Chicken Creek is accessed by launching at McConnell’s Landing on McConnell’s Landing Road, off of Forest Service Road 204B in the Francis Marion National Forest. Paddle about 4 miles down the Santee River from the landing, until you reach the mouth of Chicken Creek, on the right hand side of the river. You can consult the accompanying map to help identify the creek entrance. The trip paddled as described is 8.2 miles. As can be seen in the accompanying map, Elmwood Landing is located on Forest Service Road 204, adjacent to the bridge.
About the Trail
During the river portion of our trip, it is not unexpected to spot several uncommon swallowtail kites as well as bald eagles and alligators. Upon entering Chicken Creek, you will be greeted by a lovely narrow meandering stream of water with lush thickly grown banks. It has a definite feel of wilderness and is much as it was when the Swamp Fox frequented these forests and caused grief to the invading British forces. A short distance into the creek, a narrow stream to your right offers an interesting side tour. It should be navigable for about one half of a mile and well worth the effort. You can see this stream on the accompanying map. Upon returning to Chicken Creek proper, you can enjoy a pleasant paddle of about two miles before rejoining the Santee River. Other than the occasional wood duck nesting boxes that have been placed in the area, it is easy to get the feeling that you are the first to ever lay eyes on this lovely stream. It certainly has not been marred by the hand of man. Alligators are common in the creek, as are Anhingas, the cormorant-like fishing birds that frequent many of the low country waters. At the southern end of Chicken Creek, you will enter the South Santee River. You will paddle to your right (southerly direction) for about one half of a mile, until you reach the mouth of Wambaw Creek on your right. Paddle up Wambaw Creek two miles, and you will come to Elmwood Landing adjacent to the bridge. It will be necessary to position a vehicle at Elmwood Landing or to arrange for a pickup.
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