Francis Marion National Forest

Canoeing is the best way tosee Hell Hole Bay

Francis Marion National Forest offers access to the great and the small for paddlers and boaters. They can cruise in a motor boat or even a yacht along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway or paddle quietly along a black water creek. The intracoastal waterway can be accessed at Buck Hall Recreation Area , where there is a boat ramp.

The out-of-the-way waters at Francis Marion are perfect for canoeing or kayaking. Wambaw, Wadboo, Huger, French Quarter and Echaw Creeks each have at least one access point. Wambaw Creek Wilderness Area features a nine-mile canoe trail. It offers several put-in points and places to park your car. Huger also has a boat ramp and parking. Paddling is the best way to see all the wilderness areas during high water. You've heard of trails that serve both hikers and bikers? How about a trail for canoes and hikers? Check out Hellhole Bay for such a trail.

The "black water" is actually the color of strong tea. It gets its dark color from the tannin in the trees which grow in or near the water. Francis Marion's black water is slightly brackish and water levels are influenced by the tides. Paddlers might see bald eagles or swallow-tail kites among the bald cypress trees along the creeks, or hear the cry of the eastern wild turkey. The sleepy, slow creeks and the quiet forest have a calming effect on the mind and soul, until you spot a water moccasin gliding across the creek ahead of you, or spy an alligator sunning himself on a log.

Hunters and fishermen use canoes to get to remote spots in the wildernesses. Be sure to find out about hunting seasons before setting out. For more information on boating, see the Francis Marion Fishing page.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 20 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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