Explore coastal beauty at Skidaway Island State Park, hiking the Sandpiper Trail and Avian Loop to scenic views of salt flats, marsh, tidal creeks, and stunning sunsets.

georgia hiking trails: 0-2 miles 2 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: easyeasy to
moderate
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
friendly
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:near Savannah, Georgia

RATED: 4.7/5 (3 reviews)

Moss drapes Skidaway Island’s coastal forest, where gnarled live oak, pine, and palm trees frame grassy, salty marsh. It’s a sun-drenched landscape where scents of saltwater carry in warm breezes, and six miles of nearly level biking and hiking trails meander through the park’s most scenic landscapes.

Skidaway Island State Park: hike to stunning coastal sunsets near Savannah

This two-mile adventure at Savannah’s Skidaway Island State Park combines two of the park’s most beautiful and popular trail loops, the Sandpiper Trail and Avian Trail. The hike treks sandy trails, boardwalks, and bridges, passing marsh, forest, and riverbanks – and a chance to view waterfowl and dolphin. A late afternoon hike offers a glimpse of the sun hanging low on the horizon, creating colorful skies and casting beautiful golden light on the trail.

Explore coastal beauty at Skidaway Island State Park, hiking the Sandpiper Trail and Avian Loop to scenic views of salt flats, marsh, tidal creeks, and stunning sunsets. #hiking #trailrunning #camping #savannah #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Skidaway Island: the hike

The adventure begins at the Sandpiper Loop trailhead (view maps and driving directions), venturing northbound past the park’s interpretive center to reach an extended boardwalk. The hike treks across the boardwalk, catching views of the grassy salt flats flanking the path.

Skidaway Island State Park

The boardwalk ends, the trail reaching a small island framed by the surrounding marshland. The hike crosses a bridge at .25 mile before reaching the second island and beginning the loop portion of the Sandpiper Trail. The hike trails westbound, passing Civil War-era earthworks constructed by Confederate troops.

The hike reaches the Avian Loop trailhead at .5 mile, turning right to begin following the Avian Loop Trail northwest. The hike treks a sandy trail, crossing through open grassland and catching wide-open views of the surrounding marsh before crossing an arched wood bridge at .6 mile. The tidal creek below meanders sharply through the salty marsh, its flow rising and falling quickly with the tide.

The boardwalk ends, and the hike reaches solid ground once again, turning left. Before reaching the Skidaway River, the Avian Loop Trail crosses another boardwalk before diving into a moss-draped forest filled with towering, twisted live oak trees.

Skidaway Island State Park: hike through scenic salt flats and a Spanish moss-draped forest near Savannah, GA

Two side trails depart the Avian Loop Trail at .8 mile and .95 mile, both offering outstanding river views. Nearing twilight, the sun dips low on the horizon, casting warm colors in the sky as the tide rises. A careful scan of the river’s glassy water catches dolphin fins rising rhythmically upstream, and tendrils of off-white Spanish moss blow gently in the breeze overhead. The view is simply stunning.

The hike departs the river, completing the Avian Loop and retracing to the trailhead. The route crosses the tidal creek and follows the Sandpiper Trail Loop to return to the trailhead. (The park’s trails close at dark, so if you’re planning to catch twilight over the river, be sure to leave ample time to reach the trailhead.)



Skidaway Island camping, cabins & more hiking adventures

The cabins and campsites at the park are popular places to stay for a multi-day adventure at the park and nearby historic Savannah. The park’s newest lodging offering, Camper Cabins, feature a kitchen, full bath, master bedroom and sleeping loft perfect for children.

Daylight left – or staying overnight? Don’t miss our other favorite hike at the park, the Big Ferry Trail, to catch stunning views from an observation tower and visit the remains of a Prohibition-era liquor still.


 
Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.

Skidaway Island State Park Sandpiper Trail & Avian Loop Map, Directions & Details

This map shows our approximate route while exploring this trail, but does not replace an official trail map. Please refer to the official trail map for the most current and accurate route.

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Friends of Georgia State Parks. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Trail Rating

RATED: 4.7/5 (3 reviews)

Updates

Did you have trouble accessing the trail, or notice some recent trail updates or storm damage? We'd love to know! Contact us here, and thanks for helping us keep this site updated!

Driving Directions



Parking

$5 (daily), or included with a Georgia State Parks annual pass.


GPS Coordinates

31.949467, -81.053333     //     N31 56.968 W81 03.200

Elevation Profile

Skidaway Island State Park: Sandpiper Trail & Avian Loop Elevation Profile
 
Eric Champlin
Author

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.