This 8.2-mile trail takes the paddler down the historic Santee River, through the fast moving confines of Chicken Creek, back onto the Santee and up Wambaw Creek to the bridge at Echaw Road. Well drained oakhickory hills along Chicken Creek provide opportunities for exploration on foot.
Put in at McConnel’s Boat Landing (FS 204F). Paddle down the Santee River for approximately 4 miles and enter Chicken Creek at the end of the first big "S” curve in the river. Follow Chicken Creek until it joins back into the Santee. Once back on the Santee, continue downriver .5 miles and turn right into Wambaw Creek. Paddle upstream to the bridge at Echaw Road. Landing is on the right. Time your trip to catch the incoming tide up Wambaw Creek. (Tide is 2-3 hours later than posted for Charleston Harbor.) This trail is particularly beautiful in the spring (March-May).
Hampton Plantation State Park, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Phone: 843-546-936
Santee Coastal Reserve, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Phone: 843-546-8665 Wambaw Creek Wilderness Canoe Trail, Francis Marion National Forest.
Length: 8.2 miles
Travel Time: 4-5 hoursM
Difficulty Level: easy
Camping: Camping is available at Elmwood Campground near the intersection of Mill Branch and Echaw Road. If you camp, pack in; pack out, Use only dead and downed wood for campfires. Leave campsite in natural condition.
Safety: Expect biting insects and high temperatures, during warmer months. Watch for venomous snakes (water moccasins) and sweeps (trees overhanging the river), and release from Santee Cooper . Lake Line (1-800-925-2537) provides daily updates of discharges and general lake conditions.
Map + Directions
From Charleston, take Hwy. 17 north to McClellanville. Turn left at blinking yellow caution light onto Hwy. 45 (French Santee Road). Drive 4 miles and turn right onto Mill Branch Road (FS Road 211). Go 5.5 miles and turn left on Echaw Road. Go 4 miles and turn right on McConnell’s landing road (FS 204 F).