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South Carolina

Francis Beidler Forest Four Holes Swamp Trail

The National Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest located in Four Holes Swamp, SC contains within its 18,000 acres the largest remaining stand of virgin Bald Cypress and Tupelo Gum swamp forest left anywhere in the world.

photo: Photo by Mac Stone.

Length: 1.75 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry, Nature Trail
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? $8.00
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running

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Location: 336 Sanctuary Road, Harleyville, SC 29336
State(s): South Carolina
Counties:
Longitude: -80.35363629
Latitude: 33.2202197190714

Driving Directions

Francis Beidler Forest is 40 miles NW of Charleston. Entered only from SW via secondary roads off US 178. From Charlestown take !-26 W to exit 187, S on SC27 to US 78 then follow signs.

Description

The National Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest located in Four Holes Swamp, SC contains within its 18,000 acres the largest remaining stand of virgin Bald Cypress and Tupelo Gum swamp forest left anywhere in the world. The Beidler Forest has been recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, a National Natural Landmark, an Important Bird Area, and a site on the Underground Railroad.

Wander along an elevated boardwalk past ancient trees, black water swamp, clear pools, and abundant wildlife. Thousand-year-old trees and native wildlife abound in this pristine sanctuary that has been untouched for millennia. The swamp is a birding paradise, with some 140 species of bird documented on the sanctuary, including nesting Prothonotary Warblers from April-July and Barred Owls present year-round. Reptiles are frequently seen from the boardwalk trail during the warm months.

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 has 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 in time... to see a swamp the way nature intended it to be!

The boardwalk trail is a loop that starts and ends at the visitor center, which is located at 336 Sanctuary Road, Harleyville, SC 29336. Please see the Beidler Forest website (https://beidler.audubon.org/) or call 843-487-9988 before visiting to check for current hours and to reserve tickets.

A second trail has also been opened at the Francis Beidler Forest. Unlike the boardwalk trail through the swamp, the Grassland-Woodland Trail traverses upland habitats being restored by Audubon staff to native grasslands and Longleaf Pine savanna. This 2+ mile trail is open every day from dawn to dusk. Parking is located in a gravel lot adjacent to the entrance driveway for the visitor center. Painted and Indigo Buntings are regularly seen on this trail from April-August. More information can be found here: https://beidler.audubon.org/trails/grassland-woodland-trail.

Additional Details

Width: 48 inches.
Primary Surface: Boardwalk
Secondary Surface: None
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
1984

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: American Trails Featured NRT

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Michael Dawson
Center Director
National Audubon Society
336 Sanctuary Rd.
Harleyville, SC 29448
(843) 462-2150
[email protected]

 

Photos

Prothonotary Warblers are the only cavity-nesting wood warblers in North America. Photo by Mark Musselman.

Prothonotary Warblers are the only cavity-nesting wood warblers in North America. Photo by Mark Musselman.

A White Ibis adult and juvenile resting on the boardwalk handrail. Photo by Mark Musselman.

A White Ibis adult and juvenile resting on the boardwalk handrail. Photo by Mark Musselman.

 

Barred Owl perched low over the swamp. Photo by Mark Musselman.

Barred Owl perched low over the swamp. Photo by Mark Musselman.

A Pileated Woodpecker investigates a fallen tree. Photo by Mark Musselman.

A Pileated Woodpecker investigates a fallen tree. Photo by Mark Musselman.

 

A female Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) sunning on a leaf. Photo by Mark Musselman.

A female Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) sunning on a leaf. Photo by Mark Musselman.

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) knee, part of the tree’s root system. Photo by Mark Musselman.

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) knee, part of the tree’s root system. Photo by Mark Musselman.

 

Male Prothonotary Warbler singing on his territory. Photo by Mark Musselman.

Male Prothonotary Warbler singing on his territory. Photo by Mark Musselman.

 Photo by Mac Stone.

Photo by Mac Stone.

 

Photo by Mac Stone.

Photo by Mac Stone.

Photo by Mac Stone.

Photo by Mac Stone.

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