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Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower

Skidaway Island State Park

Georgia Coast, Georgia

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Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower

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  • This historic road used to lead to Skidaway's ferry landing.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • Hanging gardens of the canopy.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • The trail is shady and relaxing the whole way.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • Salt marsh and a forested island far away.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • These shells are more than what they seem. The piles are left from ancient inhabitants.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • Bikes can also use this trail.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • An old moonshine still from nearly 100 years ago.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • View across the Skidaway River.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • Don't forget to look up! The canopy is beautiful.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • The observation tower and boardwalk give the best marsh views on the trail .- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • View from the observation tower.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
  • You can really feel the scale of Georgia's intracoastal waterways here.- Big Ferry Loop + Observation Tower
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Shady forest. Historical sites.
Cons: 
Mosquitoes.
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Alerts: 
As of September 2017, a section is closed for boardwalk repairs from hurricane damage. Most of the trail is still accessible, but cannot be connected as a full loop.
Region:
Georgia Coast, GA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

This is the longest trail in Skidaway Island State Park, and it offers a good amount of nature and history to explore. Island views and wildlife may be better on Sandpiper Loop Trail, but along Big Ferry the forest is more serene and the history more vivid. The trail is like a walk in time, retracing the steps of Native Americans, colonial settlers, Civil War soldiers, and Prohibition moonshiners, all under the lush canopy of mature maritime forest. 

Big Ferry is named for the old road that the first part of the trail follows, which took island residents to a ferry landing to access Savannah. Signs at various points on the loop explain more about the island's past, and you can see the evidence of it in front of you. Shell middens are left over from original inhabitants, trenches remain from the Civil War, and a liquor still can be seen from the 1930s.

The forest here is among the healthiest and most diverse stands near Savannah. There are tall live oaks, palmettos, and pines, with branches draped in Spanish moss and cloaked in ferns. You will get some views over the surrounding salt marsh and channels as well. An observation tower now stands near the site of the old ferry dock, and overlooks the Skidaway River and Isle of Hope.

This trail is open to hiking and biking. Roots, ruts, and sand can make a difficult surface for wheeled travel, but it is mostly level and easy. Some spots get very muddy after rain. Be aware that mosquitoes seem to be worse here than in the rest of the park, probably because of relatively more shade and freshwater sloughs in this part of the forest.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(10 within a 30 mile radius)

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