Clewiston, the center of the sugar cane industry in South Florida, is perched along the rim of one of America’s largest lakes, Lake Okeechobee.
Designed by famed city planner John Nolan and established as a company town by the U.S. Sugar Company, Clewiston, the “Sweetest Town in America,” sprung to life during the 1920s Florida land boom as the Atlantic Coast Line railroad pushed south.
Clewiston is a Florida Trail Gateway Community. Hikers walk right through Clewiston on their journey around Lake Okeechobee.
Trails and Parks near Clewiston
- Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki - Set in a 60-acre cypress dome on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum of Seminole culture provides an introduction to the tropical outdoors of natural South Florida's swamps in which the Seminole Tribe has lived for more than a century.
- Big Cypress National Preserve - Protecting the heart of the Big Cypress Swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve was established in 1974. Exploring its lush subtropical landscapes means wading through crystal-clear swamps or paddling its channelized rivers.
- Billie Swamp Safari - With airboat and swamp buggy rides as well as interpretation of native species, Billie Swamp Safari is an attraction providing immersion into the Big Cypress Swamp, ancestral home of the Seminole Tribe since the 1800s..
- Florida Trail, Clewiston to South Bay - 13.8 miles. One of the most accessible segments of the Big O provides some of the best views of Lake Okeechobee from the dike
- Florida Trail, Moore Haven to Clewiston - 11.8 miles. On a southbound hike between Moore Haven and Clewiston, arrive at sunrise for the best light show on Lake Okeechobee.
- Florida Trail, Okeechobee - 112.8 miles. Looping around one of America's largest lakes, the Okeechobee section of the Florida Trail provides panoramic views from atop the Herbert Hoover Dike.
- Florida Trail, Pahokee to Port Mayaca - 11.7 miles. An ocean-like expanse, Lake Okeechobee is open water to the horizon along the long arc between Pahokee and Port Mayaca
- Florida Trail, Seminole - 56.2 miles. Stretching from the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation to Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Trail Seminole section traverses a vast agricultural region, the former Everglades. Hiking is on roads and levees.
- 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.
- Gatorama - Started in 1957 as a roadside attraction to show tourists one of the two Florida experiences they wanted - alligators! - Gatorama still has that funky Old Florida feel.
- Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail - An overlay on the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee, 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.
- 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.
More near Clewiston
- East or West around Lake Okeechobee? (Dec 2018) - Making the decision to walk the Florida Trail east or west around Lake Okeechobee used to be easy. Now, with construction zones blocking access to much of the southern half of the lake, it isn't. Here are the facts on each route's strengths and weaknesses to help you decide the best route for you.
- Around Okeechobee (Dec 2018) - Our 2018 update of the state of the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee. Thru-hikers should continue to use Okeechobee West as their route around the lake. We provide full details on why.
- A Year with Primrose (Jan 2014) - It's been a year since we purchased Primrose, our 1982 VW Vanagon. Here's a recap of where we've been and what we've seen.
- A night in Clewiston (Jan 2013) - When you reach the turnoff to continue north on the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee, you don’t quite reach the town of Clewiston. After all the heat and bugs while camping and cooking outdoors, the group decided to enjoy real food and a night in an air-conditioned, bug-free motel room. The owner gave us a …
- Everglades, Interrupted (Nov 2011) - When you're traveling at the speed of feet, it's easy to spend hours reflecting on the Everglades that once was, the vast wilds erased by the agro-industrial complex that brought sugar cane to Lake Okeechobee.