I’ve never paid much attention to Hunting Island State Park’s hiking/walking/biking trails. There’s just so much else to do. Well, that was a mistake. Last visit, encouraged by Park Manager Jeff Atkins, I spent a morning walking the Hunting Island Lagoon Access Recreation Trail. That trail is remarkable. Ideal for ElderHikers with a love of nature and curiosity about things wild.
This screen capture of the Park trail map, available at the Park Office, Nature Center, and Campground Store, is a little blurry. But it’ll give you an idea of the trail’s location. Just click for a full-sized image. [And, click here to access the full map on your computer.]
ElderHikers take note: When you drive to the parking area you’ll see a series of parking spaces on the left hand side, toward the Lagoon. Keep going. Drive on until you see the trash and comfort station facilities indicated by the red arrow in the photo above. Then you’ll be near the trail’s access point.
Best of all, for those of us who aren’t quite as spry as we once were, is the surface of the trail. It’s just as you see above from beginning to end. No need for folks relying on wheels to turn around after a few hundred feet.
Concise description of the woods seen on either side of this trail is beyond me. I won’t even try. Various types of palmettos and pines, live oaks, and other shrubs and trees that I couldn’t identify. The woods here are quite different than anything I’ve seen elsewhere in South Carolina. Including at the other ocean side State Parks.
Even the forest sounds here are different. The dry palm fronds slapping against the trunks of their trees make a thwack and rustle that distinguishes this from other forest areas. Just sit on one of the trailside benches and have a listen. What an experience! I encountered only two other people along the whole trail. A young couple on mountain bikes. Great for listening. But I’ll bet it’s a lot busier here on the weekends.
And then, far too soon, I reached the end of the trail. Walk out on the bridge for a nice view up the Lagoon if you have time. And then enjoy the walk back. Note that the wide, level, comfortably-surfaced trail extended clear to the end. Great for folks relying on wheels.
Throughout the walk I saw little wildlife. Mostly brown pelicans swooping along the Lagoon, diving here and there to collect a fish. A few deer tracks crossed the trail down toward the southern end. But that was it. Not even many birds. I probably was making too much noise as I went along.
So there you have it. The best ElderHiking trail I’ve encountered in South Carolina. Hunting Island’s Lagoon Access Recreation Trail. A trail that somehow manages to combine easy access with genuinely interesting views of the forest.
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Stay tuned, now, since we have an interview with Hunting Island Park Manager, Jeff Atkins, coming up next.