filed under: featured trails
The South Carolina Lowcountry's "real swamp" experience!
Designated in 1984
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in the NRT Database
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The National Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest located in Four Holes Swamp, SC contains within its 18,000 acres the largest remaining stand of virgin Bald Cypress and Tupelo Gum swamp forest left anywhere in the world. The Beidler Forest has been recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, a National Natural Landmark, an Important Bird Area, and a site on the Underground Railroad.
Wander along an elevated boardwalk past ancient trees, black water swamp, clear pools, and abundant wildlife. Thousand-year-old trees and native wildlife abound in this pristine sanctuary that has been untouched for millennia. The swamp is a birding paradise, with some 140 species of bird documented on the sanctuary, including nesting Prothonotary Warblers from April-July and Barred Owls present year-round. Reptiles are frequently seen from the boardwalk trail during the warm months.
A 1.75-mile self-guiding boardwalk trail allows visitors the chance to safely venture deep into the heart of the swamp... to experience the peace and serenity that has characterized the area for centuries... to hear the sounds of bird and bug and breeze that have echoed through the trees for ages... to take a relaxing and informative walk back in time... to see a swamp the way nature intended it to be!
The boardwalk trail is a loop that starts and ends at the visitor center, which is located at 336 Sanctuary Road, Harleyville, SC 29336. Please see the Beidler Forest website (https://beidler.audubon.org/) or call 843-487-9988 before visiting to check for current hours and to reserve tickets.
A second trail has also been opened at the Francis Beidler Forest. Unlike the boardwalk trail through the swamp, the Grassland-Woodland Trail traverses upland habitats being restored by Audubon staff to native grasslands and Longleaf Pine savanna. This 2+ mile trail is open every day from dawn to dusk. Parking is located in a gravel lot adjacent to the entrance driveway for the visitor center. Painted and Indigo Buntings are regularly seen on this trail from April-August. More information can be found here: https://beidler.audubon.org/trails/grassland-woodland-trail.
Rim Rock National Recreation Trail is a wonderfully scenic trail leading around the rim of a rock escarpment, hence its name.
The Fort River Birding and Nature Trail is a universally accessible trail. It was presented with the 2014 Paul Winske Access Award by the Stavros Center for Independent Living.
The New York State (NYS) Canalway Water Trail is comprised of over 450 miles of land-cut canals, interconnected lakes, and rivers with more than 150 public access points for paddlers.
The trail system consists of seven trails, accessible from the Visitor Center, that provide the opportunity to observe the seven distinct habitats of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (BBNWR).