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Notice: Sections of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail are closed while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts Herbert Hoover Dike maintenance and rehabilitation. Please see the Army Corps of Engineers website for the latest updates on the project. The Corps does not anticipate opening some of these sections of the trail until 2019.
The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail—which also goes by the unfortunately named acronym LOST—is a designated segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail. LOST circles the lake of its namesake, the second largest freshwater lake in the contiguous United States.
The trail sits atop the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding the lake and built for flood protection. For this reason, the trail offers a grand vantage point to view everything from the scenic lake to agricultural landscapes. The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail also offers a glimpse into agriculture communities of Clewiston, Belle Glade and others, which have relied so heavily on Lake Okeechobee for their livelihoods.
As you explore the trail, watch for wildlife, particularly in fall and winter when birds such as herons, egrets and a variety of wintering waterfowl are abundant. Anglers might also like to drop a line and see what they can catch below the waters.
The trail has several on-road portions; the lengthy ones are between Moore Haven and Buckhead Ridge and between Port Mayaca and Pahokee. Much shorter on-road segments are found in Clewiston and Taylor Creek.
The number of negative reviews had me apprehensive, but I wanted to give it a try since I live about 70 miles from Clewiston on the Gulf Coast. I am writing in part because no one seems to be writing anything positive. Today, I did the trail from Moore Haven to Lake Harbor, about 20 miles. Except for one screwy detour in Clewiston (someone spray painted ‘LOST’ on the pavement to show how to get around some very stupid fencing), the journey was a pleasant one. This section is paved. The most important thing to note is that this is the best way to see Lake ‘O’, because you are elevated 20-30 feet above the Lake as you traverse the top of the dike. Lake ‘O’ is not a conventional lake, with lots of tall vegetation and no shoreline. When you drive by car (or boat along the Rim Canal), you see nothing to speak of- just the dike and tall vegetation. With the elevation, you can see over that vegetation. I saw plenty of birds and probably a hundred alligators (safely down below the path!) This path does not get enough good press. The pavement was smooth and pleasant. Of course, you have zero chance for shade, so be prepared for that. I will be trying out all the paved sections first and then I’ll take my chances on the rest of it.
There is no trail, where there once was a nice one. Years ago I traversed it successfully, but today only a few miles of it are open. Sections were to be worked in a bit at a time, originally. However, when a new section has begun construction other sections are not re-opened. 30 mile sections are shut down for two miles worth of construction. By the time the construction is finished most of us will not be around to enjoy the trail. I'm sure we will all be safer as a result of today's version of messing with nature to "improve" nature is complete. According to projections, the dike will be complete and reopened when sea level has risen above it.
We booked in at an rv park last winter near Moore Haven because of the Lake Okeechobbe trail. After much disappointment with all the closures and construction I wished we would have gone elsewhere. The most frustrating part was the signs that said trail was open when it wasn't and there are no proper maps to guide you through the maze of closures. I'm glad the rv park was nice. We were near Webster, Fl last year there were many more nicer trails close by and much safer back roads to travel.
Where do I start. I rode entire trial. Or should I say what little of it is opened. I spent more time going around on roads than the trial. Beware if you see sign for trial does not mean it is open when you get there. Sometimes this could be 1-8 miles round trip back to a road. I was very disappointed to say the least. The road from Pahokee to Belle Glade than into Clewiston is on HWY 27. You can't ride trial but a little. This road is very very dangerous. Trial from Clewison to Moore Haven is also closed. Road still very dangerous. You can take bake roads that are less dangerous. From Moore Haven to Lake Port you will have to run HWY 78 which has less traffic and bike lane. You then can pick up trial in Lake Port but all the way to Buckhed Ridge it is grass and hard packed gravel. Very rough, you will need mountain bike with suspension. From Buckhead Ridge to Okeechobee is the only good ride for about 5 miles thats it. From Okeechobee to Canal ou will be on and off trial with a couple of 5-10 miles areas with packed gravel. In all avoid this Trial.
Road from the locks where paved section starts on southeast side up about 12 miles. Lake is beautiful. too many bugs this time of year for my taste
Took a two-day trip to the Scenic Trail in April after reading the last posting in March. The trail is now closed from Port Mayaca to Clewiston except for a 5-mile and 2-mile section.
Call the Corps South Florida Operations Office (863) 983-8101 and ask about closures; a gentleman there was very helpful. The trail from Kissimmee River to Port Mayaca is paved, but if you want a continuous ride you will have to start at Nubbin Slough. The access at Taylor Creek is on the east side of the construction, but for some reason an RV camp owner has been allowed to padlock the entrance gate.
I rode sections of this train on the 26th and 27th of February. The first section I rode from just north of Moore Haven to Burkhead Ridge. It started out paved but turn to a double track dirt and gravel and in some places just clumpy grass. I was riding a hybrid and should have a mountain bike. There was a road ride possibility with a bike lane for this section.
The section from Burkhead (Kissimmee River) all the way around to Port Mayaca (26.3) was paved. The six mile section between Taylor Creek and the Kissemmee River was very well traveled in the mornings, probably because it was connected by side walks to the town of Okeechobee.
The trail was closed from Port Mayaca to Canal Point and the trail from Canal Point to Pahokee is dirt, but in very good condition. It was paved from Pahokee to Moore Haven, but it was closed from South Bay to Clewiston.
On the section between Chaney Bay Creek and Port Mayaca, I saw a bald eagle swoop down, grab a fish out of the lake, and land on the trail about 40 yards ahead of me. I use the zoom on my camera and got a great picture.
I rode a total of 53 miles and hope to finish the remaining 57 miles next year. Hopefully most of the construction will be completed.
This is a great trail, especially for bird watchers. We spent a day on the trail in February, 2014, starting at South Bay and ending just past Clewiston. The only problem we encounted was that the trail was closed in three places, with NO way to possibly detour. So plan accordingly!
The "Trail" starts at Ward Park, in Moorehaven, but is closed. You have to go around to get on at Uncle Joe's Fish Camp.(You can camp there) I biked there so I don't know if you can park there.
The trail is level an clean. No issues. I went as far as the next construction site (5 miles south of Clewiston P/M). Had there even been a couple of planks across the canal by the road, I would have walked that and continued south. There is no shortage of gators, therefore, I am not inclined to walk through murky water. I turned around and biked back to Ward Park. Overall about 45 miles. There were intermittent headwinds on the way back, but not really a problem.
There were many places to camp if that is your intention. Pretty much where you want.
I think I'll wait till all of the construction is done to go back. I have never been able to get satisfactory answers anywhere as to what is open and closed on this path.
the 'segment' from "Port Mayaca" (on the east-side) to "C. Scott Driver Recreation Area" (on the NW side) is 'mostly-paved' and the only place one has to 'contend' with automobiles is to 'go around the (recently refurbished) boat-locks at "Taylor Creek". This less than 1 mile segment takes one OFF the 'Dike' and onto US441 for a short-way to get around the lock... Other than that one short section, this is approximately 28 miles one-way with no cars, no curbs, no lights, nothing but scenery... it's AWESOME and we do it probably 2-3 times a month, year round!...
Beautiful day at the Lake and looking forward to a nice long ride. Started at the dyke riding south, 2.5mi into my ride flat tires. I had picked up 72 thorns as I counted later. Needless to say it is difficult to ride with more than one flat tire and a 2.5mi walk back to the parking lot wearing clipless shoes is not fun. Tomorrow I will thorn proof my tires.
I'm a casual cyclist, not interested in racking up miles, but love cycling as a way to enjoy nature and exit from the rat race.
Used Clewiston as a base (cute little town, with decent hotels and restaurants) and cycled north. We also drove north of Buckhead Ridge and cycled north from Okie-Tantie, past Okeechobee until we ran out of trail as they seem to be doing road/dike repairs. The Okie-Tantie cycle was only about 6 miles one-way, but spectacular views and stunning bird life.
Both trips were very peaceful, very little cycling traffic, and no gravel on these sections. Uninterrupted views out over the lake, and because this part of the lake is quite grassy it makes the scenery more interesting than just a vast view of water.
Admittedly, there is no shade, apart from a few under-cover picnic tables scattered here and there, but this was a glorious winter day in November, when Florida is at its finest, so that didn't bother us.
Yes, the wind was pretty strong on the first day, subsided on the second day - but again, we were in no hurry to clock up the miles; we just kept cycling and enjoying the beauty around us.
Tips: horrible little thorns get blown onto the track and can cause a puncture, or in my husband's case, the inner tube exploded. Friendly local cyclist advised stopping periodically to de-thorn your tyres.
Have been wanting to cycle around Lake Okeechobee (or at least a portion of it) for some time now. There is not much information on the current status of the Okeechobee dike fix construction work, which seems to have got in the way of some cyclists in 2012.
Found this Sun Sentinel article which mentions 21 miles of construction work, expected to last at least until 2014, and seems to be between Porta Macaya and Belle Glade:
Looks like there is decent accommodation in Clewiston, so we're thinking of making that our base and doing short trips from Clewiston to Moore Haven, and/or Clewiston to Belle Glade.
Will report back when we've given it a go!
Took the Boy Scout troop around the lake in December 2011 and have gone all the way around in 2009. This would be a major eco-tourism destination if it weren't for the dike construction. There are three seperate construction sites where they are sinking steel pannels 40' or so deep to help shore up the dike in case of a MAJOR storm. The whole process will take many more years. Also, the trail on west quarter of the lake north of Moorehaven is really big gravel and no fun. There never has been a movement that I'm aware of to pave this portion of the trail.
That said it is still a fun ride for about 2/3 of the lake. In hilless Florida it is exciting to ride on top of the dike and look down onto the scenery.
On the highway most of the time on the west side of the Lake.
Stayed in Okeechobee overnight.
Rode for awhile on the trail and had to leave it. Construction. Poorly marked. Biker Jim said when he rode around the Lake 7 years ago, things were in better shape. Snuck on the trail near the airport, tossed off the trail by a construction workman.
Finally, got on the trail for 13 miles back to Clewiston.
It looks like things will be ok in about 5 years. Too much construction.
I rode on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail today, March 13th 2012, and it is definately open. I rode from Clewiston, south about 20 miles and back, no issues. I also rode on the trail in January, from Moore Haven, south about 25 miles and back. All rest rooms and picnic areas are open. I'm not sure where the previous poster tried to enter the trail, but the south side is open.
I found this link easy for closings. http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisions/Operations/Branches/SFOO/DOCS/Notices/LakeOScenicTrail_ClosuresMap_2012JAN12.pdf
We had a great trip planned for President's Day weekend. Got hotels set up around the lake, had all our gear packed for the bike ride on the trail--everything set. Except we get to the trail and find out the entire thing is closed until further notice. To make matters worse, it had been closed for some time!! Would have been real nice for any of the websites to list the trail as closed!!!
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