Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co

Hike Skidaway Island near Savannah to sweeping intercoastal views from an observation tower, to a prohibition-era liquor still, and through beautiful moss-draped coastal forest on the Big Ferry Trail.

georgia hiking trails: 2-4 miles 2.6 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:Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah, Georgia

PACK:our Osprey day pack and our hiking gear list

RATED: 4.7/5 (3 reviews)

Skidaway Island State Park’s popular campgrounds and cabins, beautiful maritime forest, and proximity to historic Savannah make this Georgia State Park a must-visit. View-packed, moderately easy hiking and biking trails weave and wind over the island’s sandy terrain, offering stunning coastal views under a canopy of gnarled, twisted trees draped in tendrils of Spanish moss.

The park’s trails run nearly level, exploring a forest filled with gnarly-branched live oak, palm and pine trees, all covered with long, draped tendrils of Spanish moss. Vibrant green, fan-leafed saw palmetto plants cover the sun-dappled forest floor. This beginner-friendly hike travels to sweeping views of grassy, marshy waterways and explores several historic areas. It’s an equally great hike (or trail run) for families, history buffs, and anyone looking to grab some incredible views of coastal Georgia.

Skidaway Island Big Ferry Trail: top hikes near Savannah, GA

Hike Skidaway Island near Savannah to sweeping intercoastal views from an observation tower, to a prohibition-era liquor still, and through beautiful moss-draped coastal forest on the Big Ferry Trail. #hiking #trailrunning #camping #savannah #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Skidaway Island Big Ferry Trail: the hike

Departing from the trailhead (view maps and driving directions), the trail ventures northwest into a marshy forest. Small ponds dot the sides of the trail as it hikes toward the Skidaway Narrows intercoastal waterway. Golden sunlight streams through the forest canopy above and catches in the Spanish moss that drapes the trees. The route passes a trail intersection at .25 mile, continuing northwest toward the river (and hiking the trail’s loop in a clockwise direction for the best views early in the hike).

The trail reaches a boardwalk at .5 mile, walking the boardwalk to a wooden observation tower for some of the best, sweeping views at the park. The tower’s panoramic views are wide and stunning, spanning the salt flats and marsh that border the Skidaway Narrows.

Skidaway Island Big Ferry Trail near Savannah

Departing the observation tower, the trail arcs to the east, diving deeper into the forest dense with palm, pine, gnarled oak and leafy, fan-shaped saw palmetto plants. Views of grassy marsh break through the tree line on the left.

The hike reaches an intersection at 1.15 miles, veering left and hiking northbound to the trail’s northern loop. The trail reaches a second junction at 1.2 miles, veering left. The path travels between mounded earthworks dug by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War to help defend Savannah. The forest here is particularly beautiful: Spanish moss drapes thickly through the canopy, densely covering trees and littering the trail.

Completing the trail’s northern loop, the hike veers left on the liquor still loop trail at 1.6 miles to view the rusted remains of several prohibition-era moonshine stills. In the 1930s, the island was a venue for the illegal manufacturing of liquor, thanks to its remote, secluded location.

Skidaway Island Big Ferry Trail near Savannah

Departing the moonshine stills, the hike treks southbound toward the Big Ferry Trail’s southern loop, veering left at 1.8 miles. The route meanders through a water-stippled forest before reaching the end of the loop at 2.4 miles, turning left to return to the trailhead and completing the adventure.



Skidaway Island cabins, camping and more trail adventures

Skidaway Island State Park’s proximity to historic Savannah and abundant options for outdoor adventure make it a great multi-night destination. Overnight at one of many campsites or the park’s new Camper Cabins, air-conditioned mini cabins with a kitchen, full bath, master bedroom and a sleeping loft.

Staying overnight, or have daylight and energy left to burn? Hike the southern stretches of the island on the Skidaway Island Sandpiper Trail and Avian Loop, crossing boardwalks and bridges to two islands and more stunning coastal views.


 
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 Big Ferry Trail 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


GPS Coordinates

31.954143, -81.050040     //     N31 57.233 W81 03.004

Elevation Profile

Skidaway Island Big Ferry Trail Elevation Profile
 
Eric Champlin
Author

Eric Champlin is a creative director and photographer who loves to explore southeast. He's the co-owner of Trailful Outdoor Co, a locally-owned hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee in the Georgia mountains near the Appalachian Trail. He’s also the co-founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.