Dune Ridge Trail is a 3.75 mile hike around the northern half of Little Talbot Island State Park. When you first enter, there’s a $5 admission fee per vehicle, but if it’s not terribly busy you can park in front of the ranger’s station right at the entrance. From there, it’s about a minute’s walk to the trail head.
This was the first hike we actually needed sun screen for! Amazing. I still ended up with a weird tan.
Even though it’s the middle of January, it was a nice 70° and there was a cool breeze coming in from the ocean. The first half of the trail is through the woods, which we practically ran through to get away from the mosquitoes. Running definitely makes it hard to take pictures, let me tell you. There’s a picture up there of a palm tree at a wacky angle and I was walking the entire time I was trying to take it — we literally could not stop or we would be swarmed. Which was crazy because the night before, we treated our clothes with permethrin (after last time‘s tick incident) and right before we started the trail we doused ourselves in deet. Apparently Little Talbot mosquitoes don’t give a crap.
But as you get closer to the ocean, you can hear the waves through the trees (and the bugs in your ears), and before long the forest empties out into sand dunes, one of which we decided to climb. From the top, we had an awesome view of the water (see the fourth picture in the photoset).
Out on the beach, the tide was definitely coming in. If you’re too late, part of the trail is completely washed out, and you can either wade through the water or climb over all the piles of driftwood to keep going. The driftwood is really more like drift-trees. We made it just in time to get our shoes a little wet, but still carry on mostly unaffected.
The further down the beach you go, the more people you run into who are just out there doing beachy things. It’s not exactly a solitary hike, but the feeling of getting out of the woods and onto the wide open beach is definitely worth it.
Eventually the trail takes you away from the beach, down a boardwalk and out to the main parking lot where everybody else parks. From there, you can walk back up the road to the ranger’s station and make sure the permethrin really did keep all the ticks off (it did! Hallelujah.)