as such but one popular route for Baton Rouge roadies is Alligator Bayou, which received its name for obvious reasons - it runs near a bayou in which there are alligators. Check it out if you're in the BR area, it's very scenic and cars are both rare & accustomed to cyclists.
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Old 07-02-21, 10:56 PM
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Rule of thumb in FL, if there's water there could be gators.
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Old 07-05-21, 08:06 AM
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I do not live in Florida anymore, but grew up there. Dusk and night rides on trails near swampy areas can be dangerous because the gators move onto the trails and are hard to see. I remember staying out too late on a ride, it was dusk, and we were weaving around gators on the trail. They were small and did not react but, it was awkward. Had to slow down to a crawl to avoid hitting one by accident.
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Old 08-06-21, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mcgeez View Post
Rule of thumb in FL, if there's water there could will be gators.
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Old 11-23-21, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Boston5602 View Post
Hi all,

Wondering if any of you ride trails that warn you to stay on trail and not feed the alligators. At one point near the trail , but still in the water. I saw a gator just hanging out. Trail is about 6 feet across with a few more feet on each side that angles down towards water. I stopped and turned around as it was 1.25 miles from trail start and had 16 more to go. What do you all do, ride on or turn around. Just wondering. The trail was the Lake Apopka trail starting at Magnolia park.

Have a great day!
Just keep riding, they (the gators) are used to seeing people go by, they’re not going to attack you, in fact if you were to stop and move towards them, they will slip back into the water. I’ve been as close as 3 feet to little gators (3-5 feet) and 6 feet away from bigger gators (8-12 feet) on the side of the bike trails in the woods of the Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, FL many times, I ride there 2-3 times a week, they either run away (slip into the water) or just sit there watching, but none have ever come at me. They are more afraid of you than you are of them.

BUT….don’t try to pet them, no matter how small and cute! If provoked they will bite! And don’t feed them! Just take a picture and move on. And don’t go swimming at night, the Gators own the night!



Typical day at the hammock.

Last edited by A350driver; 11-25-21 at 10:24 AM.
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