twisted branches of live oaks for a canopy;trail cut through dense palmettos
Many of the park's trails cut through maritime forests, under Live Oak canopies, and between dense stands of Saw Palmettos. Nightingale Trail pictured.

NPS Photo



More than 50 miles of hiking trails and roads meander through maritime forests, interior wetlands, historic districts, marsh ecosystems, and the beautiful beaches. Trails, beach, and roadways (not marked private) are all available for hiking.
Download a free copy of the hiking map with trail descriptions below.

Popular trails on the southern end of the island include:
  • Dungeness Roadways - a self-guided walk through the Dungeness Historic District
  • River Trail - a short walk along the water's edge between Dungeness Dock and Sea Camp
  • Nightingale Trail - offering a view from within the maritime forest
  • Parrallel Trail to Little Greyfield Road - walk through the trees, across the dunes, and back down the beach

Hiking the Southend

The majority of day visitors to the island spend their time hiking around and exploring the Southend. Within a short distance one can walk through oak trees draped in Spanish moss, visit the Dungeness historic district, cross boardwalks over marsh and sand dunes, and soak in a stretch of undeveloped beach.

There are several intersecting trails and roads in the area. A map and trail signs will help one to keep their bearings. The map will show the location of the 4 restrooms with drinking fountains as well.

From Sound to Sea - Southend Loop

This 4.3 mile loop is very popular for a day visit. Watch the video below to view the route.
Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
3 minutes, 29 seconds

This 4.3 mile loop is the most popular route taken by day visitors to Cumberland Island. It showcases a variety of what the island has to offer.


Hiking the Northend and Wilderness

Hiking north on the Parallel Trail, or Main Park Road, will take you through the heart of the island under a draping canopy of live oaks, across forest floors packed with palmetto, through tall stands of stately pines, over open fields, near tidal creeks, fresh water wetlands and lakes. For a true backcountry experience, consider taking Parallel Trail or one of the many other backcountry and Wilderness trails that traverse the island.

If you are planning on hiking North, keep the following in mind:
  • The only places to find drinking water North of Sea Camp are Stafford Beach Campground and Plum Orchard Mansion. All other water - whether from a spigot or not - must be treated before drinking.
  • The Wilderness boundary lies 5 miles North of the Sea Camp dock. Due to the distance, it is best explored when visitors have more than regular day visit hours - like when camping or private boating.
  • Due to the remote nature of the island, hikers in the wilderness should: take time to prepare and pack properly, let a friend or family member know their itinerary, and take responsibility for their own safety.

Loading results...

    Last updated: April 11, 2023

    Park footer

    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    101 Wheeler St
    St. Marys, GA 31558


    912 882-4336

    Contact Us