Need a quick getaway? Then hike this out and back. Just a short hop from Charleston, this trail winds down along the Intracoastal Waterway to the southern terminus of the Palmetto Trail and the Buck Hall Recreation Area.
This trail has a lot of hiking flexibility. If you are hiking solo or with only one vehicle or want to simply do the extra mileage, you can hike this trail out & back in a day, enjoying your trail lunch at the Buck Hall Recreation Area. With a couple vehicles, you can do a quick one way hike in either direction. I prefer hiking to the recreation area as there are picnic tables, bathrooms, and waterfront scenery which are nice amenities while you enjoy a lunch break.
For an out and back day hike, park at the Palmetto Trail Swamp Fox trail head on the west side of Hwy 17. Heading north on Hwy-17, you will go past the trailhead before you get to a turn-around on the divided highway. This trailhead is a little hard to pick out but it is just after Steed Creek and before Murell roads (you went too far if you get to the St. James AME Church). Once you get parked and geared up, the trail heads north out of the parking lot for about a half mile where it connects to the Swamp Fox portion of the Palmetto Trail. You’ll head East to branch off towards Awendaw. Heading to the West, the main trail will continue as the Swamp Fox portion of the Palmetto Trail. The Awendaw portion of the trail will loop back easterly along an old railway bed then following a dirt road, will head southerly crossing Hwy-17 (use caution) and continue to the canoe launch ramp on Awendaw Creek. This is a nice place for a short break. You can sit, enjoy a snack, and watch the water flow by. You’re about halfway to the recreation area here. From the canoe ramp, the trail will generally following the creek winding along the salt marsh and through the coastal palmettos, scrub oaks, and pines. You will cross over several foot bridges until the creek enters the Intracoastal Waterway. The trail loops back to the North just a short stretch and then turn southerly as it enters and ends at the Buck Hall Recreation Area boardwalk. The recreation area has a number of shaded picnic area where you can sit and enjoy lunch and views of the intracoastal waterfront.
Favorite Time of year: Fall through Spring.
Distance: 7.1 miles (one way)
Things to Know: This is an easy hike. If day hiking and leaving a vehicle at the Buck Hall Recreation Area there is small a day use/parking fee. Remember, this is the Lowcountry of South Carolina, so be prepared for a few wet parts along the trail, especially after a good rain. During the warmer months, the South Carolina mosquitoes can be a bit … ferocious.
Camping: Waterfront camping and restrooms are available at Buck Hall Recreation park (reservations required).
Pet friendly: Must be leashed at all times.
Getting There: Located along US-17 just a short distance from downtown, it’s about a 40 minute drive from the Charleston area.