Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail11/17/2011 12:00:00 by Administrator
South Bay, FL
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST)
The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) is a 120-mile trail around " the Big Lake," as they call it (and it is big, about 730 square miles). The trail runs atop the Herbert Hoover Dike, which, along with a system of locks, is what keeps the Big Lake from spilling out across the vast flatlands of South Florida (which used to be flood plains or swamp before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came and altered the landscape). Sections of the LOST are paved, and other are packed gavel. We gained this knowledge from their website. We wanted to start at the paved section in the town of Pahokee, then ride to Clewiston (and then return back to Pahokee) but there was major dike construction that closed the trail (going clockwise) until the Belle Glade Recreation Area.
The best thing about riding atop the 34-foot tall levee was the view. Lake Okeechobee lay below us, and in some areas there was water on the other side of the dike. Both bodies of water provide great habitat for birds and other animals. Sometimes the huge birds (various wading birds and vultures) swooped by, spreading their broad wings at eye level. The view opposite the lake was filled with lots of sugar cane fields and semi busy route 27. We had a number of truckers honking and waving at us today, which reminded us of our touring days! We saw no other hiker, cyclist, or walker on the trail today, which made us want to scratch our heads.
The worst thing about riding on the dike was that there was no place to hide, so all during today's ride we were at the mercy of the wind and the bright Florida sunshine, with nary a tree at our level to slow either down. Because the trail curved around the lake, there was no way to avoid headwinds at some point. When we turn back toward the car, the headwinds also turned with us.
Another goal today (besides enjoying SeeMore's company) was to find the Army Corps of Engineering campground in Clewiston, Fl. We did not find the campground (even though it appeared on our campground app), but we located the AC headquarters in Clewiston. Mary went in side and had a very nice talk with the lady inside. After the day's ride, we visited another Corps site in Stuart Fl.
The small part of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail that we rode was a very pleasant ride. The trail was wide, paved, and uncluttered with excellent visibility.We would highly recommend this ride to anyone visiting South Florida. With access to a number of motels, campgrounds and restaurants around the lake, a cyclist could get LOST for days. We also recommend the South Bay county park for camping!