St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - Cycling
The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a beautiful place for a bike ride, whether you're on a road/triathlon bike, mountain bike, or even a beach cruiser. The 13-mile round trip ride on Lighthouse Road is full of amazing views and excellent wildlife watching, and there are plenty of options to make the ride longer.
The ride inside the wildlife refuge from the visitor center parking lot to the lighthouse and back is 13 miles round trip.
Destination Distance From Downtown
This ride has no real elevation change, but it often has very strong wind since it is near the coast.
Time To Complete
There are several options to make the ride longer or shorter. You can drive your bike to the visitor center in the wildlife refuge and ride 6.5 miles to the lighthouse and then turn around and ride back for a nice 13 mile ride. Starting in the town of St. Marks and taking Newport Road to Highway 98 and then to the lighthouse will make it approximately 30 miles round trip. You can also start from the St. Marks Trailhead and ride it to Highway 267 or 98 to get to the refuge. This ride will be about 55-60 miles round trip. You will definitely want to spend some time at the lighthouse before you turn around.
The refuge is open year-round. Spring and fall are the best times to ride here due to weather and lack of boat traffic. The summer can have heavy boat traffic but most of the drivers are courteous inside the refuge.
On Leash Only
Dogs are welcome on a leash at the refuge but with the traffic on the road it is not recommended to ride your bike with your dog here. There are often alligators just feet from the road and a dog was recently taken from a parking lot by an alligator with many people around.
The entrance fee is $1 per bicycle or pedestrian, $5 per vehicle. You can also purchase an annual pass to this refuge for $25 or an annual pass to all national lands for $80. Anyone age 62 or older qualifies for a Lifetime Senior Pass to all national lands for only $10.