Since 1992, the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association has gone in circles every year … around the second largest lake entirely within the United States, Lake Okeechobee. The Florida Trail circles the lake on the Herbert Hoover dike for nearly 120 miles, providing outstanding views from 35 feet above water level.
This is the longest running group hike in Florida. We’ve done it, and you can too. Now in its 26th year, the Big O Hike is somewhat abbreviated due to ongoing reconstruction of the dike around the lake, but it still involves six days of hiking around or near Lake Okeechobee on the Florida Trail, kicking off on Sunday November 19, 8 AM, at Port Mayaca. Daily hike duration can run from 9 to 14 miles. Be prepared! Shorter options are sometimes available if shuttle drivers can be arranged.
The Okeechobee KOA remains the host campground for the Big O Hike, which always makes this the biggest social hiking event of the year. First, accommodations are comfortable – bring a camp chair to hang out with friends – and the complex boasts a pool, hot tub, and tiki bar. Second, join in the tradition of the daily Happy Hour and gathering with friends to go out for dinner in the area, and you’ll find this a great way to meet new people and spark new friendships. Don’t like to camp? The KOA has some full-service cabins, and Okeechobee has plenty of hotels as well. You can still come to the campground to mingle with friends and go back to your room at night.
The full hike runs Thanksgiving Week, November 19-24, 2017. Participants work out cooperative shuttling. You can join in for a day or two, or stay the week. Newcomers are welcome, but be sure to check out the Big O prep list before you arrive! Please note that pets are welcome in camp but not permitted on the hikes.
Pre-register before November 3 to join this group event: Download and send in this form with your check for $10.