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Featured National Recreation Trail

Francis Beidler Forest National Recreation Trail

The South Carolina Lowcountry's "real swamp" experience!

Text and photos by Mark Musselman

photo of boardwalk and giant tree

Thousand-year-old cypress tree

The National Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest located in Four Holes Swamp, SC contains within its 15,000 acres, the largest remaining stand of virgin Baldcypress and Tupelo Gum swamp forest left anywhere in the world.

Wander along an elevated boardwalk that starts and ends at visitor center past ancient trees, black water swamp, clear pools, and wildlife. Thousand-year-old trees and native wildlife abound in this pristine sanctuary that has been untouched for millennia.

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 have 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 into time... to see a swamp the way nature intended it to be!

Photo of fawn


Canoe trips and naturalist-guided walks and programs are also available seasonally and by reservation. Check out the Beidler Forest website for more information.

Hours of Operation

Tuesdays through Sundays 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day

Admission: $8.00/Adults, $7.00/NAS Members, $4.00/Child (6-18), Free/Under 6. Pricing for special walks and canoe trips vary.

Wildlife Tidbits

  • Nothing done to lure wildlife, however over 300 vertebrate species are possible!

  • 140 species bird list

  • Excellent songbird habitat and great for spring migrants

  • 7 species of woodpecker possible

  • Barred Owl heaven

  • 40 species reptile list

  • Snakes, turtles, lizards, alligators all frequently seen in warm seasons

  • Native mammals, fish and amphibians abound on the sanctuary but may elude casual observation.
photo of snake photo of cypress swamp photo of turtle








Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest
336 Sanctuary Road Harleyville, SC 29448
Phone: (843) 462-2150 Fax: (843) 462-2713
Email: mdawson@audubon.org
Website: www.beidlerforest.com

The National Recreation Trails Program
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035 nrt@americantrails.org www.AmericanTrails.org

Photo of boardwalk in swamp
Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest (photo: Mark Musselman)

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