A Guide to the Nature Trails on Seabrook Island, SC
Most of us are familiar with the Seabrook Island’s natural beauty, from immaculate South Carolina beaches and vibrant marshes to quiet streets lined with centuries-old live oaks that are draped in Spanish moss. However, many visitors and even residents are unaware of other opportunities to explore and enjoy the unspoiled wonders our oceanfront community offers. Thanks to the conservation initiatives of the Seabrook Island Natural History Group and the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association, several pristine walking trails span across the island for residents and visitors to do just that. If you are ready to get out and enjoy an early morning cooled by a crisp, coastal breeze or a peaceful afternoon under the warmth of the Lowcountry sun, make sure you add hiking these nature trails to your to-do list!
Courtesy of the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association
Stepping Out on Seabrook Island, SC: A Guide to Our Walking Trails
Seabrook Island is home to several walking trails that provide the perfect opportunity for adventurers to explore beyond our South Carolina beaches and main roadways. These pathways, which range from 1 to 5 in difficulty, include the Hidden Oak Nature Trail, Old Drake Nature Trail, Six Ladies Nature Trail, Bobcat Dune Nature Walk, Lakehouse Natural Trail, and Camp St. Christopher Trails. Make sure to read about each of these trails below before heading out on a hike!
Old Drake Nature Trail
Difficulty: Beginner (Level 1)
Old Drake Nature Trail is the shortest of the pathways, beginning at the pumping station on Old Drake Drive located off of Seabrook Island Road. An easy trail for the whole family, Old Drake leads to benches for sitting and enjoying the tranquility of the marsh. We encourage you to pause long enough to hear the sounds of fish breaching, pistol shrimp snapping, and oysters opening and closing. The T-shaped path skirts around the marshland, as salty winds rustle through the loblolly pines. At the end of Old Drake, there are markers for private property and an equestrian trail, where you may be able to spot some of our beautiful resident horses passing through. When you reach the end of the trail, you can retrace your steps back to the trailhead where there is parking available. For your safety, you shouldn’t continue walking down the riders only trail. Pine needles are known to muffle the sounds of horse hooves, which can create a dangerous surprise for both horseback riders and walkers.
Bobcat Dune Nature Walk
Difficulty: Beginner (Level 1)
Located behind the SIPOA Community Center, this path leads from the parking lot to the beachside boardwalk for an easy stroll with only two sets of steps. The Bobcat Dune follows along a sunny boardwalk that, as the name suggests, parallels the sandy hills of North Beach. As you leisurely stroll across the outskirts of this Seabrook Island beach, you will see landscape brimming with coastal vegetation including sweetgrass, sea oats, palmetto, yucca, prickly pear cactus, broomsedge, yaupon holly, groundsel, dog fennel, and more. Roseate spoonbills and terns can be seen flitting about the trail before the quick, half-mile jaunt concludes with an easy segue into another boardwalk. From here, you can retrace your steps or continue exploring Seabrook’s natural abundance along the adjoining boardwalk, which is the more difficult Six Ladies trail. To get to Bobcat Dune, take the left fork off of Seabrook Island Road to Oyster Catcher Court where you will see the Six Ladies Trail across the street. Then, take another left on Oyster Catcher Court and continue for about 1000 yards until you arrive at the Community Center parking lot.
Hidden Oaks Nature Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Level 2)
Hidden Oaks, the most well-known trail on Seabrook Island, SC, is located off of Seabrook Island Road after you turn onto St. Christopher Lane then onto Hidden Oak Drive. Trail parking is immediately on your left. The trail parallels Hidden Oak Drive in a semicircle, winding through the woods around a lagoon before ending back at Hidden Oaks Drive. Deer are often seen flitting throughout the woods, and the marsh area is teeming with vibrant local wildlife, including American oystercatchers, pond sliders, and more. The Hidden Oaks trail is also home to a beautiful live oak, which locals call the Kissing Tree. This natural landmark was given its name because of the mouth-like shape on the backside of the tree. You can still see what remains of the mouth today! While the trail is a relatively easy hike, there are two sets of steps at steep areas of the trail to which may be difficult for some hikers. Once you reach the end of the trail, you can retrace your steps on the pathway or walk along the roadway to return to the parking lot.
Six Ladies Nature Trail
Difficulty: Advanced (Level 3, 5)
Among the trails on Seabrook Island, SC, the Six Ladies Trail is the newest and most rugged. If you are looking for a more challenging outdoor adventure, Six Ladies is your go-to! As a Level 3 trail, Six Ladies is quite hilly, traversing through the old dunes which were formed long ago when the ocean once came farther inland. What is now the Ocean Point community was once the Atlantic Ocean! The trail, which is a total length of about ⅓ of a mile, climbs toward a lookout point that provides a wonderful view of the salt marsh and Cap’n Sam’s Creek. If you approach the lookout quietly, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the local otter family known to hang out along the creek bank. You may also be able to spot herons, egrets, cormorants, or one of our resident dolphins fishing in the creek. Once you have reached this point, you may choose to retrace your steps to the trailhead or continue along the path. Keep in mind, once you reach the lookout, the trail shifts to a level 5. After this transition, you will be climbing the old dunes through a young Palmetto forest. Use caution as you do, since the footing is sandy and can be somewhat slippery. Continue climbing upwards toward Oyster Catcher Court, following the trees marked with white squares until you reach the exit point. The parking area for this trail is off Oyster Catcher Court, however, you may also park at the POA Community Center, accessing the trail from the road or Bobcat Dunes Nature Walk.
Lake House Nature Trail
The Lake House Nature Trail, located by the SIPOA Lake House facility on Seabrook Island Road, also provides on-site parking near the pool area. Just past the playground and basketball courts on your right is the beginning of the trail. As you cross over the trail bridge, you will enter a lush, maritime forest full of things to see. As you follow the Lake House Nature trail, you will continue to weave through the woods before ending at a bench along the bike path on Seabrook Island Road. Here, you can soak up the natural scenery and spot local wildlife known to frequent the area, including deer and various songbirds. From here, you may return to the POA parking lot, or continue your walk on the path around the adjacent Palmetto Lake.
Camp St. Christopher Trails
Camp St. Christopher also has several nature trails and scenic sights for residents and guests to enjoy. The five trails at the Camp feature a variety of sites to see, from the Crab Dock to Privateer Point, which showcases views of Privateer Creek. You can also walk alongside the North Edisto River on the yellow trail. To walk on these trails, you must make a reservation one to two days in advance by calling 843-768-0429 Monday through Friday. Once your request is approved, you can enter the Camp on your date and check-in at the Welcome Center to get your guest pass and trail maps. These trails do not allow pets, however, there are plenty of other trails where you can walk Spot!
All of these trails are maintained in their natural states, and some have markers identifying the surrounding vegetation. Please be mindful of the plants and shrubbery, taking care to avoid damaging them so that future generations of Seabrookers can enjoy the scenery. If you encounter any local wildlife, please do not try to pet, touch, or harass any of the animals. All of these natural trails are for foot traffic only from sunrise to sunset. There are other designated trails for horseback riding and bicycles. Some of the trails may have limited shade, so make sure to plan your walk accordingly! Bring any supplies you may need such as sunscreen, water, snacks, bug spray, and sunglasses.
For more information about our nature trails, please visit www.sinhg.org and www.sipoa.org. To learn more about the other amenities we have available on Seabrook Island, SC, including horseback riding, golf, racquet sports, and more, browse our website: www.SeabrookIsland.com. We hope to catch you out on the trails!