Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) is one of my favorite places to ride. Here’s an unofficial map I put together to show which parts are paved, which parts require you to go on surface roads, trail heads and access points, and a few places to eat.
I plan to do a much more comprehensive piece on the LOST, but I’ve had enough recent requests for information that I thought I’d put this up as a stop-gap.
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST)
View Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail in a larger map
I encourage you to click on the link to a larger map. It’s easier to see in a new window.
Blue = LOST; Red = Roads
The blue lines represent the paved portion of the trail. The red lines show where you have to exit the LOST and get on public highways.
The roads are good riding
If you are reasonably comfortable riding in traffic, then you should have no problems with the roads around Lake Okeechobee.
- 78, on the west side of the Lake has wide shoulders and light (but fast) traffic. The rural drivers are friendly and almost always pull over into the other lane to pass, even when I’ve been on the shoulder.
- 441 on the east side of the lake has been recently repaved. The shoulders aren’t as wide as 78, but they’re fine. I’ve ridden it when it was under construction and the shoulders were broken up and survived.
- The short jog around the Taylor Creek Lock on the north side isn’t a problem if you time your bridge crossing to miss the few short bursts of traffic that come along. Take the lane when crossing the bridge. If you are west bound, plan to move to the left side of the lane as soon as you cross the bridge so you can make a left turn to get back on the dike. The stretch between the dike and the road on the east side of Taylor Creek is shell rock. It’s usually packed pretty solid, but you can hit some soft spots. Be careful if you have narrow tires.
You are isolated on the LOST
Once you’re up on the dike, you may have to ride seven or more miles to get to an access point because you have the lake on one side and the rim canal on the other.
There are no restrooms on the dike, no food, no services, so be prepared. There ARE primitive camp sites around. Before the authorities cut all the non-native trees and bushes, the campsites were relatively hidden. Now they are wide open.
What all all those blue markers?
I’ve tried to mark all the trail heads and access points I can remember. Some of them may not allow a motorized vehicle to pull in, but they are places where you could reach a road on your bike.
Don’t count on anyone recognizing the names I’ve given those access points. They are just what I call them, usually based on some geographical feature.
Places to eat
I’ve also marked a few places around the north and east side of the lake to eat. I highly recommend The Office bar at Nubbins Slough, Gizmo’s Pizza & Subs at Taylor Creek and the Golden Corral’s all-you-can eat buffet in Okeechobee. [Note Gizmo’s is no longer in business. I hated to see them close.]
I also mark the Scottish Inns in Okeechobee as an inexpensive, clean place to stay. Don’t expect a chocolate on your pillow, but the folks running it are nice and I’ve had a decent night’s sleep there. It’s not a place to park your spouse for the day while you’re out riding, though. The rooms are tiny by today’s standards.
Be careful out there
My riding partner, Mary, and I used to ride without helmets on the LOST because we thought we were more likely to have heat stroke than head injuries on a trail with no motorized vehicles and no obstructions to run into. Mary, for no apparent reason, crashed her bike about a mile north of the Chancey lock and wound up with five skull fractures. Help is a long way away when your partner is unconscious on the ground with head trauma.
Things to bring
- Food and water
- Sunscreen (there is no shade)
- Bug repellant, especially for riding around dusk. Glasses or some form of eye cover keeps flying insects out of your eyes. Some evenings the gnats and other bugs are so thick I pull a bandanna over my nose and mouth to cut down on the amount of protein I ingest.
- An awareness of the weather. You’re the highest object around for scores of miles. Heat lightning in the distance makes for a great light show, but you want to get off the dike if it starts moving in.
- A camera. I’ve seen something interesting every time I’ve ridden the LOST.
- Good sense. Do NOT pet the alligators.