Swamp Fox Passage
Trail Activities: t
Trail Features: t
- Trail Head
- Visitor Center
- Water Launch
- No Fee
At 47 miles, the Swamp Fox Passage is the longest section of the cross-state Palmetto Trail. The passage traverses four distinct ecosystems through Francis Marion National Forest, including swamps made famous as hideouts of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion.
The Swamp Fox Trail is one of the Lowcountry’s oldest Picture 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. This Lowcountry section of the Palmetto Trail connects the Awendaw and Lake Moultrie Passages.
Temporary Reroute for Cane Gully (directions are posted on trail):
From Mile Marker 38 turn left (west) onto Forest Service Road 133 (labeled FS 133). Travel for approximately 1.4 miles. Turn right (north – northeast) onto Cane Gully Road. Travel for approximately .8 miles. Turn left (north) onto the Swamp Fox Passage where it crosses Cane Gully Road.
NOTICE: There is only one water source on the Swamp Fox Passage. This is at the Ranger Station off Steed Creek Road that is roughly 1.2 miles west of where Steed Creek Road crosses the trail between mile 13 and 14.
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.
After Turkey Creek, the Swamp Fox Passage shares the Jericho Horse Trail, from mile marker 19 to 26 (map sections 2 and 3). The water source at Halfway Creek campsite, as shown on map section 1 (on the Palmetto Conservation Foundation website), has been removed. No water is available at the Witherbee Ranger Station trailhead, as shown on map section 3 (on the Palmetto Conservation Foundation website). No restrooms or water are available at the US Hwy 52 trailhead. The former Canal Recreation Area has been closed and decommissioned.Directions:
Steed Creek (eastern) Trailhead—From Charleston, drive north on US Hwy 17 about 27 miles to intersection with Steed Creek Road (S-10-1032) on left side of highway. Trailhead and parking are on left 0.25 mile past Steed Creek Road. To access, drive to next crossover, make a U-turn, and continue back to parking and trailhead, now on right.
Witherbee Ranger Station (middle) Trailhead—From Charleston, drive north on US Hwy 17 about 9 miles to SC 41. Turn left onto SC 41 and drive 17 miles. At Huger, bear left onto SC 402 and drive 3 miles. Turn right onto Copperhead Road (S-8-125) and drive 2 miles. Turn right onto Witherbee Road (S-8-171) and drive 0.5 mile to parking at Ranger Station on right.
Witherbee Ranger Station (middle) Trailhead—From Moncks Corner, take US Hwy 52 north to SC 402. Turn right and drive 3 miles to Witherbee Road (S-8-171). Turn left and drive 7 miles on Witherbee/Wright Road to parking at the Ranger Station on the right.
US Hwy 52 (western) Trailhead—From Moncks Corner, take US Hwy 52 north. Stay on US 52 about 3.8 miles past the split with US Hwy 17 Alt. Watch for the neon yellow hiker highway sign. The trailhead and parking are on the right.
Halfway Creek Camp Site—From Charleston, drive north on US Hwy 17 about 27 miles to Steed Creek Road (S-10-133). Turn left and drive 5 miles to Halfway Creek Road (S-10-98). Turn left and drive 0.5 mile to campground on left.
Francis Marion National Forest | Witherbee Ranger District | 2421 Witherbee Road, Cordesville, S.C. 29434 | (843) 336-3248
Sewee Visitor & Environmental Education Center | 5821 Hwy. 17 N, Awendaw, SC 29429 | (843) 928-3368