If you’re looking for a place to kayak along Highway 17 in northern Charleston County near McClellanville, you might just want to give Wambaw Creek a try. A few years ago I joined Kathie Livingston of Nature Adventures Outfitters on a guided tour of the Wambaw Creek Wilderness Kayak and Canoe Trail – it was nice to have a guide, but it’s definitely a paddle you could do on your own. The Wambaw is a blackwater tributary to the Santee River, and was paddled by the Santee and Coastal Plain Indians for thousands of years. The paddle was great – and the guide was great – it made for a wonderful day. I learned that The Little Wambaw Swamp – all 5,047 acres of it – was designated a wilderness area by the US Congress in 1980 and there’s evidence of rice production everywhere (if you know what to look for). We were lucky – we saw two Swallow-tailed Kites (Elanoides forficatus) and a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea). There was even a possible Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) sighting – but no confirmation.
You can find a map of the 5-mile trail at SCTrails.net.