Paddle through Ancient Beidler Forest

By:Marie McAden

Date:3/12/2013

 


Now’s your chance to paddle in the still blackwater of a primeval swamp and experience nature as it existed a thousand years ago. The water level is up in Francis Beidle​r Forest this time of year, making it possible to navigate through the largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress and tupelo gum trees in the world.

Owned and managed by the National Audubon Society, Beidler Forest is one of only two old-growth floodplain forests remaining in the state. The other is at Congaree Natio​nal Park

When the water level in the floodplain is high enough, the Audubon Center offers guided canoe trips through this ancient forest, located within the Four Holes Swamp.

Trips are offered on a regular basis Friday through Sunday. Four-hour trips are scheduled each of the three days at 1 p.m.; two-hour trips are available at 9 a.m. Saturdays.

The tours start from a remote landing on Mellard Lake, one of the swamp’s “holes”. Paddling through this open section of blackwater, surrounded by dense, undisturbed vegetation, you’ll feel totally removed from the rest of the world.

After just a few minutes, you’ll enter the woods, thick with 100-foot bald cypress and tupelo gum trees. It’s not unusual to see a variety of wildlife — from yellow-bellied slider turtles to brown water snakes to Prothonotary warblers.

Be aware, paddling through the swamp can be a bit tricky, especially at lower water levels. It helps to have some kayaking experience to maneuver through the floodplain’s narrow passages. In the spring, you’ll want to steer clear of trees covered with Poison Ivy. But it’s a trip unlike any other in the Lowcountry and so worth the navigational challenges.

Cost is $30 for adults ($15 for children 8 to 12) for the four-hour excursion; $20 for adults ($10 for children 6 to 12) for the two-hour trip. The price for the tour also includes admission to the Beidler Forest boardwalk.

Reservations are required in advance. These trips are popular, so you’ll want to book early. Call (843) 462-2150 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to reserve your canoe or kayak.

Francis Beidler Forest is located about an hour from Charles​ton and Colum​bia off Interstate 26 in Santee Cooper Co​untry. For more information, click​ here

Related Content

Explore the History of the Santee Indian Mound
Located in the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, the Santee Indian Mound is a 30-foot hill that served both as a burial mound and a British Fort. The history and culture of the mound dates back a thousand years and is worth a stop in the preserve.
Golf at Santee National Golf Club
Santee National Golf Club is an easily accessible, fun course just outside the greater Charleston area. The rolling hills and mossy oaks mix Lowcountry charm with highland terrain - all combined with friendly staff and a challenging day of golf.
Golf Santee's 3 Courses
The best thing about golf in Santee is that you can totally immerse yourself in your game while not having to travel far for variety. You come, you stay, you play three solid courses over a weekend - and you almost don’t have to start your car.

Featured Products

Audubon Center At Francis Beidler Forest
Coast

Harleyville

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
The National Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest in Four Holes Swamp contains within its 17,000+ acres, the largest remaining stand of virgin Bald Cypress/Tupelo Gum ...
Congaree National Park
Midlands

Hopkins

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Congaree National Park preserves the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent. Experience national and state champion trees, towering to ...
Santee Cooper Country Club
Midlands

Santee

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Designed by architect George Cobb in 1967, Santee Cooper Country Club has been challenging golfers with its beautiful layout for nearly 30 years. At more than 6,500 yard ...

Featured products and attractions in "Paddle through Ancient Beidler Forest"

Nearby Attractions

  • {{item.name}}

You might also like:

Santee Coastal Reserve
Coast

McClellanville

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
This 24,000-acre reserve is a Wildlife Management Area that includes two barrier islands accessible only by boat, several marked trails and a boardwalk into a freshwater ...
Parson's Mountain (National Forest)
Midlands

Abbeville

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Camping, hiking, fishing and non-motorizedboating, swimming, bath house, and picnicking shelter. Nearby OHV trail (5 minutes) and Rifle Range (10 minutes), horse tr ...
Lick Fork Lake (Sumter National Forest)
Midlands

Edgefield

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Handicap accessible day use area, picnic shelter and fishing pier. Picnic area has tables, grills, and group shelter. There is also a bath house with flush toilets and sh ...
Audubon Center At Francis Beidler Forest
Coast

Harleyville

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
The National Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest in Four Holes Swamp contains within its 17,000+ acres, the largest remaining stand of virgin Bald Cypress/Tupelo Gum ...
Francis Marion National Forest
Coast

Huger

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
Site of the battle between forces of British Col. Banastre Tarleton and Revolutionary Gen. Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox." Now this wildlife-rich 260,000-acre forest wel ...
Congaree National Park
Midlands

Hopkins

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Congaree National Park preserves the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent. Experience national and state champion trees, towering to ...