Hike the Wormsloe Historic Site near Savannah, following the Battery Trail to Oak Avenue’s 400 moss-draped oak trees, historic tabby ruins, beautiful coastal views, and the site of a Civil War fort.
LOCATION:Wormsloe Plantation near Savannah, Georgia
Most visitors to the historic Wormsloe Plantation only explore the iconic tree-lined Oak Avenue and the historic areas – but they’re missing a huge portion of the historic site. While Oak Avenue and the tabby ruins are some of the most scenic and popular sections of the park, the site also offers miles of level, well-marked hiking trails through a beautiful coastal forest. This 3.2-mile loop explores the park’s popular and historic areas before catching some solitude and scoping out Civil War-era Confederate earthworks on the Battery Trail.
The adventure begins at the park’s entrance, a stone arch raised in 1913. The gracefully-arched entrance frames Oak Avenue and its seemingly endless canopy of moss-covered oak – a grand, impressive entrance to the grounds. Through the arch, the route stops at a small historic cottage to purchase admission passes before driving the incredibly photogenic Oak Avenue toward the tabby ruins.
Four hundred life oak trees grace Oak Avenue, their gnarled and moss-covered branches casting dappled shadows onto the packed-dirt drive. Spanish moss blows gently in the coastal breeze, catching sunlight in a magical, almost-too-beautiful-for-words way. The giant oak trees were planted in the late 19th century, and have graced Oak Avenue with their contorted canopy for over 100 years.
Wormsloe Estate near Savannah: the hike
The drivable portion of Oak Avenue ends at a white fence, and the hike begins after parking in the museum lot. Departing the museum trailhead, the hike follows Oak Avenue’s southernmost stretch to the plantation’s historic ruins. The estate of Noble Jones, finished in 1745, was a fortified tabby house constructed here on the Isle of Hope near Skidaway Island, eight miles south of Savannah.
The original Jones home rose a story and a half and boasted five rooms – a large house for its time in colonial Georgia. Today, the home’s oyster-shell-packed ruins rise from the sandy terrain, a scant shell of the house’s original fortifications, now thought to be the oldest remains in the Savannah area.
Departing the tabby ruins, the hike makes a short loop to visit the family’s former gravesite (they’ve been since moved to Savannah’s historic Bonaventure Cemetery) before circling to the grassy marshes of Jones Narrows. The hike catches sweeping views of the marshy grassland framed by old, gnarled, moss-draped trees and a basin of shells left by prehistoric Native Americans.
Trailing West from the tabby ruins, the hike catches sweeping, broad views of grassy marshland at an observation deck before crossing a bridge into a clearing, passing reconstructed examples of colonial life in coastal Georgia. The hike dives into a palm and oak-dominated forest on the orange-blazed Battery Trail at .6 mile.
The Battery Trail hikes southbound on a broad, nearly level trail that’s shaded by the young forest canopy above. Views of the nearby grassy marshland occasionally break through the trees, offering low-tide glimpses of oyster shells nestled into the salty marsh.
The trail arcs northwest at 1.5 miles, traffic sounds of the nearby causeway breaking through the trees. The hike reaches Fort Wymberly at 1.8 miles, the site of 20-foot-high Confederate earthworks built in 1861. The earthen mounds were constructed as a defense against an attack on Savannah in the Civil War.
Departing the earthworks, the hike arcs northeast, continuing a nearly-level trek through a coastal forest before reaching the parking area, completing the adventure at 3.2 miles.
More outdoor adventures near Savannah
Hike, camp or bike at the nearby, scenery-packed Skidaway Island State Park to catch stunning coastal beauty. Grab a great run through Savannah’s historical and picturesque Forsyth Park, framed by historic mansions and home to Savannah’s iconic Forsyth Park fountain. And check out our Savannah trail guide for more of our favorite Savannah hiking and camping destinations.
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.
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Paid admission (per person); see the Georgia State Parks website for details.
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