Happy Trails: Scenic Hiking Spots in Savannah
While Savannah is best known for its manicured parks and beautiful historic buildings, it also offers a variety of scenic trails which will simply take your breath away! Check out a few Savannah trails we're sure you'd love!
Hail to the Queen
McQueens Island Trail, Savannah Georgia 31410
Built on a stretch of the Savannah & Atlantic Railroad line, the 6-mile McQueen’s Island Trail is a perfect salt-air excursion for nature lovers and history buffs alike. Built in 1887, the railroad carried passengers from Savannah to Tybee Island until a highway to the island was built in 1923 led to the demise of the railroad. From its trailhead just 15 miles east of town, the trail parallels the South Channel of the Savannah River. Short bridges will bring you across saltwater marshes. Cord grass, cabbage palms, yaupon holly and coastal cedars line this trail, and interpretive signs list the native wildlife, including the eastern box turtle, American alligator, diamond back terrapin, bobcat, osprey, red-tailed hawk and brown pelican. You might even get a special surprise from frolicking dolphins in the river! Conveniently placed benches allow visitors to pause, take in the scenery and enjoy a picnic. The region also boasts an interesting and extensive history, from its earliest inhabitants (Gaulle Indians, followed by early colonists) to the Revolutionary and Civil war battles fought on its soil. Wrap up your trek with a visit to the massive brick Fort Pulaski, captured in 1862 by Union troops using an experimental rifled cannon.
Cheers to Ogeechee
Savannah and Ogeechee Canal Trail, 681 Fort Argyle Rd, Savannah, GA 31419
Constructed in the 1820s and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal was once an important transportation route for getting plantation goods to market. The canal itself is 16.5 miles, and the Chatham County Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department is working with the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Society to transform the canal area into a multi-purpose linear park. The trail winds through some of coastal Georgia's common habitats, including sandhill, swamp and pine forest. Boardwalks traverse wetland areas but high tides can sometimes cause flooding. At the Ogeechee River terminus (near Lock 5) you can visit a small museum and nature center to learn more about the canal's history and the local ecological history of the area.
Run Away to Skidaway
Skidaway Island State Park, 52 Diamond Causeway, Savannah, GA 31411
Skidaway Island State Park offers four popular trails for hiking enthusiasts. The one-mile Sandpiper Trail Loop is the favorite among hikers for the scenic views of salt flats, tidal creeks and marshland inhabitants like fiddler crabs. The Big Ferry, Avian Loop and Connector trails each offer a unique hiking experience. Big Ferry Trail can be walked in a two-mile loop, or you can include the earthworks loop to make it nearly three miles. These earthworks mounds were often built by slaves during the Civil War as part of the defense system against Union Troops, and are a great way to introduce yourself to a little piece of history. The Avian Loop Trail is a one-mile loop that takes you to the Intracoastal Waterway where you may catch a glimpse of osprey hunting for fish or dolphin swimming down river. A sandy causeway crosses the largest tidal creek that flows into the park, and is a great place to see the force and speed of tides flowing in and out of the marsh every six hours. Finally, the Connector Trail connects both the Sandpiper and Avian Loop trails to the Big Ferry Trail and takes you through the unwanted Chinese Tallow forest. Also known as “popcorn trees,” these highly invasive plants have taken over this area of the park, and efforts have been made to eliminate them.
Trip through Tom
Tom Triplett Park Trail, 100 Tom Triplett Road, Pooler, GA 31322
This six-mile trail lightly trafficked loop trail is located only 20 minutes away from downtown Savannah in the community of Pooler. The trail surrounds a picturesque lake and the entire park is both bike and dog friendly. There is even a disc golf course on the premises! Enjoy biking, hiking, and running this single track trail that has them all!
Hold the Fort
Fort McAllister State Park, 3894 Fort McAllister Rd, Richmond Hill, GA 31324
Located close to I-95 south of Savannah on the banks of the Ogeechee River, this scenic park showcases the best-preserved earthwork fortification of the Confederacy. The earthworks were attacked seven times by Union ironclads but did not fall until 1864—ending General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea.” The park features two trails for interested hikers. Redbird Creek trail weaves through a relatively open area before crossing a bridge, and continues to weave through the forest with an optional quarter mile spur just after the first mile to a viewpoint looking over a creek and the salt marsh. Continuing along the main trail, it stays close to the tree line for beautiful sunrise views before turning to the north and continuing to wind back and cross over a second bridge. There are several interpretive signs throughout the trail, and you can enjoy sightings of deer, squirrels, wading birds, and raccoons. The Magnolia Trail is a very easy and slow-paced hike that is good for beginner hikers or families and runs along a 3 mile trail with vistas of salt marshes and maritime forests.