Back in 1986 the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy was established to form a nationwide network of trails created from abandoned railroad corridors. Now there are more than 2,000 of these trails with at least one in every state. South Carolina has 38 rail trails with two in Beaufort County.
The Spanish Moss Trail is located on the historic Magnolia Rail Line in Northern Beaufort County that dates back to 1870.
The Trail first opened in 2012 and has grown to 10 continuous miles from the Town of Port Royal, through the City of Beaufort, up to and beyond the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to Grays Hill. The Trail will eventually extend 16 miles from the Sands Beach in Port Royal to the Whale Branch River in Seabrook.
A paved trail is 12-feet wide, it is perfect for recreational or competitive walking, running, biking, and inline skating. This beautiful linear path offers many historic points of interest, excellent places for recreational fishing, and stunning water views. There are resting spots with benches and tri-level water fountains for pets, children and adults. Pets on a leash are welcome as are motorized wheelchairs (but no other form of motorized transportation).
The Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail are the engine behind the Trail’s development, maintenance and enhancements. They have developed a free interactive Mobile App called the Spanish Moss Trail Mobile Guide (Apple Store or Google Play) allowing visitors to easily navigate to the six trailheads for access points, receive up-to-date weather and tide information, locate rest areas and restrooms, and to learn more about other outdoor adventures nearby.
Some quick tips: The largest and most central trailhead with parking is the Depot Trailhead located less than a mile from downtown Beaufort. Here you will find the restored original train depot building that you can walk through and enjoy. Two other convenient trailheads for a full bike trip up to 20 miles are Broome Lane or Westvine Drive. All can be navigated to through the mobile guide.
For more information, a detailed map, and their mobile app, visit their website at www.spanishmosstrail.com.