Best Easy Day Hikes Charleston, South Carolina  by Johnny Molloy

Best Easy Day Hikes Charleston, South Carolina Guide Book

by Johnny Molloy (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Charleston, South Carolina  by Johnny Molloy
Charleston and the Lowcountry’s hiking grounds range from singletrack wooded trails along creeks and underneath resplendent forest to well-marked nature trails to strolls Introduction 3 on asphalt interpretive paths. Hikes in this guide cover the gamut. While by definition a best easy day hike is not strenuous and generally poses little danger to the traveler, knowing a few details about the nature of Charleston and the Lowcountry will enhance your explorations.

© 2016 Johnny Molloy/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes Charleston, South Carolina" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 20.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 20.

This hike makes a loop in the varied habitats of ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. The circuit hike traces an old railroad grade before curving around Goose Pond and other wetlands ideal for waterfowl. It then circles around scenic Alexander Pond, in the shadow of Grove Plantation, an 1828 home that now serves as refuge headquarters. After viewing Grove Plantation loop north back to the trailhead.
Edisto Island, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
Walk along a scenic tidal stream ensconced in maritime forestlands. Start on a bluff overlooking Awendaw Creek and a bordering tidal marsh, then wind in and out of woods, occasionally crossing boardwalks over open marshes. Farther on, extensive vistas of the Intracoastal Waterway and beyond to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge are revealed. End at a spot called Walnut Grove, where massive live oaks enhance the palms and other waterside woodland.
Pineland, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area is one of South Carolina’s finest coastal treasures, with a large swath of rich maritime woods, marshy creeks, and 2 miles of wild beaches to explore. A trail leads from the mainland across a marsh to the edge of the Atlantic, where one direction takes you to and through “the Boneyard,” where skeletal trees meld with the shore in a photographer’s haven, while the other direction leads to more typical open beachfront toward Townsend Creek.
Edisto Island, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
This hike starts at a primitive national forest campground and follows South Carolina’s master path—the Palmetto Trail— through upland woods, then joins an old logging railroad grade, passing through a Carolina bay, one of the unusual oval-shaped wetlands extending through the Carolinas and beyond to New Jersey and down to Florida. After passing through the bay, you then traverse wooded swampland, still on the railroad grade. The hike then emerges at a forest road that makes for a good place to turn around.
Pineland, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
Come see where South Carolina was born and where the first Charleston colonists set up in 1670, at a preserved state historic site. The hike leads you first to the Animal Forest, where a variety of creatures from bears to bison to bobcats are ensconced in habitats, along with farm animals. From there you will head out to Albemarle Point, the site of Charleston’s original settlement, viewing historic sites and absorbing interpretive information. See the ship Adventure on Old Towne Creek. On your way back view the Legare-Waring House and Mrs. Waring’s Garden.
Charleston, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
This hike presents an opportunity to walk through big woods to a wooded swamp, then a boardwalk and important South Carolina wood stork nesting site. Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve is also good for wildflowers. The walking is easy on mostly doubletrack paths. The final part uses a bridge and dike to pass through the wooded swamp before ending at the boardwalk. Your return trip can add variety via singletrack hiking trails. South Carolina has become an important wood stork breeding ground, as Florida’s extensive wetlands continue to be diminished. The first wood stork nesting sites were found in South Carolina in 1981. The primary reason Dungannon Plantation was purchased by the state in 1995 was to provide wood stork nesting habitat. It is ironic to think that a swamp created by man for agricultural purposes some 200 years ago, to flood rice fields, has now become a breeding site for an endangered bird.
Hollywood, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
The hike travels to an ancient shell mound known as the Spanish Mount, situated on the banks of tidal Scott Creek. First, leave one of the state park campgrounds, then wander through maritime hardwoods, coming along Scott Creek, where marsh views await. Continue under live oaks, cedars, and palms to the stabilized shell midden, where you can see layers of shells piled over time and good panoramas of the surrounding estuary. The Forest Loop adds new trail on your return. A trip to Edisto Beach State Park is a trip to yesteryear. This quaint park lies next to a small vacation village, with no high rises and very few chain stores. Edisto Beach has been dubbed “Mayberry by the Sea.” Edisto Beach, 20 miles off South Carolina’s main coastal drag, US 17, is at the end of a dead-end road.
Edisto Island, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
This hike may have more highlights per foot than any other trail in this guide. This national recreation trail just off the Edisto River mixes human and natural history as you traverse the Old Charleston Road, the Kings Highway, and a former railroad bed through incredibly lush rich bottomland forest. Visit the site of old Jacksonboro, a rice dike, and an old phosphate mine and plant, barely discernable these days. Natural highlights include a long boardwalk over swamp wetland to a braid of the Edisto River, huge live oaks, wildflowers, and a plethora of everywhere-you-look beauty.
Edisto Island, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
The Habitat Loop at Caw Caw Interpretive Center uses a network of trails traversing a variety of habitats to deliver an all-encompassing overview of Lowcountry flora and fauna. The sheer number of trails will ensure repeat visits to this preserve. The trails are as varied as the terrain, using boardwalks over swamps, narrow natural-surface paths in deep woods, and open grassy tracks atop dikes. There are a total of 8 miles of trails at Caw Caw, which comes in at 654 acres. Two centuries ago the site was part of a 5,000-plus-acre rice plantation. A nature-oriented county park, Caw Caw offers extensive environmental education programs covering habitats, plants, rice cultivation, Gullah culture, and natural resource management, among other subjects.
Hollywood, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
This is your chance to walk through a place that is much more water than land without getting your feet wet! Make a loop through Ion Swamp, where dark waters lie below tall trees, where birds call and other creatures lurk in the distance. Yet, you will see evidence of when this back of beyond was once a working rice plantation, with canals and dikes still visible. Much of your walking will be atop low, irregular dikes from the 1700s, left to time and the elements. Interpretive signage enhances the experience.
Charleston, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
This attractive park for active people sits on James Island, near the Stono River. Hikers enjoy a set of three interconnected paved pathways wandering the woods, fields, lakes, and marshes of this preserve. The hike starts near the park headquarters and runs along the main park lake. The loop then turns and circles through the north end of the park. It then comes along the marsh of James Island Creek. Enjoy aquatic views, working your way through park facilities to complete the circuit.
Charleston, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
This hike encompasses many highlights in a short distance. First, start at the Sewee Visitor Center, where you can learn a lot about the Lowcountry’s natural history. From there, take a boardwalk past a pond, then come to a red wolf viewing area, where you can see the canines in action. The trail then passes through wooded swamp and coastal woodlands before circling around more ponds. Finally, the path returns to the visitor center, where you can learn a little bit more about this part of the world.
Pineland, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
This circuit hike wanders a little known lesser-visited parcel of Givhans Ferry State Park. Here, a doubletrack path circles the perimeter of upland forest where nature reigns and nothing but the natural world meets the eye. After starting at the park entrance at Givhans Ferry Road, you will circle the tract and return to Givhans Ferry Road. A walk along a mown strip beside Givhans Ferry Road leads you to the trailhead. Sometimes when walking through seemingly pristine forests in local, state, or national parks, we imagine the lands being that way since time immemorial. That is certainly not the case here at Givhans Ferry State Park. While you walk the Old Loop Trail, the emphasis should be on the word old, for Givhans Ferry has been an integral part of South Carolina history. Situated along the banks of the river aboriginals called “Adusta” for its dark tint, the land along the Edisto became settled when 1700s colonists began spreading landward from Charleston. This bluff, at the river crossing of an Indian trail, was a logical homesite.
Dorchester, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.1
History and wildlife buffs will love this walk. Start at the informative park interpretive center, then walk the wetlands and bluffs of Biggin Creek, viewing a former limestone kiln and the Old Santee Canal, finished in 1800. Cruise by the modern Tailrace Canal before returning to Biggin Creek and visit observation decks where birds and alligators can be seen. Finally, visit Stony Landing House, a historic home overlooking waters below.
Charleston, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Situated on a mix of wooded islands and cordgrass marshes bordered by tidal streams, Palmetto Islands County Park presents a series of interconnected natural-surface and asphalt trails exploring what once was an aboriginal seasonal camp, plantation, brick-making area, and now county park. Today, you can hike amid maritime woods, along cordgrass marsh, and visit Nature Island. The walk continues to an elevated observation tower where you can look over the Wando River basin and other tidal waterways. Beyond that, the trek passes near picnic areas, fishing docks, and the balance of park offerings.
Charleston, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
Combine this fun, easy hike with a day of enjoying life on the Edisto River at Givhans Ferry State Park. Leave the park picnic area and dip into a ravine, then cruise along the bluffs of the Edisto River. Check out a tributary cascade before turning away to cruise flat woods. At trail’s end turn around to see it from the opposite angle as you backtrack to the trailhead or make an optional loop using the park roads.
Dorchester, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
You can see a lot of history on this walk. Explore two relics of history, the 4,000-year-old Sewee Shell Ring and a 600-year-old clam shell midden, both vestiges of previous cultures. The shell ring is considered ceremonial, while the clam midden is from harvesting nearby tidal waters for food. The loop hike also travels through tall woods, along a salt marsh and by rare shell mound vegetation.
Pineland, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
This hike offers some of the finest views in the Lowcountry. The terrain through which you walk is the former South Tibwin Plantation, now part of the Francis Marion National Forest. Traverse thick woods and then come upon a freshwater impoundment, good for birding. Work your way along dikes to the edge of Tibwin Creek, where marshes and woodlands stretch to the horizon, presenting natural vistas seldom seen in this part of the country. The views get even better when you come within sight of the Intracoastal Waterway, gaining views to the Atlantic Ocean and beyond, sans civilization.
Pineland, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
This backcountry hike traverses deep woods in Francis Marion National Forest along one of the most scenic freshwater creeks in the region. Walk in a lush valley where piney slopes transition to swamp hardwoods, exuding everywhere-youlook beauty. South Carolina’s master path—the Palmetto Trail—is your conduit through this forested hinterland where bridges and boardwalks aid your passage through wildflowerrich wetlands.
Charleston, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
This North Charleston preserve presents a series of interconnected natural-surface nature trails and paved paths you can use to cobble together a woodsy loop near Goose Creek. The number of trail intersections may seem daunting during your first visit. Nevertheless, the following loop will give you a good overview of the park, from the backwoods near Goose Creek and the north end of the park to the developed areas near the waterpark, the park lake, playground, and park center.
Charleston, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
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