Cumberland Island

  • Highlights: National Seashore, wild horses, wildlife, unspoiled beaches
  • Distance: 14.6 miles out and back
  • Elevation change: ~50 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: No vehicles are allowed on the island, access by boat only
  • Website: Cumberland Island National Seashore
  • Beer Pairings: Jekyll Island Brewery—Hop Dang Digitty IPA & Service Brewery—Lincoln’s Gift stout

The Hike:

Cumberland Island is an amazing place. It is one of the few unspoiled coastal islands on the east coast. This hike was really a bike ride. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island, so you either have to walk or ride a bike. We stayed at the Greyfield Inn and they provided lunch and bikes for our journey. We travelled from The Greyfield Inn heading south on the Main Road to Sea Camp. Sea Camp is where the ferry from the mainland arrives and is also home to the Park Service visitor center. 

The River Trail connects Sea Camp with the Dungeness ruins. Dungeness was the winter home of Thomas Carnegie and his family. Thomas was the brother of Andrew Carnegie of US Steel fame and fortune. The mansion was destroyed by fire in 1959. The ruins are now the home of wild horses, said to be descendants of horses brought to the island by the Spaniards in the 17th century. 

The Dungeness Trail connects the ruins with the pristine eastern shore of the island. Boardwalks and trails connect pass through great views of marshes and undeveloped coastline. The pristine beach stretches for over 17 miles without houses or buildings marring the landscape. Migrating shore birds, sea turtles, and other wildlife flourish here. 

We retraced our steps and made certain we returned to Greyfield in time for a hot shower and then a splendid happy hour on the porch before a wonderful dinner in the dining room. 

The next day we headed north to Plumb Orchard Mansion, 6 miles north of Greyfield. Plumb Orchard was the winter home of another Carnegie and was donated to the National Park Service. Tours are offered by appointment and many of the furnishings are original. We returned to Greyfield for yet another wonderful meal.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

The Greyfield Inn was our home-base for our stay on Cumberland Island. It is an amazing place. It was built in 1900 by the family of Thomas Carnegie (brother of Andrew) who owned the island before donating it to the National park Service. The Carnegie family still owns the Greenfield Inn and it is now operated as an all-inclusive resort. Three meals are provided each day and dinner has an optional wine pairing. The food, wine, and service were fantastic.

They also have a well-stocked “honest John” bar which had a nice beer selection. One of our favorites was Jekyll Brewing Hop Dang Diggity, a southern IPA with the aroma of Georgia pines. It was a great sipping beer on the porch before dinner. Pete also liked Lincoln’s Gift, an Oyster Stout from Service Brewing of Savanah. Lincoln’s Gift is brewed with locally harvested May River oysters, giving this traditional dark beer a slightly briny character. It was the perfect accompaniment to the weekly oyster roast/happy hour before at Greyfield dinner.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.