Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Hiking Trails

Okefenokee NWR offers hiking trails through upland pine forests and across transitional wetlands. These trails offer visitors unique opportunities to view deer, squirrels, gopher tortoises, box turtles, snakes, and a wide variety of birds.

East Entrance offers a variety of trails, most of which meander through the refuge’s upland habitat:

• Phernetton Trail is a 1.3 mile hiking trail loop near the Suwannee Canal Road, off Highway 121. This trail offers a walk through a managed section of the refuge’s upland habitat.

• Longleaf Pine Interpretive Trail is a 4 mile trail that begins off Suwannee Canal Road, approximately ¾ of a mile from its junction with Hwy. 121. This trail weaves through upland property belonging to both the refuge and International Paper. Exhibit panels discuss the Longleaf Pine Forest, Sustainable Forest Initiative, and the historic Suwannee Canal. This trail merges into the Canal Diggers Trail.

• Canal Diggers Trail is a .65 mile loop that begins and ends in a small parking area, about ¼ mile onto Swamp Island Drive. This short walking trail offers visitors a self-guided walk through a small riparian habitat, which has developed inside the old canal. Wildlife observation and photography opportunities exist for both upland and riparian-dependent species.

• Upland Discovery Trail is a short .2 mile loop walk, taking visitors through a naturally occurring red-cockaded woodpecker colony. Observation and photography opportunities exist for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and other upland dependent species.

• Ridley Island Trail is a 1.75 mile trail that takes visitors from Swamp Island Drive through a mosaic of upland and wetland habitats to Chesser Island. A diverse variety of wildlife and plant life can be found along this trail.

• Chesser Island Homestead Trail is a .7 mile loop around this historic property. Visitors can observe and photograph a variety of native and non-native plants. Many of the present plants and trees can trace their origins back to the property’s historic “Swamper” homestead period.

• Deer Stand Trail is a .5 mile trail connecting historic Chesser Homestead to Swamp Walk Boardwalk. This trail wanders through a mixed longleaf pine and oak forest.

• Cane Pole Trail is a .35 mile trail, which runs along the Suwannee Canal, leading to Mizell Prairie education and observation platform.

Bicycling is permitted on the paved roads only, and not on designated hiking trails. All hikes should be planned with the refuge opening and closing times in mind. We do not recommend that you bring your dog to the refuge, but if you do, they must be restrained at all times. Pets are permitted on trails, however they must be restrained on a 6-foot or shorter leash.

A trail map is available in PDF Format.

Last updated: June 10, 2013