The trails on Daniel Island are open! Temporarily shut down under COVID-19 restrictions, residents now are invited to take some of the first steps toward normalcy and create their own outdoor adventures along the winding paths and through the canopies of trees that part to reveal unparalleled snapshots of the Lowcountry.
The island was developed with 25 miles of trail and 13 different loops that offer something for everyone. Pack a picnic and link the loops for an all-day outing. With a combination of surfaces, from asphalt to wood to sand, a variety of experiences are available for walkers, runners, and cyclists.
Jane Baker, vice president of community services for the Daniel Island Property Owners’ Association, said that the Governors Park Loop offers something new with each visit and is a personal favorite.
“The Governors Park Loop,” she said, “meanders through a beautiful, shady maritime forest and offers impressive views of the Wando River throughout. One minute you are watching a pair of wading birds hunt for their lunch and the next you can be enjoying the view of a passing sailboat. It is a treasured ritual each time you experience it.”
The loop begins at the dock at Waterfront Park and continues toward Governors Park, circles back around the playground and returns down the same path ending back at the dock at Children’s Park.
Nearby, the Waterfront Park Loop, another popular option, offers a multi-sensory environment with a variety of surfaces and scenery. Users cross over creeks and swampy areas on wooden boardwalks and venture through forests with sweeping waterfront views. This loop is a little over 2 miles long and begins at the dock at
Waterfront Park and continues toward LTP Tennis Center, then continues back down Seven Farms Drive, turning left onto Daniel Island Drive and left again on Barfield Street continuing back through the trails across the water and ending back at the dock at Waterfront Park.
Susan McLure, a Daniel Island resident, commented that the Waterfront Park Trail “is the perfect walk to get some fresh air and perspective.” Plan for intermittent closures due to construction of The Waterfront community and the Daniel Island Yacht Club, but the Waterfront Park Loop will be open when construction activity does not impede the trail.
Smythe Park and Pierce Park also host their own loops that circle around the green space of each park. There’s a Clubhouse Loop, 1.6 miles long, that starts at the path on Delahow across from the 12th tee box and goes around down Balfour Street, past the clubhouse and back down Island Park Drive, ending where it began. The Daniel Island Property Owners’ Association is responsible for the maintenance of all trails.
For a newcomer, navigating the trails can be a little tricky at first. Daniel Island Real Estate offers a comprehensive fold-out map of the island that marks the trails, residential, commercial, and municipal areas. The chart in the pictures above lists each loop and indicates the color coded marker to be followed on the loop.
According to Baker, the POA is looking into developing a new app that would help residents easily access the local trail system, to replace an outdated DITrails app.
Hitting the streets
The trail system also extends to the commercial sections of Daniel Island. The City of Charleston is responsible for maintaining the town’s sidewalks and crosswalks. For two years, the POA and the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association have been working with the city to identify sections where crosswalk re-striping is necessary, and the project is now underway.
Baker said that pedestrian safety is a hot topic on Daniel Island. Lieutenant Matthew Wojslawowicz from the City of Charleston Police Department, concurred: “It is imperative that pedestrians remember to cross the street within a designated crosswalk when available. In the business district, there are crosswalks available at the intersections of Seven Farms Drive and Pier View Street, Seven Farms Drive and River Landing Drive, Seven Farms Drive and Island Park Drive, Island Park Drive and Fairchild Street, Island Park Drive and Central Island Street, and Island Park Drive and River Landing Drive.”
As the commercial areas continue to expand and flourish, adjustments should be evaluated to ensure safety for walkers and bikers.
“Kids like to meet and hang out at Refuel; Fairchild Street and Island Park Drive has become a tough intersection for all to navigate,” explained Baker.
There is a two-phase project underway to address the congestion at the intersection. Phase One included the installation of flashing signals at the intersection’s pedestrian crosswalk. Phase Two will include plans and installation of a stoplight. The project has been approved and funding has been secured for the second phase.
“The Fairchild/Island Park signal poles and mast arms are scheduled to be shipped by June,” said Marie Delcioppo, Charleston City council member for District 1. “We are reviewing the installation package for purchase, and construction is tentatively set to start in June on the conduit raceways and concrete foundation, so that when the poles and mast arms do arrive, it’s just a matter of installing them. If everything goes as planned, this should be complete well before school starts. The biggest issue is the delivery of the poles and mast arms.”