Hunting Island Trails Offer a Mix of Rides

By:Marie McAden


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 amazing 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. Try this popular option that includes a little from column A and a little from column B:

Start on the 1.4-mile Lagoon Access Recreation Trail running along the park’s lagoon. Created by sand dredging in 1968, the pool is a favorite fishing spot for local anglers and is popular with kayakers, too.

Unlike most forest trails, this one is paved with compacted crushed shell and stone so there’s no struggling through sandy patches and bumping along on roots.

From there, ride out to the ocean on the Nature Center Scenic Trail. If you need a break, this is a great spot to take a short rest on the beach. Then, double back and ride .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, take the 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. Enjoy the view, then brace yourself for the rest of the 2.3-mile Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail.

You might 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 the end of the trail, connect 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. If you continue to the end of the trail, it’s a 2-mile ride. To get back to the parking lot where you started, retrace your ride on the Nature Scenic Trail and Lagoon Access Recreation Trail.

You also have three different options to cut the ride short. The Marsh Boardwalk Crossover, Palmetto Pines Pass and Marsh Boardwalk Trail all connect to the Lagoon Access Recreation Trail, allowing you to head back at any half-mile point along the Maritime Forest Trail.

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.

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