Suggestions for touring trails in South Florida
So I recently made a post about going to Key West next week in the touring forum, but now I'm beginning to second-guess my decision. Someone recommended an interesting trail around Lake Okeechobee, and I was wondering if any others of you here in the regional forums had any other insightful suggestions?
I'm looking for something that can be completed leisurely in about 3-4 days, starting in Miami and working in a circuit back to the starting point. It's me and a few other guys; I wouldn't mind taking a bus North or South to get to a better starting point than the middle of metropolitan Miami. I would guess something around 200-300 miles would be around what I'm looking for.
The Okeechobee trail around the Big O lake is gravel 99% of the way. But you will not have a better scenic route. I am sure it is only 90-ish miles for a complete circuit. There are several towns to stop at around the lake. Basically you are riding a dike system built ALL the way around the lake.
The road to Key West, in my opinion, is not bike friendly. Of course it has been a few years since I was there. Maybe changes have made it more friendly. Central Florida has more than its share of L-O-N-G trails that are almost connected now. These are outlined in another thread. I am not familiar with any trails in Miami area although I know I would like to ride the US 41 Tamiami Trail from one coast to another. I have been on it in a car and the traffic is exceptionally light due to its proximity to I-75 (Alligator Alley or SW 8th St.).
Actually, the LOST is paved for much of the distance around the lake, with the exception of the leg from Moore Haven northeast to Okeechobee. You can ride the road for that leg as the levee is pretty rugged there (I've ridden it on a MTB and wouldn't attempt it on a road bike.) There is also some construction on the section of the levee between Pahokee and Canal Point, but the road is ridable. Pahokee is an interesting place, it's as impoverished a place as you'll ever see, but probably pretty safe in daylight.
There are several primitive camp sites along the levee, most are between the levee and the lake, so you won't hear any noise from the highway. The sites consist of a fire ring and a small shelter in most cases, and I've never seen them occupied.
In all honesty, the scenery on the LOST gets a bit tedious, but it's better than riding through our endless suburbia.
Edit - I mistook Pahokee for, Belle Glade. The latter is a real eye-opener...
Last edited by Chris_in_Miami; 01-02-12 at 09:11 AM.