Interpretive Trail

Sewee Shell Mound

(Francis Marion National Forest)


Nature has not been kind to Sewee Shell Mound in recent years. In 1989, this area was ground zero for Hurricane Hugo, and just two years afterward, wildfires swept through. Though the landscape is harsh, it has character and offers wonderful hiking and opportunities for archaeological exploration. For instance, the one-mile Interpretive Trail is an easy loop with two spurs to Native American historical sites. The trail begins as a shady, tree-lined path before moving into a swath of land that has been ravaged by the forces of nature. You will circle a freshwater marsh before joining a spur to the Sewee Shell Ring. Actually an ancient trash pile of oyster rings discarded by Native Americans, the ring is 4,000 years old and on the National Register of Historical Places. It’s the best preserved of a number of similar shell rings found along the East Coast. Another spur trail leads to a mound of discarded clamshells made by Native Americans on the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway. There are five interpretive stops and a 120-foot boardwalk overlooking the prehistoric shell ring.

Length: 1.0 mile with spurs

Fees: None.

Directions: From Charleston, follow US 17 north for approximately 18 miles and turn right (northeast) onto Doar Road (Charleston County S-10-432). Drive 2.5 miles and turn right (east) onto Salt Pond Road (FS 243), which is one lane with a turn-around loop at the end. After .5-mile, look for a sign on the right that marks the trailhead.

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Camping: There is no camping at Sewee Shell Mound, but Buck Hall Campground offers full facilities for camping. To find Buck Hall, follow US 17 north from Charleston for about 30 miles. Turn right onto Buck Hall Landing Road (FS 242), which runs into the campground. There are 14 sites with camp pads, fire rings, and electrical hookups; camping is $15 per unit. Parking for non-campers is $5 per vehicle.

Information: Francis Marion National Forest, Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center, 5821 U.S. 17 North, Awendaw, SC 29429, Telephone: 843-928-3368.

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 South Carolina State Trails Program
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Updated: October 21, 2005
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