South Carolina has a number of trails with minimal obstacles. Some are very easy and others are wheelchair accessible. Here are just a few of them.
These links were found through Internet search. I would love some first-hand information. With your help, we can share our knowledge with disabled people everywhere and also increase awareness of the need for more accessibility. Please e-mail me with your suggestions using the form in the sidebar.
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge 843-335-8401 Map of Walking Tours and Public Use General Map Brochure
Manager Allyne Askins writes that , “All of our trails have been around for decades and as such constructed before the ADA law. Our trails range in length from 1/4 mile to 3.5 miles, but all have slight hills, soft footing, tree roots and other debris. We do have many elderly visitors who use the trails, but none with mobility issues.”
Descriptions of the maintained trails are on the Visitor Activities page of the refuge website. The trails include the one mile loop Woodland Pond Nature Trail, 0.25 mile Longleaf Pine Trail, 3.5 mile Tate’s Trail, the 0.6 mile Pine Barrens Gentian Trail, and the 0.25 mile Tripod Trail that leads to a photo blind on Martin’s Lake.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge has “…29,452 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers and creeks, and bottomland hardwoods. About half the refuge is bottomland, composed primarily of cypress, gum, and maple species. Access to these areas is by boat only. ”
(843) 784-2468 Reviewed on Trip Advisor Maps Trail Map
Thanks to Ranger Amy Ochoa for the following information:
The only wheelchair accessible trail is at the Visitor Center is an 800 ft. long paved trail “that runs from one side of the side to the other. ” However there is “an outstanding 4.25 mile wildlife drive that visitors can drive around and get … the same wildlife viewing opportunities as walking on the trails…..pretty much anywhere along it there’s room for a car to pull to the side, stop, even get out and look, while still allowing room for a vehicle to pass by.”
? “The trails are all the same surface; grass covered, earthen dikes. They’re not always mowed, depending on the availability of heavy equipment operators to run the large mower, so things like fire ants and snakes could be present and not easily seen. Like any earthen path, they would all be subject to holes, bumps, etc. that could trip up someone not sure-footed.”
Cheraw State Park 843-537-9656 Park Map Trail Map Brochure Trails
Thank you to Rhonda Griffith for information about the ease of these trails.
Lake Juniper Boardwalk Trail 0.5 mile “runs alongside of Lake Juniper. Along the way you can see flowers, turtles and other local wildlife on the lake. The boardwalk continues to the spill way where our dam is located. There are some tree roots that might make for a bumpy ride but the short path to the water way is pretty. We call it a waterfall, but it is a manmade spill way for the dam.”
Cheraw Nature Trail and Turkey Oak Trail. Ms. Griffith says they are ADA, but may be bumpy. The Cheraw Nature Trail “is an easy 1.9-mile walk, which is the inner loop of the larger 2.6-mile Turkey Oak Trail” …both are… “a pleasant walk through a very dense forest of longleaf pine, blackjack oak, turkey oak, hickory trees, ……native irises called Blue Flags in the spring, and rose pogonia orchids in the summer. ” You may also see “…. lizards, deer, snakes, and a vast assortment of birds. A short spur trail offers a chance for you to see the rare red cockaded woodpecker. If you chose to continue on the Turkey Oak Trail, you will enter a cypress swamp as you approach Lake Juniper, where you may see waterfowl such as ducks, egrets, geese, and pied billed grebe. You may also be treated to a wide array of raptors such as bald eagles, ospreys, red-tailed hawks, northern harriers, and Mississippi kites.”
Edisto State Park 843-869-2156 Map & Trails Brochure
From the staff at Edisto Beach: “All of our trails, except for the Forest Loop Trail, were designed to be ADA-Accessible. Our trails were built with a nice, hard packed sand that makes for easy walking or movement in a wheelchair. The trails are also very flat and feature only minimal gains in elevation. They are also very wide and easy to navigate due to the placement of trail markers at each intersection. The bridges over Scott Creek were also designed to accommodate the passage of wheelchairs, so you should have no problems with them.”
Spanish Mount Trail 1.7 miles “One of the earliest Native American shell mound sites in South Carolina can be found at the western terminus of the Spanish Mount Trail.”
Scott Creek Trails 0.7 miles “..takes one through the maritime forest offering views of the marsh from three boardwalks. ”
Big Bay Trail 0.4 miles “This short trail will take you from the Education Center through the boat ramp parking area to the Spanish Mount. ”
Campground Trail 0.3 miles …”will take you from the Education Center through the boat ramp parking area to the Spanish Mount.”
Edisto Bike Trail 0.4 miles “runs along the paved causeway leading to the beach area of the park and to the Town of Edisto. From the intersection of the Scott Creek Trail and the Edisto Bike Trail, it is an easy 0.4 miles to the beach. “
Manchester State Forest Trails Map 803-494-8196
? Wateree Passage of the Palmetto Trail The first 2.25 miles of this 7.2 mile trail sound doable, but better call first. Manager J Map You can start from Poinsett State Park on the Scout Nature Trail. Read this review from tripleblaze.com for information and a caution about two other starting points. From Carolina Hiking
Poinsett State Park 803-494-8177 Map Trail Map Trail and Topo Map Brochure
?? Scout Trail 1.9 miles connects to the Wateree Passage of the Palmetto Trail. The first part (maybe 0.5 mile) , along the Palmetto Trail, appears to be pretty flat. See description under Manchester State Forest. The Park describes all its trails as “moderate”, but tripleblaze.com describes the Scout Trail as “easy” and sctrails.net says the trail is “moderately difficult”.
South Carolina State Parks Guide, produced by the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, is a pretty thorough guide to the 47 state parks. However, you still need to contact each park individually to learn about accessibility.
Blue Heron Nature Center 843-726-7611 Brochure Map Trail Map
“Located on 10 acres of green space at Exit 21 on I-95 in Ridgeland, the Blue Heron Nature Center offers you a chance to see blue herons, osprey, alligators, and turtles in their natural setting. Come and enjoy the songs of Carolina wrens and cardinals or the chorus of tree frogs.”
? 0.6 miles one way. There is no mention of ADA on the website or brochure, but all the photos of their paved trail and boardwalk look wheelchair negotiable. However, you had better call ahead to be sure they will work for you.
Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Frances Beidler Forest 843-462-2150
The Boardwalk is 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 have 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 into time…to see a swamp the way nature intended them to be! The boardwalk provides the opportunity to stroll past the 1000-year-old trees and native wildlife that abounds in this pristine sanctuary that has been untouched for millenia. The walk is fully accessible, with rest areas and rain shelters along the way.”
Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Silver Bluff Trail map 803-471-0291
Thank you to Director Paul Koehler for the following information:
Nuthatch Trail 3/4 mile loop. “our ¾-mile trail is 8 feet wide and perfectly flat. At times it has some fallen pine cones and sticks on it, but those are negotiable by nearly everyone. It has a bench halfway along for a walker to sit and rest.”
Tanager Loop Trail 2 miles “The two-mile trail is similar, but has two 100-foot stretches with a slight elevation change. It takes about an hour to walk if one walks at a steady pace. It has several benches along the way. The length of this trail, of course, would prohibit some people from attempting it. ”
“I have seen a knobby-wheeled motorized wheelchair and baby strollers use both trails. Access to our visitor center, the restrooms, and water fountain are all ADA compliant.”
South Carolina State Trails Program produces a comprehensive website through which you can drill to get descriptions of hundreds of trails. You can search by county or by type of trail. The Hiking page divides the state into three regions and clicking on one of these regions will bring you to a list of trails with length and a link to a description of the trail and contact information.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in South Carolina.