I started my ride today by driving to Lake Okeechobee Park in Okeechobee. There was plenty of parking and a nice clean bathroom. The trail is dog friendly and plenty of hikers and bikers. FREE ENTRANCE.
Designated as part of the Florida National Scenic Trail in 1993, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail is an approximately 110-mile trail encircling the lake. More than half of the trail is paved, and the remainder consists of a two-track gravel roadway on top of the 35-foot high Herbert Hoover Dike.
I liked that each mile was marked off on the trail.
And every mile or so there was a covered picnic table with seating to rest. The lake is to the south while the Kissimmee River lies directly north of the trail. So as you are riding, there is water on both sides.
On the river side, there are many homes with boats and docks and plenty of activity. There are so many RV Parks that reside on and right off the river. The whole area is an outside paradise for sure.
Google Maps indicates it would take 15 hours to bike the entire trail. If you decided to walk around the entire lake, it would take nine days for the 110 mile walk.
Lake Okeechobee means "big water" in the Seminole Indian language, an appropriate name for a water body whose opposite shore can't be seen from the water's edge. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida and the second-largest natural freshwater lake contained entirely within the contiguous 48 states, after Lake Michigan. It is sad that although you see fisherman fishing all around the lake, with toxic blue-green algae bloom, you should not eat Lake Okeechobee fish.
And it is good to remember that before each and every hurricane, the Army Corps of Engineers are busy monitoring Lake Okeechobee operations ahead of each storm.
Stopped in at Lightsey Fish Co. for a seafood lunch. I went with the Blackened Grouper sandwich which was excellent. It came with six different dipping sauces. They are located at 1506 S Parrott Ave, Okeechobee, FL 34974, which is about a 3 mile car drive from the trail. They open for lunch and close at 9:00 PM.
All in all, it was a great biking experience and a great lunch and I will definitely go back and do another section of the trail.