Held by the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association annually, the Big O Hike has drawn more than a thousand participants to the shores of Lake Okeechobee to experience a walk with expansive views across the lake and its marshes.
** IMPORTANT ** The Big O Hike has been suspended.
Until 2019, it set the record as Florida’s longest-running annual hiking event. 2016 was the 25th anniversary of the Big O Hike. The hike was held during Thanksgiving Week. If it is revived, details will be posted on the FTA Loxahatchee Chapter website in advance.
How it Worked
For 6 to 9 days (depending on the schedule), hikers gather each morning to shuttle to a drop-off point and walk from 7 to 14 miles per day on the Florida Trail. That’s the traditional Big O.
For some of us who’ve hiked around Lake Okeechobee numerous times, there are plenty of alternatives to the daily routine. Self-shuttle with your friends and do shorter or longer miles.
Camping and afternoon activities are typically centered at the KOA campground in Okeechobee, with campsite assignments and group rates coordinated by the Loxahatchee chapter. Tents, campers, and RVs are welcome. Not a camper? There are plenty of motel and hotel options nearby.
Part of the camaraderie of the hike comes from going out to dinner with friends every evening, relaxing at the hot tub, enjoying the pool, and kicking back at the daily happy hour.
You’ll make lots of new friends. In fact, the Big O Hike is where we met! And we’re not the only couple who ended up getting married after walking along Lake Okeechobee together.
What’s it like to hike the Big O?
Read our articles from our many years of attending the Big O Hike. Sandra joined the hike for the first time in 2002 and managed to loop the lake on the Florida Trail three times before it was no longer possible to do so due to closures.
John showed up for his first hike in 2011 and finished the loop the next year. One of the most delightful parts of attending the Big O Hike is removing yourself from your everyday routine to spend day after day walking, and afternoons and evenings relaxing with friends.