Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage In South Carolina

Here is everything you need to know about the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: South Carolina
  • Length: 58.05 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Palmetto Conservation Foundation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage is a significant part of the larger Palmetto Trail system in South Carolina, known for its rich historical background. The trail follows the path of General Francis Marion, a prominent figure in the American Revolutionary War, who earned the nickname “Swamp Fox” due to his guerrilla warfare tactics in the swamps and forests of the region.

During the Revolutionary War, General Marion and his militia used the dense swamps and marshes of South Carolina as their base of operations, launching surprise attacks on British forces. The Swamp Fox Trail Passage retraces some of the routes taken by Marion and his men, providing hikers with a unique opportunity to experience the same landscapes that played a crucial role in the war.

The trail passes through various historical sites, including the Eutaw Springs Battlefield, where the Battle of Eutaw Springs took place in 1781. This battle was one of the last major engagements of the war in the South and resulted in a strategic victory for the American forces. Hikers can explore the battlefield and learn about the tactics employed by both sides during this pivotal moment in American history.

Additionally, the Swamp Fox Trail Passage also traverses the Santee Cooper Lakes region, which holds historical significance due to the construction of the Santee Cooper Project in the 1930s. This project, one of the largest public works initiatives of the New Deal era, aimed to provide flood control, hydroelectric power, and economic development to the region. The lakes created by the project now offer recreational opportunities for visitors, while also serving as a reminder of the transformative impact of this historical undertaking.

Overall, the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage offers hikers a chance to immerse themselves in the history of South Carolina, from the Revolutionary War era to more recent times. By following in the footsteps of General Francis Marion and exploring the sites along the trail, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the region’s historical significance and the events that shaped it.

While On The Trail

Access Points

The major access points or trailheads along the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage are:

1. Buck Hall Recreation Area: Located in McClellanville, this is the southern terminus of the Swamp Fox Trail Passage. It offers parking, restrooms, and camping facilities.

2. Halfway Creek Trailhead: This trailhead is located off Highway 17 near Awendaw. It provides parking and access to the trail.

3. Witherbee Ranger Station: Situated in the Francis Marion National Forest, this ranger station serves as a trailhead for the Swamp Fox Trail Passage. It offers parking and restrooms.

4. Elmwood Recreation Area: Located near the town of Jamestown, this recreation area provides parking, restrooms, and camping facilities. It is a popular access point for the trail.

5. Potato Creek Trailhead: Situated off Highway 41 near Jamestown, this trailhead offers parking and access to the trail.

6. Wambaw Creek Wilderness Area: This wilderness area is located in the Francis Marion National Forest and serves as a trailhead for the Swamp Fox Trail Passage. It provides parking and primitive camping options.

7. Honey Hill Recreation Area: Situated near McClellanville, this recreation area offers parking, restrooms, and camping facilities. It is a popular access point for the trail.

8. Buck Hall Landing: Located in McClellanville, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is the northern terminus of the Swamp Fox Trail Passage.

These are some of the major access points along the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Palmetto Breeze Transit – Local public bus service offering transportation options in the area.
2. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service available for convenient transportation.
3. Lyft – Another popular on-demand ride-hailing service providing transportation solutions.
4. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service serving the region.
5. Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) – Public transportation system serving the Charleston area.
6. Charleston Executive Limo – Luxury limousine service for a comfortable and stylish transportation experience.
7. Charleston Rickshaw Company – Pedicab service offering eco-friendly transportation in downtown Charleston.
8. Charleston Water Taxi – Water-based transportation service providing scenic rides along the Charleston Harbor.
9. Charleston Pedicab – Pedicab service offering a unique and fun way to explore the city.
10. Charleston Green Taxi – Environmentally friendly taxi service serving the Charleston area.


The Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail, including trailheads and designated rest areas.

2. Parking: There are parking areas available at the trailheads and access points along the Swamp Fox Trail Passage. These parking areas provide convenient access for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: The trail offers designated camping sites for overnight stays. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

5. Water Sources: The trail provides access to water sources, such as rivers, streams, and lakes. Visitors can use these sources for drinking, fishing, or other recreational activities.

6. Trail Markers: The trail is well-marked with signage and trail markers to ensure visitors can easily navigate the Swamp Fox Trail Passage.

7. Information Kiosks: There may be information kiosks at trailheads or other strategic points along the trail. These kiosks provide maps, trail information, and safety guidelines for visitors.

8. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The trail passes through diverse natural landscapes, offering opportunities for wildlife viewing. Visitors can observe birds, mammals, reptiles, and other wildlife species along the trail.

9. Scenic Overlooks: The trail may have designated scenic overlooks that provide panoramic views of the surrounding natural beauty. These overlooks are perfect for photography or simply enjoying the scenery.

10. Interpretive Signage: Along the trail, there may be interpretive signage that provides information about the local flora, fauna, history, or cultural significance of the area.

Please note that amenities may vary along different sections of the trail, so it is advisable to check specific information for the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage before planning your visit.

Nearby Services

1. Francis Marion Hotel – Historic hotel offering comfortable lodging in downtown Charleston.
2. Hampton Inn & Suites Charleston/West Ashley – Modern hotel with complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool.
3. Holiday Inn Express Charleston – Ashley Phosphate – Convenient hotel with free breakfast and a fitness center.
4. Comfort Suites West of the Ashley – All-suite hotel featuring an outdoor pool and complimentary breakfast.
5. Best Western Charleston Inn – Affordable hotel with an outdoor pool and free breakfast.
6. Charleston Marriott – Upscale hotel offering stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, and a fitness center.
7. Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District – Contemporary hotel with spacious rooms, a rooftop pool, and a 24/7 fitness center.
8. The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel – Historic hotel with elegant rooms, a rooftop pool, and a restaurant.
9. Courtyard by Marriott Charleston Historic District – Modern hotel with a rooftop terrace, a fitness center, and a bistro.
10. The Vendue – Boutique hotel featuring unique artwork, a rooftop bar, and a restaurant.
11. Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital – Acute care hospital providing emergency medical services.
12. Trident Medical Center – Full-service hospital offering emergency care and a range of medical services.
13. Charleston Animal Society – Animal shelter providing emergency services and pet adoption.
14. Charleston County Sheriff’s Office – Law enforcement agency offering emergency response and public safety services.
15. Charleston Fire Department – Fire and rescue services for emergency situations.
16. Charleston County Emergency Management Department – Government agency responsible for coordinating emergency response and preparedness efforts.

Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage Difficulty Notes

The Palmetto Trail’s Swamp Fox Trail Passage presents a moderate level of difficulty for hikers. Spanning approximately 47 miles through the Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina, this trail offers a diverse and challenging terrain. Hikers will encounter sections with uneven surfaces, roots, and occasional mud, requiring careful footing and balance. The trail also features some steep inclines and descents, adding an extra level of physical exertion. However, with proper preparation and hiking experience, the Swamp Fox Trail Passage can be an enjoyable and rewarding adventure for those seeking a moderate challenge in a beautiful natural setting.

Features And Attractions

The Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage is a 47-mile long trail located in South Carolina. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage:

1. Francis Marion National Forest: This vast forest covers a significant portion of the trail and offers beautiful scenery, including pine and hardwood forests, swamps, and wildlife.

2. Wambaw Creek Wilderness Area: Located within the Francis Marion National Forest, this wilderness area is known for its pristine waterways, cypress swamps, and diverse wildlife.

3. Hell Hole Bay Wilderness Area: Another wilderness area within the Francis Marion National Forest, Hell Hole Bay offers stunning views of the bay, marshes, and tidal creeks.

4. Echaw Creek: This scenic creek is a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing, offering peaceful waters surrounded by lush vegetation.

5. Biggin Church Ruins: These historic ruins date back to the 1700s and were once part of a colonial-era church. The ruins provide a glimpse into the area’s history.

6. Halfway Creek Trailhead: This trailhead marks the halfway point of the Swamp Fox Trail Passage and offers a scenic spot to rest and enjoy the surroundings.

7. Sewee Shell Ring: This archaeological site is one of the oldest Native American shell rings in the United States. It is believed to have been built by the Sewee tribe thousands of years ago.

8. Buck Hall Recreation Area: Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, this recreation area offers camping, fishing, and boating opportunities. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the coastal scenery.

9. Awendaw Passage: This section of the Palmetto Trail connects the Swamp Fox Trail Passage to the Awendaw area. It features beautiful marshes, tidal creeks, and diverse wildlife.

10. Hampton Plantation State Historic Site: Situated near the end of the trail, this historic site preserves the remnants of a colonial-era plantation. Visitors can explore the plantation house, gardens, and learn about the area’s history.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is permitted along the trail, but campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings or grills.
3. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and waste, and do not disturb or damage the natural surroundings.
4. Hunting is not allowed on the trail.
5. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to hikers and equestrians.
6. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
7. Respect private property and stay on the designated trail.
8. During hunting season, hikers are advised to wear bright colors for visibility.
9. Swimming or wading in bodies of water along the trail is at your own risk.
10. Be aware of seasonal restrictions, such as closures due to weather conditions or maintenance work.

Seasonal Information

The Palmetto Trail’s Swamp Fox Trail Passage is a scenic and diverse trail located in South Carolina. When planning your visit, it’s important to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy this trail and be aware of any seasonal closures.

One of the best times to visit the Swamp Fox Trail Passage is during the spring season, particularly from March to May. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant with mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers. The trail comes alive with vibrant colors, and you can witness the beauty of nature as you hike through the lush forests and wetlands. Spring is also a great time for birdwatching, as many migratory birds make their way through the area.

Another ideal time to visit is in the fall, from September to November. The temperatures are cooler, making it more comfortable for hiking, and the foliage transforms into a stunning display of red, orange, and yellow hues. The trail offers breathtaking views of the changing leaves, creating a picturesque and memorable experience.

It’s important to note that the Swamp Fox Trail Passage may have seasonal closures or restrictions. During the summer months, particularly from June to August, the trail can become hot and humid, with increased mosquito activity. It is advisable to check for any closures or advisories related to weather conditions or maintenance work before planning your visit.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Palmetto Trail’s Swamp Fox Trail Passage are during the spring and fall seasons. These times offer pleasant weather, beautiful scenery, and opportunities for birdwatching and leaf-peeping. However, it’s essential to stay informed about any seasonal closures or restrictions that may affect your visit.


1. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trailhead for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is equipped with accessible ramps, restrooms, and facilities for wheelchair users.
3. Paved Pathways: Portions of the trail are paved, providing a smooth surface for wheelchair users.
4. Boardwalks: Wheelchair-accessible boardwalks are present in certain sections, allowing for easy passage over wet or uneven terrain.
5. Rest Areas: ADA-compliant rest areas with benches and picnic tables are strategically placed along the trail for individuals to take breaks.
6. Accessible Camping: Campsites with accessible facilities, including restrooms and picnic areas, are available for wheelchair users.
7. Trail Signage: Clear and visible signage along the trail provides information and directions in accessible formats.
8. Trail Width: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility devices, ensuring a safe and comfortable passage.
9. Accessible Water Stations: Accessible water stations are available at various points along the trail for individuals to stay hydrated.
10. Assistance Animals: Service animals are permitted on the trail to assist individuals with disabilities.
11. Accessible Information: Trail maps, brochures, and other informational materials are available in accessible formats, such as braille or large print.
12. Trail Maintenance: Regular maintenance is conducted to ensure the trail remains accessible, including clearing debris and repairing any accessibility features.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: Moderate to difficult, with uneven terrain and potential for muddy conditions.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for hot and humid weather, as well as potential thunderstorms.
3. Wildlife Awareness: Watch out for snakes, alligators, and other wildlife commonly found in swampy areas.
4. Tick and Mosquito Prevention: Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves/pants to protect against ticks and mosquitoes.
5. Hydration: Carry plenty of water, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
6. Navigation: Bring a map or GPS device to ensure you stay on the designated trail.
7. Trail Markers: Look for the Palmetto Trail markers to stay on the correct path.
8. Trail Maintenance: Be aware of fallen trees or other obstacles that may require detours or careful navigation.
9. Cell Phone Reception: Expect limited or no cell phone reception in certain areas, so plan accordingly.
10. Solo Hiking: It is recommended to hike with a partner or inform someone of your itinerary if hiking alone.
11. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, whistle, and know basic wilderness survival skills.
12. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and minimizing impact on the environment.
13. Trail Closure: Check for any trail closures or alerts before starting your hike.
14. Camping: If camping along the trail, follow designated camping regulations and be cautious of wildlife.
15. Trail Etiquette: Yield to other hikers, bikers, or equestrians, and be respectful of private property along the trail.
16. Emergency Contacts: Carry emergency contact information and know the nearest access points for emergency services.

Conservation Notes

The Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage is a significant natural resource in South Carolina, contributing to the state’s conservation efforts. This trail passage traverses through diverse ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, and open fields, providing habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. The conservation status of this trail passage is of utmost importance due to its ecological significance and the need to protect and preserve its natural resources.

The wetlands along the Swamp Fox Trail Passage are particularly valuable for their role in water filtration, flood control, and providing habitat for numerous species. These wetlands support a variety of plant species, including cypress trees, tupelo gum, and various aquatic plants. They also serve as critical breeding grounds for amphibians, reptiles, and waterfowl. Protecting these wetlands is crucial to maintaining the overall health and biodiversity of the region.

The forests along the trail passage are also vital for conservation efforts. They provide habitat for numerous bird species, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and the prothonotary warbler, both of which are considered species of concern. Additionally, these forests support a diverse array of plant species, including longleaf pine, oak, and hickory trees. Preserving these forests is essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and protecting the biodiversity of the area.

Efforts to conserve the Palmetto Trail – Swamp Fox Trail Passage involve land acquisition, habitat restoration, and the implementation of sustainable management practices. Conservation organizations and government agencies work together to protect and manage the trail passage, ensuring that it remains a valuable resource for future generations. By maintaining the conservation status of this trail passage, South Carolina can continue to benefit from its ecological services and preserve its natural beauty.

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