National Recreation Trail

Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail 

(Charleston County)  


The Swamp Fox Trail is one of the Lowcountry’s oldestPicture of Trail 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 Turkey Creek.

For additional information from Palmetto Trail users: Trail Talk

Length: 42 miles one way.

Fees: None.

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.

To the Western trailhead: From Moncks Corner, drive north on US 52 for approximately 5 miles to the Canal Recreation Area on the right.

Hours: Year-round.

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 trailhead.

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 29429, Telephone: 843-928-3368. Or: Palmetto Conservation Foundation, 1314 Lincoln St., Suite 305, Columbia, SC 29201-3154,

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 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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