There are more than 50 miles of pathways for walking and hiking on Hilton Head Island, but if you’d like to get off the beaten path, here are a few other places in the Lowcountry for a walk or hike:
- Sea Pine Forest Preserve: This 600-acre preserve has eight miles of trails, wetland boardwalks and observation decks. You’re sure to see a variety of wildlife while enjoying the serenity. There is also the 4,000-year-old Indian Shell Ring, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It costs $5 to get into Sea Pines, and it’s worth every penny.
- Newhall Audubon Nature Preserve: This 50-acre preserve has a series of short, easy walking interconnected trails. An information and trail guide, available at the entrance, will guide you through the area, where you will see a wide variety of trees, plants and wildlife. Go east on the Cross Island Expressway. When you get to Palmetto Bay Road, watch for the Audubon Newhall Preserve sign on the right.
- Penn Center Nature Trail: This easy, one-mile loop begins at the edge of the Penn Center visitor parking area and circles the center. The Penn Center was started in 1862 after the Emancipation Proclamation enabled the newly freed Southern slaves to pursue education. You will walk on an unpaved and sandy path that passes by several of the original campus buildings, including Darrah Hall (1882). A brochure is available, which will introduce you to many of the Lowcountry's signature hardwood trees: live oak, water oak, eastern red cedar, black walnut, pecan, hickory and magnolia. Take S.C. 170 to U.S. 21. Go east on 21 to St. Helena Island. Turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (Beaufort County S-45) and drive .5 mile to the Penn Center.
- Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge: There are more than 14 miles of trails at the refuge, which is surrounded on all sides by salt marshes. You’re sure to enjoy the island for its fauna and wildlife. The entrance to the parking area is between the two bridges coming onto or leaving Hilton Head.
- Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve: There are four miles of easy walking, crisscrossing trails and firebreaks at this preserve in Bluffton. From the east, take U.S. 278 about one-and-a-half miles past S.C. 46. Turn left (north) onto Beaufort County S-7-744 at the sign for Waddell Mariculture Center. Drive 1.3 miles and turn right onto a gravel road at the camping sign. The main trailhead is at the camping area and check station.