Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest lake in the lower 48 states.
It receives flow from the Kissimmee River and drains south into the
Everglades. It is now completely encircled by a dike to provide
flood control. Fall and winter are the best times for this 40-mile
hiking tour of the lake's northwest rim. There are a few points to
pause and watch wildlife, including the boardwalk at the Parrot
Avenue Wayside Park, the Okee-Tanti Recreation Area, and the Indian
Prairie and Harney Pond canal access areas.
Herons, egrets, and wintering waterfowl are prevalent along the rim
of the lake and in open water. Dry prairies interspersed with oak
and cabbage palm hammocks provide habitat for crested caracaras,
burrowing owls, and sandhill cranes. On Fisheating Creek Wildlife
Management Area in late August, as many as 600 swallow-tailed kites
converge in preparation for their migration to South American for
the winter. Alligators, snakes, and turtles are common in the
Florida Highway 78 from Okeechobee to Moore Haven.
Florida Wildlife Sites