Roller Coaster Trail
Distance - 3.0 mi.
Roller Coaster is truly Cumberland’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. Roller Coaster was an impassable trail, so don’t let old tales stop you from hiking this beauty now! The south entrance is accessible via Lost Trail and travels north. From here, the name Roller Coaster is appropriate, as the trail takes a gentle up and down course, meandering through maritime forest and ancient dunes. Out of reach for most day hikers based at Sea Camp, be sure to incorporate this trail on your backpacking trip, especially if you are headed to Brickhill Bluff Campsite or day hiking around the north end. Roller Coaster 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 signed but as always, be aware of horse trails which misleadingly crisscross through.
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 and offer a relaxing beach experience. Continue north on Roller Coaster as you approach Lake Whitney. There are several cleared viewpoints overlooking freshwater ponds 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 toward the dunes. On your left is inarguably one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island, where you can gaze through the oaks onto the lake. Maybe if it’s warm enough you’ll even see an alligator or two off in the distance!
Hiking Roller Coaster north and returning down Bunkley Trail (using North Cut Road as a connector) will easily bring you to Brickhill Bluff Campsite while offering one of Cumberland’s best wilderness experiences.