As the second largest lake entirely within the United States, Lake Okeechobee is a very unique recreation destination. You won’t find anyone paddling on the lake – it’s thick with alligators – but nationally-renowned Fisheating Creek is nearby.
Communities: Clewiston, Lakeport, Moore Haven, Okeechobee, Pahokee, South Bay
In addition to the Florida Trail – also known as the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail to cyclists – circling the lake, there are quite a few other hiking trails nearby, which you’ll find near surrounding communities. You can walk around the lake with a group as part of the annual Big O Hike held every Thanksgiving week.
Trails and Parks around Lake Okeechobee
- Florida Trail, Clewiston to South Bay - One of the most accessible segments of the Big O - paralleling US 27 between Clewiston and South Bay - provides some of the best views of Lake Okeechobee from the dike.
- Florida Trail, Henry Creek to Okeechobee - Along the north shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, this paved segment of the Florida Trail is one of its prettiest, with 8.7 miles of hiking from Henry Creek to Parrott Ave.
- Florida Trail, Moore Haven to Clewiston - On the 11.9 mile stretch of the Florida Trail between Moore Haven and Clewiston, sunrises are spectacular and panoramic views stretch on for miles.
- Florida Trail, Okee-tantie to Platts Bluff - Following the Kissimmee River north from where it empties into Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Trail is atop a dike above a vast expanse of open prairie in ranchland.
- Florida Trail, Okeechobee East - 56.6 miles. The eastern side of Lake Okeechobee has more communities close to the Herbert Hoover Dike, and more open water to see from the trail. All of the trail here is paved and multi-use. Closures due to rehabilitation work on the dike affect many segments on this side of the lake.
- Florida Trail, Okeechobee West - 56.0 miles. The preferred route for long distance hikers due to its solitude and wild spaces, the trail – entirely atop a 35-foot levee – offers expansive views of Lake Okeechobee, its western marshes, and vast open prairies turned to cattle ranches. Much of the trail, but not all, is paved and multi-use.
- Florida Trail, Pahokee to Port Mayaca - The sweep of Lake Okeechobee curves away from your perch on the Herbert Hoover Dike as you walk this section of the Florida Trail along the eastern side of the lake between Pahokee and Port Mayaca.
- Florida Trail, Port Mayaca to Henry Creek - One of the segments of the Florida Trail that are paved around Lake Okeechobee, the 13.7-mile walk between Port Mayaca and Henry Creek offers unparalleled vistas of both open water and the marshes
- Fort Center - Explore Fort Center, a pre-Colombian village lost in Florida’s past – and uncovered again by archaeologists – by following this trail in Fisheating Creek WMA.
- Harney Pond Canal Boardwalk - Although short, the Harney Pond Canal Boardwalk at Lakeport offers the best view you'll find of Lake Okeechobee on its western shores - and great birding, too
- Ortona Mounds - While less than a mile long, the Ortona Mounds Trail in the ranchlands of Glades County takes you back to a time more than 3,000 years ago.
- Rafael Sanchez Trail - Snaking through an oh-so-slender slice of the rocky Okeechobee Ridge, the relict shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, the Rafael Sanchez Trail stays in deep shade for its 5.7 mile traverse of this skinny stretch of forest.