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Cumberland Island Backpacking
Guided Backpacking Trip
March 2025, TBA
Cumberland Island Hiking

Join Snakeroot for a spring backpacking trip through the premier barrier island of the southeast. We'll spend 5-days exploring the forests, beaches, and natural history of Cumberland Island’s 10,000 acre wilderness area. Proceeds from the trips support the work of Wild Cumberland, the non-profit dedicated to protecting Cumberland’s wilderness and ecology.

No backpacking experience is needed, but you must be able to hike up to 10 miles in a day (flat terrain!), carry a 25-30 lbs pack, sleep on the ground (mediated by a sleeping pad), and negotiate life with biting insects. Cumberland’s maritime forests are dominated by majestic live oaks draped in resurrection ferns and Spanish moss. The forests are alive with birds, frogs, reptiles, wild horses and armadillos. The undeveloped coastline is rich with shells and sea life. On day 3 we'll meet Carol Ruckdeschel, the woman who has committed her life to defending this wilderness gem of the Georgia coast, and a lifelong student of Cumberland’s natural history.

We'll teach you the basics of leave no trace wilderness backpacking and about the natural history of Cumberland's maritime forest.

Price: $950/adult*, $700/youth (12-17 years, must be accompanied) 

Fee includes food, ferry, camping permits, payment to guides, and donation to Wild Cumberland.

*These are suggested prices, we encourage guests to pay on a sliding scale, $750-$1150, and we ask you to make a $100-200+ donation to Wild Cumberland


or text/phone 828-675-8218 to book.

Camping in Cumberland Island
Frequently Asked Questions
  • How strenuous will it be?
    We will be walking outside for several hours each day; the hikes will be doable for anyone who is moderately fit. It's the mountains, so the terrain is inevitably hilly. Each full day will entail 6-8 miles of hiking, with up to 1500’ of elevation gain (and loss). The pace will be moderate, since we will stop frequently to observe and learn about the natural wonders of the Southern Appalachians. If you are familiar with Road Scholar's Activity Level system, these weekends would rank as "Outdoor: Spirited."
  • What should I bring?
    Once registered, you will receive a detailed packing list, but essentially, you'll want clothes that are practical and comfortable. You can expect to get water on your feet and dirt on your clothes.
  • What about the weather?
    We will be outside in the weather all weekend, so you should be prepared for rainy in the 50s or sunny in the 80s. The woods are amazing in all sorts of weather, and spring is a fantastic time to be in the mountains. Typical daytime temps are 60s and 70s, and 40s at night.
  • What about transportation?
    Plan to arrive at the Celo Inn on Friday evening. All sites we will visit are within 45 minutes of the Inn; driving will be limited to no more than 90 minutes each day. We will carpool or use a van, details will be worked out once everyone is registered.
  • What about foraging? Will we learn about wild edibles?
    At Snakeroot, we are firm believers in an “eat something wild everyday” ethos. We will certainly incorporate some wild foods into our Saturday evening meal. Eating wild plants, animals, and fungi is an important way to connect to nature and deepen our relationship with other species. However, we also believe that wild plants and fungi should be appreciated for what they offer to the world in beauty, in complexity, and for each species' essential role in an intricate and coherent ecosystem. If you ask, we will tell you what is safe to taste and we will instruct you on ethical harvesting techniques; but learning about edible plants is generally not the focus of a Snakeroot tour. Stay tuned for a summer-time retreat that will be more focused on foraging (especially mushrooms).
  • What about fireflies? Will we see blue ghosts?
    We'll probably only see glowworms (firefly larvae) in April, but the May weekend falls in what is typically the heart of firefly season. At least one night walk is included in the weekend, and there may be opportunities to sign up for extra nights as well.
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