Cumberland island Georgia

10:50 p.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Considering a hike here. WILD HORSES!!!??? Any input would be great. Weather? Winter? As I said, any info would be great. Thanks so much. -----Donna

1:01 p.m. on September 17, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm very familiar with the Island. Been there almost 70 times.

  Yes there are wild horses. There are wild everything except bears - gators, snakes, deer, bobcats, feral pigs and boars.

Like anything - you don't mess with them, they won't come around you.


Best time to go is late October thru early April.

Never know what your gonna get weather wise. I've been there when it is 90, I've been there when it was 20. Been there when the trails had become streams under 4" deep water.


best camping spots depends on what you want. If you want fires, showers and bathrooms, go to Stafford (~3 mile hike).  If you want primative camping go to Hickory Hill (~5 mi), Yankee Paradise (~6 mi) or Brickhill Bluff (~10.5 mi).

There is also Sea Camp - a "family" campground about 1/4 mile from the dock.  Reservations well in advance are required to get in there.

 No stores or places to purchase items. You bring what you need. It is a wilderness area.

Please, ask away.  I love talking about the island - one of my favorite places


If you want to PM me with your email address, I can send you a Cumberland trail map and a 40 page pdf with the islands history.

11:56 p.m. on September 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi Ed. Thanks for your response! I have been doing some YouTube searching of the island and then just about got turned off by it till I read your post. The videos that I watched made the island appear to be some huge tourist vista. I generally like to backpack and see as few people as possible. My most recent hike was in Idaho and I think we saw 6 people all total in 4 days. Please give me some thoughts on that aspect of hiking on this island.

I did a little search about the weather there and it appears to be pretty mild all year. My recent hike (Idaho) was great for weather. 75 in the day and then pretty cold in the evenings and 30's at night. I live in Ohio and it would be great to have somewhere to go that would be nice this fall and winter.

You mentioned something about "what you want..." I am all about wilderness, no amenities such as bathrooms and showers, etc. not that I am opposed to those things, but when I backpack I feel it almost necessary to be rid of that stuff in order to get to really awesome places with no crowds...

So with no bears...what is necessary as far as packing food. I am used to carrying a bear vault and putting all my food and anything scented in it. What is necessary in this area as far as that goes?

Please give me any and all info that you can so that I can decide if this is a hike I want to take or not. Thanks so much! My email address is if you prefer. Tanks to anyone in advance who can give me any info on hiking somewhere this fall and winter. I am hoping to find something "different!" I am used to hiking in mountains, whether it be Virginia, or out west in Washington or Idaho.

Ocean beaches just might be nice! ------Donna

5:46 a.m. on September 18, 2013 (EDT)
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The island was a tourist mecca immediately after Kennedy got married there. People wanting to follow JJ around would stay at one of the inn's and get ferried around in old military trucks. That seems to have ceased.

I can get on the island and disappear and not see another person for four days, until I head back to the ferry.

The weather is mostly mild, but it can get bitterly cold and it can be wet. I've been on the island when a hurricane came thru and when my water bottle froze solid at night. Be prepared for everything.

Leave the bear vault at home. Bring rope to hang your food sack from a tree limb (50' spool works for me). Get it up at least 20 feet or more. The raccoons can pull up your food sack if it is to light and the horses can grab your food if it is to low.

Bring a container to haul water back to your campsite from the wells. Depending on which campsite you choose,  you may have to hump your water up to a mile.  I take (2) 2-gallon water containers


Take an extra pair of shoes - like crocs or sandals.  You never know when you may have to wade thru a swamp. Don't wade barefoot, there are cactus and sand spurs everywhere down here. Most east-west trails run thru swamps.


Plan on going, it is worth it.  Keep in mind, you have to call and make reservations to get on the island - they only let a certain amount of people on the island at one time.  You may have to adjust your schedule to availability of backcountry permits. 


I can go on and on about this island but it would be much easier just to answer your specific questions.


Where in Ohio are you from?  I'm originally from Pittsburgh.

8:18 p.m. on September 18, 2013 (EDT)
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I guess since I don't have any specific questions, go ahead and just ramble about it.  I would be interested in just about anything you'd have to say.  Thanks!  I am from the Cleveland area originally but have lived in Kent for the past 30 some years.  

9:16 p.m. on September 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Ed, thanks for the map and history. I promise I will read the history before we take the hike! I thought of a question...fires on the beach?

9:22 p.m. on September 18, 2013 (EDT)
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And give me some idea of what the trails are like. Packed sand? Dirt? Etc.

9:26 p.m. on September 18, 2013 (EDT)
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I guess I had more questions than I thought. Specific places that I should definitely check out? Not having read the history yet, I'd say that I am not too interested in "buildings"...but I am open to the idea that if I read it, I might change my mind...thanks

7:44 a.m. on September 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Cleveland!  My mom is from Cleveland. Have family in Hudson and Bay Village (lakeshore Dr right next to Huntington Park).


I'm not a rambler, but I do answer questions

No fires on the beach. If it is turtle nesting time, they don't want you on the beach with a flashlight. Fires only permitted in Sea Camp and Stafford.

Trails:  packed dirt in center of island, changing to sand as you head east towards the dunes.  Main road is mostly dredgings from the river - you can find sharks teeth on main road.

Do the self guided tour of the south end of the island. See the ice museum, go up and see the church, cemetery south of Stafford is supposed to be haunted - very interesting at night, hike up roller coaster trail, if your there during a month that has an "r" in the name, go clamming along the river, camp at Brickhill Bluff one night (don't stay there during daylight hours!! the no see-ums will eat you alive).

9:06 p.m. on September 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks so much, Ed, for all the info.   For the record, don't know who Kevin boyfriend's name is Ed too.  Check out a few photos that I took of him fishing in Idaho on my Trip Report forum.  I really am excited about doing this hike.  It is really different than the hikes that we've done, and I think the change will be fun.  Turtle nesting daughter used to watch nature shows when she was a kid about the struggles that turtles have getting any of their eggs to hatch and survive!  It was a near obsession with her!  So sad!  Are the no see-ums a problem year round?  

10:55 p.m. on September 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Are the trails well marked?

5:42 a.m. on September 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Kevin is a fellow camper who requested the info I have. You both got it in the same email - now you know Kevin as well as I do :)

The no see-ums can be a problem year round, but they seem to be worse at St. Mary's while your waiting to get on the ferry and at Brickhill Bluff.

The trails are marked with  4X4 poles at most intersections. They do not have the blazes painted on the trees - thank god.  They are obvious trails even without marks. Roller Coaster trail can be a little tricky at night. 

4:34 p.m. on September 20, 2013 (EDT)
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im kevin.....

and got the requested info from ed....

that's great stuff...

i plan on reading (hopefully) much of it this weekend on trip i'm taking....




6:33 p.m. on September 20, 2013 (EDT)
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nice to meet you!

March 30, 2020
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