An overlay on the route of the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee (Okeechobee East and Okeechobee West), 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.
Location: Okeechobee, Glades, Hendry, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties
Length: 109 miles
Fees / Permits: free, with designated campsites along the route
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: low to high, depending on time of day and breezes
Restrooms: at community parks along the route
First hiked in the 1960s and developed as a loop in the Florida National Scenic Trail in the 1980s, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail offers spectacular views from the top of the 35-foot-tall Herbert Hoover Dike, built for flood control between the 1930s and 1960s. Sunrises and sunsets are especially gorgeous across the marshes and open waters. On the east side of the lake, views are primarily of islands and vast open waters. The west side of the lake is shallow and marshy.
The route has been popularized for more than 20 years by the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association and their annual Big O Hike around Lake Okeechobee, as well as by more recent century rides around the lake by bicycle clubs.
Managed by the Army Corps of Engineers – which is actively reconstructing portions of the dike – the route is presently more than half closed to recreational users due to construction projects. See current closure details on their website.
Explore the trail
- Florida Trail, Henry Creek to Okeechobee - 8.6 miles. Along the north shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, this paved segment of the Florida Trail is one of its prettiest, offering sweeping views of the lake.
- 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, Port Mayaca to Henry Creek - 14 miles. In an arc between ancient natural shoreline and expansive waters, this hike along Lake Okeechobee's eastern shore offers unparalleled vistas.
- Harney Pond Canal Recreation Area - Where’s the best view of Lake Okeechobee? It’s hidden in plain sight in the town of Lakeport, in a park that’s alternately known as the Harney Pond Canal Recreation Area and Margaret Van De Velde Park.