National Recreation Trail
Passage of the Palmetto Trail
The Swamp Fox Trail is one of the Lowcountry’s oldest
trails. It offers a long,
flat out-and-back journey through the swampy wetlands and coastal pine
forests of Francis Marion National Forest. When Revolutionary War
General Francis Marion sought refuge from British troops in the
state’s Lowcountry swamps, he earned the nickname “Swamp Fox.”
His guerilla tactics and legendary reputation eventually led Boy Scout
leaders to name this trail after Marion when it was built in 1968. As
far back as the late nineteenth century, logging companies had already
moved into the area, eventually developing a 300-mile network of
railbeds for their logging trains. The network was abandoned during
the 1920s; a decade before the Forest Service purchased the land.
Today, the elevated railways make fine hiking and mountain biking
paths in stretches that are swampy, while boardwalks and footbridges
help elsewhere. No equestrian or off-road vehicle use is permitted.
Deer, wild turkey, songbirds, and waterfowl are abundant along the
trail. There are two trailheads, and either one will provide you with
an enjoyable hike and diverse views. Of note is the Wadboo Swamp
(which should be avoided after rain) near the western entrance at
Canal Recreation Area, and the grassy savanna around Dog Swamp and
For additional information from Palmetto
Length: 42 miles one way.
Directions: To the Eastern trailhead: From Charleston, drive north on US 17 to
Steed Creek Road (Charleston County Road S-10-1032) in Awendaw. Look for
the trailhead parking area on US 17 just beyond Steed Creek Road.
the Western trailhead: From Moncks Corner, drive north on US 52 for
approximately 5 miles to the Canal Recreation Area on the right.
Camping: There is primitive camping available at Halfway Creek and several other
sites along the trail, but camping is limited to designated areas, and
the cutting of live trees for firewood is prohibited. The Halfway
Creek Campground is on Steed Creek Road, 5 miles from the Eastern
Information: Francis Marion
National Forest, Witherbee Ranger District, 2421 Witherbee Road,
Cordesville, S.C. 29434. Telephone:
843-336-3248. Also try the Sewee Visitor
& Environmental Education Center, 5821 Hwy. 17 N, Awendaw, SC
, 1314 Lincoln St., Suite 305, Columbia, SC
South Carolina State Trails Program
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street :: Columbia, SC 29201 :: 803-734-0173
Updated: August 6, 2008
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