Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Trail Activities: t

  • Walk


6.0 miles




Natural, Boardwalk

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Features: t

  • Information Sign
  • Point of Interest
  • Parking
  • Visitor Center
  • Scenic Observation
  • No Pets
  • Fee
  • No Camping


Journey from the past to the present and heritage to habitat at the Ravenel Caw Caw Interpretive Center. Rich in natural, cultural and historical resources, Caw Caw was once part of several rice plantations and home to enslaved Africans who applied their technology and skills in agriculture to carve the series of rice fields out of cypress swamps.

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Before you explore nature and cultural history on this 654 acre preserve, visit the Interpretive Center to learn about the area, pick up an informative trail map, and then hike the series of interconnecting trails where you will see wonders man made and natural. You will hike through the remnants of rice fields, earthen dikes, canals, and water control devices that were constructed by slaves during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. You will pass through preserved wetlands, swamps, and the surrounding forest that provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife including migratory waterfowl, wading birds, song birds, swallow tailed kites, wood storks, bald eagles, owls, deer, otters, alligators, calling frogs, and snakes. Bring binoculars, and remember to wear insect repellent during warm weather. Restrooms and drinking water are available at the Interpretive Center. Portions of the trails are ADA accessible. Pets and bicycles are not permitted.

Bottom Land/Hardwood Forest Trail: (1.1 miles) From the Interpretive Center, you will follow a short connector to this broad, grassy roadbed through the quiet of surrounding trees. After you cross the entrance drive, you will follow a narrow, winding dirt path through a densely wooded forest, where you will connect to the Maritime Forest Trail.

Swamp Sanctuary: (0.4 mile) Follow this shaded trail with boardwalk sections through cypress and maple swamps. You will reach the Laurel Hill Slave Settlement site.

Upland Forest Loop: (0.3 mile) Follow this short accessible loop trail through mixed oak forest. From the extended boardwalk, you will overlook the remnants of rice fields.

Rice Fields Trail: (1 mile) You will walk on top of an earthen dike overlooking an area where enslaved Africans grew rice at the turn of the 18th century. You can connect with the Marshland and Waterfowl Trails.

Waterfowl Trail: (1.2 miles) Starting from either the Rice Fields, or the Marshland Trail, you will circle a natural wetland habitat as you walk on top of earthen dikes, and along a grassy path between the water and the woods’ edge. Look for bald eagles and osprey.

Marshland Trail: (1 mile) You will walk on top of earthen dikes along former rice fields, tidal marsh, and managed bird sanctuary. You can connect to the Maritime Forest and Waterfowl Trails.

Maritime Forest Trail: (0.4 mile) You will wind through woods along a stream on this connector between the Marshland and Bottomland/Hardwood Forest Trails. You can also follow spur sections of the Maritime Forest Trail back to the Interpretive Center or to a midway point on the Bottomland/Hardwood Forest Trail.

Georgia Pacific Swamp Boardwalk: (.74 mile) From the Swamp Sanctuary Trail, you will walk across the swamp on 1,000 feet of boardwalk to connect with the Rice Fields Trail.

Habitat Loop: (3.2 miles) This is not a separate trail, but portions of the Bottomland/Hardwood Forest, Maritime Forest, Marshland, Waterfowl, and Rice Fields Trails are used to form a loop of the perimeter.


From Charleston: Drive south on US 17 toward Ravenel. From the intersection with SC 162, continue on US 17 another 2.5 miles. The Caw Caw Interpretive Center entrance is on the right.

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Caw Caw Interpretive Center | 5200 Savannah Highway, Ravenel, SC 29470 | (843) 762-8015

Charleston County Parks & Recreation Commission861 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC 29412 | (843) 795-4386 | Email

KML fileTrail Segments (Paths)
Trail Features (Points of Interest)
Lat: 32.79184037792190
Long: -80.19626295764158