Roller Coaster Trail
Distance - ?.? mi.
Roller Coaster is an underutilized treasure and truly the Island’s hidden gem. The second longest trail on the Island, Roller Coaster stretches three miles parallel to the beach and is a must see for more experienced backpackers. It used to be an impassible trail, so don’t let old tales stop you from hiking this beauty now! The south entrance is accessible via Lost Trail and travels up north. From here, the name Roller Coaster is an appropriate fit as the trail takes a gentle up and down course, meandering through maritime forest, for most of the duration of the length. Out of reach for most day hikers based out of Sea Camp, make sure and incorporate this trail especially if you are headed to Brickhill campsite or day hiking around the north end. The trail continues for two miles until it hits South Cut Road. Approximately 1.6 miles in, the terrain opens up into a woodsy area. The trail is well blazed but as always be aware of horse trails which misleadingly crisscross through. Roller Coaster was recently cleared in Fall of 2015, so it is un-mistakenly clear.
Once you approach South Cut Road, you have the option to continue North or detour right a quarter mile to the beach. One of the most beautiful dune habitats, large sand dunes tower above the ocean. Be sure to check out a beautiful intricate oak tree slightly hidden on the left side of the road as the sand begins. Continue north on Roller Coaster as you approach Lake Whitney. There are several cleared viewpoints on the west side of the trail which provide optimal wildlife viewing. As you near the end of the trail, it will begin to climb up towards the dunes. On your left is arguably one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island where you can gaze through the oaks out onto the lake… maybe if it’s warm enough you’ll even see a gator or two off in the distance!
Hiking Roller Coaster north incorporated with a return trip down Bunkley Trail will easily connect you back to Brickhill Campsite while simultaneously offering one of the best wilderness experiences.