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Sunken Forest Trail

Easy
 5.0 (1)

A calm boardwalk through a globally rare eco-system.


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Map Key

1.5

Miles

2.4

KM

Lollipop

0' 0 m

High

-2' -1 m

Low

4' 1 m

Up

4' 1 m

Down

0%

Avg Grade (0°)

0%

Max Grade (0°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Wildlife

ADA Accessible While not paved or fully flat, this trail is boardwalk almost all the way. There is some sand to be dealt with, but this is surely a more accessible trail.

Family Friendly This trail is both easy and relatively short. There are ranger-led hikes through this area daily throughout the summer and, otherwise, there is a self-guided nature trail to be enjoyed.

This trail, as with the rest of Sailors Haven, is only accessible by way of a ferry from Long Island or by on foot or bike from the surrounding communities on Fire Island.

Need to Know

It is really important to note that there is a real issue in this area with people feeding dear. Not only is this bad for the deer, but it also has led to the deer population exploding. This is harming this unique and fragile habitat. Thus, it is very important to not only not feed the deer but to also be careful with food scraps and garbage.

Description

This trail is a boardwalk and it is the main trail at Sailors Haven in Fire Island National Seashore. It is unblazed but is very easy to follow. The name of this trail stems from the unique maritime holly forest through which it leads that seems to be sunken into the sand dunes. In addition to the trail, there are many areas with benches and for observation.

The trail begins at the visitor center and marina. For about the first half of a mile, it heads pretty straight in an eastward direction. It then reaches what is referred to as the "Heart of the Forest." This area has plenty of seating and is the beginning of this trail's loop. It continues eastward until it passes two spurs to overlooks along the Great South Bay. The trail then turns southward over the island's dunes.

Next, the trail passes over the sand Burma Road and turns westward as it double tracks with the Swale Trail. Once the trail passes an access trail to the beach, it turns northward. Here, it follows the sometimes winding boardwalk back to the heart of the forest and, finally, follows the walk back to the visitor center.

Flora & Fauna

There are plenty of plants and animals throughout the forest to be observed and appreciated. However, the most important flora in this area is the maritime holly forest that gives this trail the name. This is a globally unique ecosystem. In fact, there is only one other place in the world with a similar habitat.

Contacts

Shared By:

Daniel McCloskey

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2081

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#64

in New York

#2,081

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Photos

The gateway to the Sunken Forest
Jul 21, 2021 near West Sa…, NY
Sunken Forest sign in the dunes.
Jul 21, 2021 near West Sa…, NY

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Jul 21, 2021
Daniel McCloskey