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Ashepoo River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Trip Dates: April 2013
Nearest City: Charleston, SC
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: skydancer

Description:

Put in at the boat ramp on S-26 where the bridge crosses the Ashepoo River on the way down to Bennett's Point Landing. We left a car at the boat ramp at Bennett's Point (there is a seafood commercial operation here and a few houses, but no amenities) and another car at the boat ramp at the bridge. It's about a 7 mile paddle, took almost 4 hours. Be absolutely sure to check the tides (www.saltwatertides.com has reports on river tides all up the ACE Basin, best tide site we've found). You will want to put into the river on the outgoing tide for sure. Stay on the right bank going downstream.

First part is saltwater marsh with many birds, then an area of pines, cypress, tupuleo and palmetto. You should see quite a few alligators both on the banks and in the water. After about 2 hours or so you will see an old rice flood gate on the right bank still in great shape. We saw a lot of gators here. Head over to the left bank eventually, after you see some good sized residential docks on the left you will turn left into Mosquito Creek and up the creek about half a mile is the boat ramp. A big shrimp trawler was moored near there when we were there. You will need to paddle up against the outgoing tide when you get to Mosquito Creek and it's a real strong current; stay to the dock side and try to avoid the deep main channel where the current is strongest. But it's not far up Mosquito Creek to the ramp.

Watch for thunderstorms along the coast, they throw off strong gust front winds that can change the river from glassy smooth to white caps in a couple of minutes and make paddling into the wind (even if you are with the outbound tides) really tough. On the bright side we saw numerous bottle nose dolphins playing in the river as we came downstream.

Although this is flat calm water, I would not recommend it for a novice. There is no where to get out and if you were to upset the boat the shore is very treacherous, marsh grass that drops off quickly and many gator slides. The Ashepoo is the smallest of the ACE Basin rivers, but it's still a formidable tidal river just a few miles from the ocean. If you do catch a gust front from a nearby coastal thunderstorm (we did although we never got rained on) the onshore winds can be really tough and could upset or exhaust an inexperienced paddler or blow the boats up into the marsh grasses.

We had fun and saw of lot of "real" SC; but we could have done without the last hour of strong headwinds!

Accommodations:

The entire area is in a wildlife preserve so there are really no facilities anywhere. The gravel boat ramp at the bridge is clear and wide enough for quite a few cars/trucks to park there. Bennett's Point is a commercial seafood working dock, not a recreational area. Folks were polite but it was clearly a commercial operation. We asked to park there and they were very cooperative.

Fees:

No

Directions:

Take US 17 out of Charleston like you are headed to Savannah. SC 26 is shortly after you cross over the river and before you get to Green Pond where SC 303 comes into 17. Go all the way to the end of S-26 which is Bennett's landing. (It is a beautiful drive). Go past the Bear Creek Wilderness area. You will cross over the bridge where the boat ramp is at the put in, you will take out at Bennett's Point on Mosquito Creek. It's a straight shot, you won't miss it.

Resources:

"Paddling South Carolina" - a book by Gene Able and Jack Horan.


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