The word hiking conjures up images of athletic effort, struggling from peak to peak, intent on the next destination. It’s cousin, walking, implies aerobic activity, designed to improve health and life.
Strolling is different. The duration depends on what you choose to see. The destination is not important, and there is no need to improve because everything is exactly as it is supposed to be. Strolling is a perfect activity for the Lowcountry.
Below are five strolls to get you started! With the furthest trail only 12 miles away, prepare to hit your stride and enjoy all the Lowcountry has to offer.
MARSH VIEW TRAIL
Directions: On Rifle Range Road between Veterans Circle and Children’s Circle, exit closest to Mount Pleasant Waterworks between the Waterworks and Mamie P. Whitesides Elementary School, bear left to trailhead.
Suitability: Adults, seniors, children, handicapped (trail is paved but first 150 yards is hard, closely mowed grass).
Distance: 1 ¼ miles.
Description: After passing a dog park and a butterfly garden, the trail disappears into a beautiful yellow pine and oak forest until it breaks out to a wayside overlooking miles of salt marsh between Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms and Mount Pleasant.
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND NATURE TRAIL
Directions: Station 16, Sullivan’s Island.
Suitability: Adults, hardy seniors, children.
Distance: Almost one mile (.9 to be exact), but can be extended indefinitely by continuing on to beach.
Description: Nature trail portion winds through a barrier island forest, with boggy and marshy areas spanned by boardwalk. The longest boardwalk portion is through a dunes habitat with wildflowers. There are also great beach and harbor views.
PITT STREET BRIDGE
Directions: From Ben Sawyer Boulevard towards Sullivan’s Island, turn right on McCants Street. Turn left on Pitt Street and continue to end.
Distance: 1.05 miles.
Suitability: Adults, seniors, children, handicapped.
Description: From the historical marker on the bridge: “Before the Revolutionary War, a plank bridge built on barrels was constructed across the inlet separating Mount Pleasant for Sullivan’s Island. In 1864, the H. L. Hunley crew crossed the footbridge to Breach Inlet to test dive the submarine. A trolley bridge spanned the cove in 1898 and was replaced by a vehicle bridge in 1927 known as the Pitt Street Bridge.”
This stroll features great views of the harbor and inland waterway, as well as some of the best shore bird habitats in the Charleston area.
SHEM CREEK PARK
Directions: Cross Shem Creek Bridge headed towards the Ravenel Bridge. Turn left into park.
Distance: 1.2 miles
Suitability: Adults, seniors, children. Handicapped individuals may need to exit into the parking lot if the ramp to Coleman proves formidable.
Description: The boardwalk goes out to the end of Shem Creek. As you return, stay right to view shrimp boats, pleasure craft, kayakers and paddleboard traffic, as well as Shem Creek restaurants. Continue on to ramp to Coleman Boulevard sidewalk, then back to parking. There are several gazebo-like structures for sitting, resting and contemplating.
WANDO RIVERWALK - DANIEL ISLAND
Directions: From Children’s Park at the end of Daniel’s Landing Drive, turn right on the trail in front of the fishing bridge and proceed to Barfield Road, reverse course then continue past fishing pier, bear right behind the tennis center, then loop behind Governors Park and return to Fishing Pier.
Distance: 2.8 miles.
Suitability: Adults, seniors, children.
Description: This is a great stroll along the Wando. It passes oaks that were more than 400 years old when William Sayle stepped off the boat in West Ashley and established Charlestowne. You can meander past or near three Daniel Island cemeteries and see many different shore and inland waterway birds. If you are lucky, you will see dolphins. There are even swings to rest on in case strolling consumes too much of your energy. A portion of Wando Riverwalk is currently under repair and is scheduled to reopen in June.