An overlay on the route of the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee (Okeechobee East and Okeechobee West), the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail provides a mostly paved cycling and walking route around the second largest lake entirely within the borders of the United States.
Location: Okeechobee, Glades, Hendry, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties
Length: 109 miles
Fees / Permits: free, with designated campsites along the route
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: low to high, depending on time of day and breezes
Restrooms: at community parks along the route
First hiked in the 1960s and developed as a loop in the Florida National Scenic Trail in the 1980s, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail offers spectacular views from the top of the 35-foot-tall Herbert Hoover Dike, built for flood control between the 1930s and 1960s. Sunrises and sunsets are especially gorgeous across the marshes and open waters. On the east side of the lake, views are primarily of islands and vast open waters. The west side of the lake is shallow and marshy.
The route has been popularized for more than 20 years by the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association and their annual Big O Hike around Lake Okeechobee, as well as by more recent century rides around the lake by bicycle clubs.
Managed by the Army Corps of Engineers – which is actively reconstructing portions of the dike – the route is presently more than half closed to recreational users due to construction projects. See current closure details on their website.
Explore the trail
- 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, 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
- 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