May 2013: Edisto Beach State Park

Edisto Beach, SC

Rice and indigo were the first cash crops when Edisto Island was founded in the late 1600s but it was Sea Island Cotton that brought fame and fortune. It is reliably stated that the Pope once insisted that his garments be made only of Edisto Island cotton. The War Between the States and the boll weevil destroyed the cotton fields while island residents turned to truck farming by the end of the 19th century. In the 20th century development came slowly. During the Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the 1,255-acre park on land donated by the Edisto Company in 1935. 

The standout canine hike at Edisto Beach is the Spanish Mount Trail that leads from the Live Oak Campground to one of the earliest known American Indian shell mound sites. The wooded trail is 1.7 miles one way and moves along a wide hard-packed dirt road. You can avoid completely retracing your pawprints on the return trip by using the Forest Loop Trail or the Scott Creek Trail. All the canine hiking here is on natural surfaces and easy going.
When your dog gets his fill of the hiking in the woods along Scott Creek - and you’ll find some of South Carolina’s tallest palmetto trees here - head next for the Atlantic Ocean and the park’s 1.5 miles of beachfront. If she still isn’t tired you can keep hiking on the sand into adjoining Edisto Beach, which has remained a residential beach.  

One of the most unique destinations of any trail on the Carolina coasts is the 12-foot high pile of oyster shells on the Spanish Mount Trail. The oyster pile, known as a shell midden, is typical of American Indian rings found throughout the coastal islands. The Spanish Mount is estimated to be 4,000 years old, the second oldest known in South Carolina. These piles of bleached shells might have been built for ceremonies or possibly they are just ancient trash heaps.

From US 17 head south on Route 174 for 28 miles to the town and park.