Groups of cyclists on the beach

Biking on Hilton Head Island

Renowned as one of the top family-friendly destinations in the country, Hilton Head Island is also considered a leader in environmental preservation and resource conservation practices, particularly when it comes to biking. Our outstanding pathway network provides a safe transportation alternative by connecting residential, commercial and recreation areas of the town—while allowing residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience the beauty, relaxed atmosphere and healthy lifestyle of the Island with the wind in your hair, and pedals at your feet!

Bicycling is a key component differentiating Hilton Head Island from other resort communities and significantly reduces the congestion and vehicular traffic that would otherwise be generated. By constructing and maintaining the extensive pathway network the Town of Hilton Head Island is improving community connectivity, providing transportation options, improving the appeal of the island to visitors interested in cycling while on vacation, and keeping pedestrian, cyclist and driver safety as important components of pathway development.

Quick Bike Lane and Pathway Facts

On our 12-mile long and five-mile wide Island, we have:

  • 6 miles of bike lanes
  • 117 miles of shared-use pathways
  • 108 miles of paved shared-use paths
  • 14 miles of planned pathways
  • 1 mile of single track
  • 24% of arterial streets have bike lanes or paved shoulders

Staying in Touch

The Town of Hilton Head Island maintains a help line, which is posted on town-provided bike maps and information kiosks. This help line is staffed by our facilities management department and is used for pathway users to report unsafe conditions. It is widely distributed to residents who are frequent pathway users.

Hilton Head’s Hidden Bike Routes

Discover destinations on Hilton Head Island that incorporate our rich history and natural beauty, yet receive few visitors. They are peaceful parks accessible by bicycle along the Island’s 50-plus miles of public multi-use pathways.

Fish Haul Creek Park, Beach City Road – Fish Haul Creek Park is a remote 16-acre park featuring a maritime forest, wetlands, a salt marsh and a beach, complete with an observation boardwalk out to the salt marsh and a shaded trail that winds through the live oaks to the sandy shore of Port Royal Sound. The sand and mud of the tidal flats provide a feeding playground for shore birds and marine creatures, while the ebb and flow of the tide alters the beach constantly. At low tide, you’ll see local explorers focused on clams, fish, shells or a quiet walk. As you admire the grand view and varied habitats, consider the park’s history: You’re standing on ground that Native Americans called home over 3,000 years ago; and in 1862, Mitchelville was founded here, built and self-governed by freed slaves—the first such community in America

Barker Field Observation Deck, Mitchelville Road – Tucked back behind the baseball and soccer fields of Barker Field hides a long boardwalk that carries you toward Port Royal Sound. An observation deck awaits you at the end of the boardwalk, delivering an expansive view across the Sound. To the east is the Atlantic, and to the west is the Broad River. In the early morning, the magnificent sunrise draws your attention out to the ocean and sights of St. Helena and Parris Islands, while a sky filled with pinks, purples, yellows and blues greets your day.

Greens Shell Community Park, Squire Pope Road – Take a stroll back in time to the Greens Shell Community Park, a site listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Go through the small gate into Amalie Cemetery and turn down the wood-chip path to the right. You will be lead to an elevated boardwalk and platform that protects an archeological gem. As you stand on the platform, peer down on the earthen and oyster shell ring that is four feet high and 30 feet wide at the base. The large shell ring encloses about two acres of land and defines the outside of a Native American farming village dating back to 1335 AD. Stroll over the enclosed area to the platform across the way: You’re now above the other side of the ring and looking out over Skull Creek and the inter-coastal waterway toward Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.

The Veterans Memorial at Shelter Cove Community Park, Shelter Cove Lane – The American and POW/MIA flags fly vigil day and night over a white granite memorial honoring veterans of American military service. The memorial sits in a quiet park on the east bank of Broad Creek. Go along the pathway through the park and take in the view at the observation deck, then sit a spell on one of the benches under the arbors, where peace and patriotism rest in harmony. Twice each year, on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day, the community fills the memorial lawn to honor members of our armed forces past and present.

Old House Creek Pier, Sterling Pointe Drive – Old House Creek features a secluded fishing and crabbing pier with a vista across Calibogue Sound. At the end of the 225-foot pier there’s a wildlife viewing area where you’re like to see shrimp and fiddler crabs. Many locals come by bike to fish and crab the slow-moving creek, and generally a small neighborhood gathers at sunset to close the day, a nightly ritual for some families.

Looking to the Pathway Future

Here on Hilton Head Island, we’ve installed kiosks on island pathways and renovated existing kiosks, featuring detailed maps showing the pathway system and the points for beach access along the pathway network. The maps include safety rules as well as close-up details of the immediate pathway area showing locations of eating areas, parks, points of interest, rest stops, descriptive and education information about the Island and surrounding area.

Similar kiosks have been installed along the pathways in the Town’s two largest private communities, Sea Pines and Hilton Head Plantation. The Sea Pines community is a resort-oriented community with 17 miles of pathways. Many of the kiosks in Sea Pines include pockets containing Sea Pines bike trail maps of which more than 15,000 are distributed annually to visitors.

Education & Encouraged use of the Pathway System

While pathways have been in place in parts of Hilton Head Island for nearly 40 years and growth of the system has continued without interruption since the late 1960s, the eco-friendly aspects of the island—including a dense canopy of pines and live oaks—sometimes keep these pathways a bit of a secret. Lately, with the emergence of recreational biking as a much more popular pursuit, especially among families, the secret is out. Now part of the challenge is to encourage safe cycling in general, and sharing the road.

Sharing the road safely is in most instances for active "A" cyclists, especially where pathways become shared roadway trails at intersections and when pathways cross roads. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s office sends public service announcements to local media when running and cycling events are taking place, urging motorists to be cautious of event participants.

History Of Biking Is A Piece Of The Island’s Commitment To Eco-tourism

The Hilton Head Island community has a history of environmental leadership and remains a pioneer in the green movement. Multi-use pathways were constructed on the island when development first began in the early 1970’s and has not stopped. There are over 100 miles of pathways and this number is growing yearly, including 12 miles of hard packed beach accessible to bicycles from several access points along the pathway network. Over 2,000,000 visitors make Hilton Head their vacation destination annually. These visitors are attracted to this community because of the beaches, natural beauty, shopping, recreation, and dining offerings. Bicycling is becoming an important part of this mix because it’s an attractive and convenient way to explore the Island.

Biking – A Reason To Come To Hilton Head Island

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB) is designated as the official marketing organization for Hilton Head Island and is focused on developing strategies designed to attract visitors year-round to enjoy our beaches, golf, outdoor recreation, watersports, the relaxed Lowcountry environment, restaurants, shopping and much more.

Hilton Head Island was the first community in the country developed with environmental sensitivity at its core, and although perhaps not designed with sustainability in mind, bicycle pathways were incorporated into the central infrastructure from the very beginning.

Those bicycle pathways were first considered attractive activity alternatives, primarily for children. Times have changed and now the Town’s network of 100-plus miles of bicycle pathways are a legitimate draw worth promoting, especially to families—and Hilton Head Island is decidedly a family destination.