Exploring Lake Okeechobee
As the second largest lake entirely within the United States, Lake Okeechobee is a very unique recreation destination. You won’t find anyone paddling on the lake – it’s thick with alligators – but nationally-renowned Fisheating Creek is nearby. What you will find are lots of folks fishing, but also bicycling around the lake, hiking, and birding.
In addition to a major segment of the Florida Trail – a segment known as the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail to cyclists – circling the lake, there are quite a few other hiking trails nearby. You can walk around the lake with a group as part of the annual Big O Hike held every Thanksgiving week. Adventures on the water can be arranged in Okechobee and Clewiston with fishing guides and airboat operators who know the lake and its many coves well.
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.
Our 2020 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.