Bike Hunting Island Trails

By:Marie McAden

Date:1/22/2012

Want to mountain bike by the water? Hunting Isla​nd S​tate Park has a trail for that.

How about a ride with some seriously steep hills? There’s a trail for that, too.

That’s what’s so cool about the eight miles of hiking/biking trails in Hunting Island State Park. You’ll find easy routes that take you alongside a lagoon and out into the marsh, along with a moderately strenuous trail through one of the state’s most beautiful maritime forests.

Combine several of the trails and you have one fun afternoon in the saddle.

My husband and I recently visited the park and mapped out a loop that offered a little from column A, a little from column B. We started on the 1.4-mile Lagoon Access Recreation Trail that runs along the park’s lagoon. Created by sand dredging in 1968, it has become a favorite fishing spot for local anglers and is popular with kayakers, too.

I hadn’t ridden the trail in several years and was pleasantly surprised to find it had been paved with compacted crushed shell and stone. No more struggling through sandy patches and bumping along on roots.

From there, we rode out to the ocean on the Nature Center Scenic Trail. After enjoying a short rest on the beach, we doubled back and rode .7 miles to the juncture with the Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail. This is the only one of the three main trails that has been left in its natural state.

About a mile up the path, we took a spur trail out to the Marsh Boardwalk. A quarter mile long, it takes you over the marsh through a hammock and out to a deck overlooking a tidal creek. A granola bar later, we were back on the bikes ready to take on the rest of the 2.3-mile Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail.

One would not expect to find such steep hills in a section of the state known as the Lowco​untry. But this rollicking trail offers enough dips and climbs to make you forget you’re riding on the coast. At least twice, I had to dismount half-way up a hill and push my bike the rest of the way up.

At the end of the trail, we connected to the Maritime Forest Trail. The first mile is the usual pine straw and leaves. The paved part of the trail begins at the first intersection. We took a left turn and headed back to our starting point. If you continue to the end of the trail, it’s a two-mile ride.

You can pick up a color-coded map with brief trail descriptions at the Visitor’s Center, Nature Center and Campground Store. Cli​ck hereto check out the park’s website.

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