The History of the Awendaw Passage
The Lowcountry is full of so many beautiful locations, everywhere you turn it’s more beautiful than the next. There is always something new to explore and new things to discover. One of our most favorite locations to explore and visit is the Awendaw Passage, so we thought we’d share a little more information about it with you!
Hello adventurers! Welcome back to the blog. We are so glad you found your way here for a bit of respite after your most recent adventures. Have you ever noticed that when you drive anywhere in the Lowcountry that you always end up seeing something new or find yourself somewhere new, no matter how many times you’ve visited that location? It’s what makes living and visiting Charleston and its surrounding areas so exciting, and that’s what makes our job and expeditions so special! You can come on a trip with us over and over again and you’ll never have the same experience twice! The Lowcountry is an amazing gem, constantly growing and changing and every location has its own unique and special story. Today, we wanted to talk about one of our favorite locations around, and one that you might even explore with us if you choose to explore with us out towards Awendaw! Today we are going to be talking about the Awendaw Passage.
THE HISTORY OF AWENDAW
Right up Highway 17, as you cross over the Mount Pleasant city line, you’ll find yourself on a quiet stretch of land that might not look like much to passersby who don’t take the time to look. Those who venture off of 17 and into the little winding roads towards the marshes and ocean tucked close by will be rewarded with a very special gem. This is Awendaw, South Carolina. It was first inhabited by the Sewee Native American Tribe and is home to the most northern shell ring that is included in a group that stretches down to the very bottom tip of Florida. It was later settled in 1696 by settlers originally from Salem, Massachusetts who left their hometown to flee the Salem Witch Trials. They called the area “Wappetaw”. While it is an incredibly small town, it has a very rich history. Some of its fame, according to onlyinyourstate.com
, came in 1989 with hurricane Hugo. Awendaw was quite literally almost wiped off the map, and it took the town years to recover.
It has been through its fair share of hardships, but it is known as one of the most laid back accepting towns along the coast. The town was first incorporated and elected its first Mayor, William H. Alston, in 1992. It also boasts a stunning natural landscape as many make their way through the little town to enjoy the day at the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge and Bull Island. Both of these locations are visited on our expeditions, care of the Bull Island Ferry. It’s a welcoming and beautiful gem that we love introducing more and more explorers to, and hopefully, you’ll join us soon!
WHAT IS THE AWENDAW PASSAGE?
The Awendaw Passage is an 8-mile section of the (almost completed) 500 some miles of hiking and bicycling paths that make up the South Carolina Palmetto Trail. Currently, 350 miles are completed. The trail as a whole is a Millennium Legacy Trail and came to be as such thanks to the efforts on behalf of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation. The passage officially stretches from Buck Hall Landing to the Swampfox Trailhead on Highway 17. In this area, you can hike, camp, launch a boat right into the intercoastal waterway, and picnic. The trail is a mixture of wooden boardwalk, dirt paths, and dirt paths with plastic grating to help with areas that traditionally gather a lot of standing water. Towards the end of the trail, hikers will cross Highway 17 as it connects with the next section of the trail.
Parking is available at the Awendaw Canoe Launch trailhead. It is recommended to head towards Buck Hall from this parking location to get the most out of your hike and to get the best views. It is also a wonderful area to discover and explore with us at Coastal Expeditions! It is a very popular and heavily trafficked path that is perfect for any level of hiker. According to Alltrails.com
, your best four-legged friends are welcome to join you on your hikes, but they must stay on their leash. All activities on and around the trail are open and available all year round. One of the most interesting things about the Palmetto Trail is that it offers a little bit of everything to nature enthusiasts. You travel from mountain to ocean with everything in between. The Awendaw Passage itself is the coastal section of the trail system and has beautiful views of the local maritime forest and crosses multiple footbridges. You can hike and bike the trail, just be prepared to run into your fair share of muddy moments. There are benches along the path to sit and rest and enjoy the view. The Sewee Shell Mound is located along the trail and you’ll even come across an old rice trunk. This rice trunk was used to help the flow of water in what used to be a rice field, according to Discover South Carolina. The forests that you’ll weave in and out of is home to saw palmettos, loblolly pines, large live oaks, southern magnolias, sweet bay, wax myrtle, and yaupon. The wildlife is also just as vast as the plant life and makes the area truly special. It is not a trail that should be missed by locals or visitors. It also boasts a beautiful scenic overlook at Walnut Grove.
THE PALMETTO TRAIL
The Awendaw Passage is a part of what will become close to 500 miles across the state of South Carolina of hiking and biking trails. The trails will take you past swamps, towns of all sizes, lakes, marshes, mountains, forests, and much more. It was started in 1994 and the 350 miles of trails that have been completed are loved and adored by every local and visitor. Once it is finished, it will be South Carolina’s longest trail and largest construction project. It offers every level of hiking to every level of hiker, and it is perfect for trips lasting the afternoon or for a whole weekend. According to PalmettoConservation.com
, the trail connects state and county parks, maritime forests, national forests, nature preserves, Revolutionary War battlefields, wildlife management areas, and much more. The trail is also more than a hiking and biking trail. In certain locations, you can camp and even go horseback riding. It welcomes every adventurer at every age, beautiful views, pieces of history, amazing wildlife and plant life, and much more!
We love the Awendaw Passage and the surrounding areas. It might seem like a normal small town when driving through on Highway 17, but it is so much more than many believe! It packs a surprising punch, y’all! Come enjoy it and many of our other excursions including our new Awendaw Creek Paddle and Hike, Bulls Island Paddle and Hike, Boneyard Beach Sunrise Expedition. Bulls Island Beach Drop, Bull’s island ferry, and the Cape Romain Lighthouse Tour! Let’s explore a new part of the Lowcountry together and make the most out of its history and beauty!