Heading north through the Big Cypress Swamp, the Florida Trail immerses hikers through one of the last wild spaces of the region, then connects to Lake Okeechobee via a system of levees built for agriculture.
More than a century ago, the wilderness of South Florida began to be replaced by “progress.”
Ditched and diked and drained, the Everglades that once flanked mighty Lake Okeechobee were dug up and turned into farms, and the “Big Water” itself was ringed with a dike to control its flow.
Starting at Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve, the Florida Trail heads north for 30 miles through one of the last wild spaces of the region, and is connected to and around the lake by walking on agricultural dikes.
The Ocean-to-Lake Trail, a side trail popular for backpacking, presents a variety of South Florida’s wild habitats on a greenway linking the lake and the Atlantic Ocean, offering a microcosm of the overall features of the Florida Trail.
Click on a map to see full details for a particular section of the Florida Trail in South Florida.