John Gilbert Nature Trail, St Simons Island

Tom and I didn’t get to ride our bike as much as we wanted to on St Simons Island.  When the weather was nice we were working or busy.  Most of our days off were cold or windy.  The only ride we took in April was to the John Gilbert Nature Trail, about four miles away from Fort Frederica.

We never noticed this nature trail last year.  I saw it listed in a book of things to do in the Golden Isles and asked Ranger Ellen about it.  She mentioned that it was new and located just south of Sea Island Road on Frederica Road.  So Tom and I decided to ride to it and then hike it.

The John Gilbert Nature Trail is on marsh land donated to the St Simons Land Trust in 2000 by Dorothy Gilbert.  She donated the land, and the trail is named, in honor of her late husband, John Gilbert.  The Trail is the first interpretive trail owned by the Land Trust.  There are several interpretive signs that you can read to learn about the history of the land and the native plants and animals.

The John Gilbert Trail begins in a wooded area on Frederica Road.  The most treasured feature of the trail is a huge live oak in the center.  Mrs. Gilbert called it “John’s Oak.”  The trail gradually transitions to marsh border and there are wonderful views out over the marsh.  Several benches allow comfortable areas for scenic viewing and bird watching.  The trail is only 1/2 mile long, but it is a lovely little trail in the heart of the heavily populated end of the island.

We enjoyed the trail and a little respite from our bike before we headed back home.  Most of the trail is sandy or wooden boardwalk so it is easy walking.  As always, everything on St Simons Island is flat, making it a nice trail for people who only want a short walk.