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Latest update: February 2024

Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail... South Florida

110-Mile Bike Trail Circles Lake on Herbert Hoover Dike

Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail ("LOST") circles Lake Okeechobee (the second largest freshwater lake in the U.S.) on top of the 35-foot high Herbert Hoover Dike, built for flood control in the 1930's. The trail is popular for biking, hiking, fishing, and bird watching. A canal runs continuously alongside the dike, access points to the trail require crossing the canal. LOST forms a loop on the Florida National Scenic Trail. (Map link and photos below.)

Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, South Florida Biking

Trail Map link...
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail

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Location: Glades, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee, and Palm Beach Counties
Mileage: 110 miles paved and gravel; onto the road around locks
Nearby Cities: Okeechobee, Pahokee, Belle Glade, Clewiston, Moore Haven
Nearby points of interest: Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park

Bike Shops/Rentals: N/A

Biking on Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail... Comments and Photos

Here we describe the trail starting at the north in Okeechobee, then along the east side and looping back to Okeechobee, visiting portions of the trail along the way. Views from the dike can include broad vistas and excellent sunrises and sunsets, but it is wide open, so much depends on the weather. The best biking lake views are on the north and east sides, while the west side is mostly marshland. Many waterfowl and other wildlife may be seen, plus sugar fields, wetlands, and surrounding agricultural communities.

Key things to know when riding LOST:

  • The surface consists of both paved and gravel portions.
  • The trail is not always continuous, with short diversions onto roadways to go around locks.
  • While there are numerous access points with parking (mostly at boat ramps), there are few convenience stores along the trail, and you can go long distances before finding a restroom.
  • Bring water and sunscreen, there is no shade - better as a cool weather ride.
  • It can get windy on the dike. Watch the weather and get off the dike to avoid lightning strikes.
  • There are 14 campgrounds on or adjacent to the trail, mostly without facilities.

In sum, long distances with often unchanging views. Recreational bikers such as ourselves who like to stop often for photos and enjoy the surroundings may find much of the trail repetitive and monotonous, preferring to drive to various points for scenic views and rides, while long-distance bikers enjoy the long straightaways.

North Side - 10 miles

This section of LOST runs through the City of Okeechobee from the Kissimmee River to the Henry Creek Access. The trail is mostly along the shore of Lake Okeechobee with good lake views. On the canal side, trailer parks and other development can be seen.

  • The City of Okeechobee has restaurants, shopping, accommodations.
  • Restrooms are available at Lake Okeechobee Park (more below), and at the Kissimmee River (C. Scott Driver Park and Okee-Tantie Recreation Area).
    - the Kissimmee River is the primary water source of the lake.
  • The trail diverts to the roadway crossing the Kissimmee River, and around the lock at Taylor Creek Access.

Okeechobee - Lake Okeechobee Park

Lake Okeechobee Park (officially the Cliff J. Betts Recreation Area, and formerly known as Jaycee Park) is at the northern tip of Lake Okeechobee in the City of Okeechobee. A nice facility with parking, restrooms, fishing pier, and picnicking. The trail - paved in this section - runs on the dike overlooking the park and lake. The long accessibility ramp provides easy trail access for bikers.

East Side - 40 miles

This section of LOST starts at Henry Creek Access in Okeechobee running down the east side to Belle Glade (South Bay), with scenic lake views. Across the canal is mostly sugar cane or cattle.

  • Near Chancy Bay Access along US 441, J&S Fish Camp and Gator Hole Tavern is a stop for restrooms and refreshments.
  • At Port Mayaca the trail detours to the roadway around the lock (more below).
  • From Port Mayaca to Pahokee is unpaved.
  • Restrooms are available at Paul Rardin County Park (more below).
  • The City of Pahokee has restaurants and convenience stores.
  • Restrooms and camping are available at Pahokee Marina & Campground, on Torry Island at Belle Glade Access, and at South Bay RV Park and Campground.

Port Mayaca North

Access points are located on both sides of the lock, parking only - we visited the north (paved) section. Good lake views. Visit the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam complex, at the junction with the St. Lucie Canal. As at other locks, the trail detours and goes roadside along US 98, crossing the bridge (wide shoulder, but no barrier) and resuming on the other side of the lock (south), where it becomes unpaved.

Paul Rardin County Park (Belle Glade)

  • The trail here is paved, running between the canal and agricultural areas. Rocks along the canal are from the dike restoration project completed in recent years.
  • Adjacent to a water control facility, Paul Rardin County Park is a pleasant stop with trail access, parking, restrooms, picnic, playground, boat ramp.

South Side - 25 miles

This section of LOST extends from South Bay to Moore Haven. From South Bay to Clewiston the trail parallels US 27, with the lake to the north and mostly sugar cane fields to the south (except at the towns). Past Clewiston the trail leaves the lakeside, with marsh views.

  • Restrooms are available at John Stretch Memorial Park.
  • The City of Clewiston has restaurants, shopping, accommodations.
  • Motel and campground are located near Liberty Point Access.
  • The trail detours onto the roadway at Moore Haven Lock and Dam (more below).

Moore Haven Lock and Dam - Alvin Ward Park

  • From the Moore Haven Lock and Dam the trail runs out to US 27 and crosses the Caloosahatchee Canal - the concrete barrier separating the pathway from the road over the bridge is a bonus. Follow local roads back to the trail on the west side of the lock.
  • Alvin Ward Park has parking, restrooms, picnic shelters, boat ramp, fishing pier. Not a lake view but rather canal and marsh at this location.

West Side - 35 miles

This section runs from Moore Haven back to Okeechobee. This section is not lakeside, but through marshlands.

  • From Moore Haven to the Kissimmee River portions of trail are unpaved.
  • At Lockport, the trail detours to the roadway crossing Harney Pond Canal (bike lane only).
    - The Harney Pond Canal Recreation Area here has restrooms.
    - The Community of Lockport has restaurants and convenience store nearby.
  • At Indian Prairie Access, the trail detours to SR 78 crossing a Indian Prairie Canal (bike lane only).

Lakeport - Fisheating Creek

Approaching Lakeport the trail parallels SR 78, partly as separate pathway and partly as bike lane. Passing the Lakeport Boat Ramp at Fisheating Creek, it branches off the road again. Marsh views here - the boat ramp goes out to a bay, not on the lake at this point.

About Lake Okeechobee and the Herbert Hoover Dam

  • Lake Okeechobee is the second largest freshwater lake wholly contained within the 48 contiguous United States (Lake Michigan is larger), covering 730 square miles with a relatively shallow average depth of 9 feet. The name is from the Seminole words “oki” and “chubi” meaning "big water.” Originally, water from the lake flowed naturally into The Everglades but as the area developed was diverted into canals. In recent years, environmental concerns have increased including algae blooms on the lake and polluted waters released to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries. It's a complicated issue, involving protecting the integrity of the dike, feeding The Everglades, and protecting the fragile coastal estuaries, with farming interests also on the table.
    - Read more about the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project .
  • The Herbert Hoover Dike completely surrounds Lake Okeechobee, built in the 1930s after the destruction and loss of life from hurricanes in the late 1920's, and expanded after more storms and flooding in the late 1940's. In the 1990's and early 2000's, wear and erosion issues were identified and an ongoing, 18-year rehabilitation program was completed in 2023. The 35-foot tall dike was built and is maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
    - Read more about completion of the Dike Rehabilitation Program .

More Information and Resources

Nearby Biking:

Southeast FL Region - More trails plus Regional Overview map

Nearby Paddling:

Fisheating Creek

Related Resources:

US Army Corps of Engineers - Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail

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