Wambaw Creek is a pretty black water tidal creek located in the Francis Marion National Forest. It meanders through the Wambaw Creek Wilderness Area created in 1980. There are two public landings providing access to the creek: Still Landing and Elmwood Landing. Still Landing is located on Forest Service Road FR 211B, and Elmwood Landing is located on Forest Service Road FR 204 adjacent to the bridge. The distance between the landings is about 4 miles. You can extend the trip by paddling west above Still Landing toward the SC45 bridge or by paddling east of the Elmwood Landing to the South Branch of the Santee River. The tides are approximately three hours behind Charleston Harbor tides.
About the Trail
Located entirely within the boundaries of the National Forest, wildlife is abundant along the Wambaw Creek. The area is heavily populated with whitetail deer. The illusive Carolina panther and black bear have also been sighted along the trail. A quiet paddler will greatly increase his odds for sighting some of the abundant wildlife. The primary growth on the higher ground is loblolly pine, and cypress is the predominate growth along the creek. Many of the cypress trees along the banks are quite large and were there when Brigadier General Francis Marion and his Brigade roamed the area terrorizing the entire British Army in South Carolina. Francis Marion and his troops would then vanish ghost-like into these swamps, explaining Marion’s well-known nickname of “The Swamp Fox.”
It is important to remember that the Wambaw Creek is tidal, so planning your trip to coincide with the tidal flow will make the trip easier. For those desiring an overnight adventure, primitive camping is permitted at Elmwood Landing.