Want to mountain bike by the water? Hunting Island State 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 8 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 winds alongside the park's lagoon. Created by sand dredging in 1968, it is a favorite fishing spot for local anglers and is popular with kayakers, too. With few roots and flat terrain, the trail is an easy ride for beginners and a great introduction to off-road biking for children.
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. 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 salt marsh through a hammock and out to a deck overlooking a tidal creek. (It's also a great spot to view the sunset.) A granola bar later, we were back on the bikes ready to take on the rest of the 1.9-mile Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail.
One would not expect to find such steep hills in a section of the state known as the Lowcountry. 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. Re-routed in 2019 following several large storms, the trail is rated moderately strenuous and features several difficult spots.
At the end of the trail, we connected to the Maritime Forest Trail, a mercifully flat route providing us a much-needed break. While the trail parallells the Lagoon and Diamond Back Rattlesnake trails, we took the short Palmetto Pass Trail and headed back to our starting point. If you continue to the end of the maritime Forest Trail, it's a 2-mile ride.
You can pick up a color-coded map with brief trail descriptions at the Visitor's Center, Nature Center and Campground Store. Click here to check out the park's website.