About the Lake Marion Passage

Region

Sandhills

Difficulty

Length

35.9
Miles

Activities

Notice:

There are no ATV’s allowed on the Lake Marion Passage between Sparkleberry and Pack’s Landing

Marie’s Featured Hike

Packs to Sparkleberry Landing

This section of the Lake Marion Passage showcases unique views.  Leaving Sparkleberry, you will see views of cypress swamps… a paddlers dream to canoe through.

As you continue quietly strolling along the trail listen for the sounds of birds chirping, wood ducks and wading birds. You will leave the open cypress swamps and travel along hardwood swamps, upland hardwoods to bottomland hardwood what I refer to as flat swamps where you will find old liquor stills. When you look at these old drums with the chop marks you can imagine the revenuers chopping the barrels and those that made the brew playing their cat and mouse games of catch me if you can during the days prohibition. You will find old landings where I’m sure families met and children played. As you travel along the trail you will see open water, cross stream and views that are spectacular.

With the valued support from Santee Cooper, the Lake Marion Volunteers have been hard at work improving this section of trail. Even though the Lake Marion Passage has it challenges, like seasonal flooding,  it is that unique ecosystem that brings different views as the lake level changes.

Santee Cooper’s donation of lumber and supplies has made it possible for volunteers to rebuild boardwalks between Packs Landing and Sparkleberry Landing. Volunteers have raised some boardwalks and anchored them so flooding will not be as much of an issue and replaced the old split telephone poles with low boardwalks. Several bridges that floated the last two years have been elevated and rebuilt with two more in the works as funds become available.

Volunteers are hoping to have improvements completed in the next few months if weather permits.

Thanks to all those that donate to the Palmetto Trail making it possible to continually improve and maintain the trail across South Carolina.

NOTICE: Hikers please be aware that the Lake Marion Passage is soggy in areas and the water is rising due to heavy rains in the Upstate.


NOTICE: The 301 bridge will be closed indefinitely beginning August 1, 2017. For more information and updates, please see the SCDOT website at  http://www.dot.state.sc.us/

Lake Marion before mile marker 22, the Elliot Millpond road, is washed out so please proceed through there at your own risk or  take the road detour (take a right on McKnight Drayton Rd. and follow that to Emerald Drive and take a left and go to Governor Richardson Rd. and take a left.  Follow that around back to Old River Rd. and take a right then a left to go down Pack’s Landing Rd. to Pack’s Landing. 

The off road areas through Hickory Top WMA and the area between Pack’s Landing and Sparkleberry Landing are very low and wet especially after a heavy rain. Please wear appropriate shoes.

Please Note: mile 22-24 has been rerouted to go Old River Rd to Pack’s Landing Rd.  Once you get to Pack’s Landing parking area cross the parking area to the far lake side and proceed down the boardwalk to continue on the trail to Sparkberry Landing. 

Notice: The area between mile 31 and 32 was clear cut, but you should be able to follow  the orange tape through the area to get back on track.

Lake Marion Passage skirts along the high-water mark of the lake’s north side between Santee, SC, and Mill Creek County Park. Trail users are rewarded with magnificent vistas of the upper coastal plain and opportunities to spot abundant wildlife and colorful flora, especially in the spring rainy season. Between mile markers 5 and 6, a short side trip down Fort Watson Road leads to the site of ancient Santee Indian burial mounds (circa 3,500 years old). During the American Revolution, the British built Fort Watson on the mounds to improve visibility and protect supply lines between Charleston and Camden. Patriots under General Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, and Lt. Col. Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee captured the fort in 1781. The site is in the Santee National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Yellow blazes
Orange blazes
No dogs, no night biking, no parking in Santee Wildlife Refuge, and no disturbing wildlife.

No trail fees, but camping fees vary.

Interactive Maps Without Wifi

We have partnered with Avenza Maps in order to offer interactive maps that don't require an internet connection. Using the Avenza App, you can download maps onto your mobile device before you hit the trail, so that you locate yourself and be aware of where you are, even in the remotest of places. Offline location helps you stay on track, on the trail, and out of potential danger.

Get the Map

Directions

Santee Town Hall Complex Trailhead: From Charleston or Columbia, take I-95 north to exit 98, turn left on SC Hwy 6 toward Santee. Turn left at Bass Drive (traffic light, US Hwy 15) and continue south one mile. Turn left at Brooks Blvd (Santee Fire Station on left). Continue to park at Santee Town Hall.

Pack’s Landing (map section 3): From Columbia or Sumter on US Hwy 378, turn south onto SC 261 and travel 12.5 miles, through Wedgefield, to Camp Mac Boykin Road (S-43-51). Take right fork drive 7.2 miles to Rimini. Turn right (west) onto Pack’s Landing Road (S-43-51) and drive 1.1 miles to parking on right.

Mill Creek County Park: From Columbia or Sumter on US Hwy 378, turn south onto SC 261 and travel 12.5 miles, through Wedgefield, to Camp Mac Boykin Road (S-43-51). Take right fork toward Rimini, drive 3 miles, and turn right on Millford Plantation Road (S-43-808). Travel 0.8 mile to Mill Creek County Park.



Camping

  • Arbuckle’s Landing is a commercial campground just off Scotts Lake Road on the north side the I-95 bridge, ph (803) 478-5269.
  • Jacks Creek Marina offers commercial tent camping sites overlooking the lake, ph (803) 478-2793.
  • Mill Creek County Park in Sumter County has tent and RV camping, ph (803) 436-2248


Notes

  • Trail users are advised to wear bright, visible colors during hunting seasons from mid-August to January.
  • Some trail sections may flood during the rainy season.


Additional Information

Manchester State Forest, 7640 Headquarters Rd, Wedgefield, SC 29168, ph (803) 494-8196

Mill Creek County Park, 7975 Millford Plantation Rd, Pinewood, SC 29125, ph (803) 436-2248

Santee Cooper Land Division, One Riverwood Dr, Moncks Corner, SC 29461, ph (843) 761-8000

Santee National Wildlife Refuge, 2125 Fort Watson Rd, Summerton, SC 29148, ph (803) 478-2217



Lake Marion Passage Share Owners

Bradford Village Shopping Center
Joan Carter
Dan Elvis
Spencer Elvis
Elizabeth Grace
Heinz Kaiser
John C. Land, III

Lori Mincey, In Memory of Jonathan Worley
Albert D. Scott
Sara Thorndike
Univ of Idaho Alternate Service Break 2014/15 Team

South Carolina Society Children of the American Revolution