With 643 acres to play in, Dungannon Plantation is the ideal place to spend your afternoon weaving through swamps filled with bald cypresses and nesting woodstorks. The plantation is divided into 320 acres of swamp area and 323 acres of mixed upland forest. It is also considered a designated important bird area, so the opportunities for bird watching are endless. Located in the midst of Hollywood, South Carolina, this heritage preserve is the perfect way to spend your day exploring what the low country has to offer.
The trails at Dungannon Plantation are easy enough. Flat and grassy, this is an easy hike to see some of most beautiful scenes in Charleston. At a total of about 5 miles, the main artery of the reserve is an out and back trail that weaves you through cypress swamps and mixed upland forest. Make sure to take a camera or binoculars along, especially if you’re an avid birder, because the opportunities to see bird species here are endless. At about the halfway mark on the main trail, you will come to a path that branches off into the wood stork roosting section of the reserve. This is a boardwalk section of trail, about .4 miles in length, that takes you through the main nesting grounds of the American wood stork, a threatened species that is slowly making a comeback in population due to protective places like Dungannon Plantation. If you choose to stay on the main trail, it will dead end at a posted gate where you will turn around and head back to the parking lot.
What You Will Remember
In addition to the “threatened” American wood stork, the wildlife you can encounter in Dungannon Plantation ranges from Alligators to the red-tailed hawk. The trail is wide and forgiving in elevation, while it still makes you feel as if you are on a trail that has not yet been tamed. That, however, is most of the fun. Make sure to pick up a map at the kiosk in the parking area before you set off. Just in case.
Who Will Love It
The hiker that wants to feel like they are in the middle of nowhere, just a few minutes from downtown Charleston. Also, if you’re into bird watching, you won't want to miss this trail. Wildlife and rustic trail abound here, so make sure to bring what you will need for the entire day, as it is easy to let the hours slip by. Lastly, make sure to pack water in the warmer months, as the temperature tends to climb.
Tips for the Adventure
There are no restrooms here, so come prepared. Fido is welcome on a leash, as always. In the summer, the mosquitoes are rumored to be out for blood in a big way, so make sure you pack ample bug spray. Lastly, wear bright colors in hunting season.
Trailhead, Parking, and Hours
From downtown Charleston, you’ll want to hop on to US 17-S and travel until you take a slight left onto SC 162-W. Dungannon Plantation is about 3 miles down on the left hand side of the road. Parking is at the gate, and the trailhead leads out from the parking lot. (Remember, take the dirt path on the right.) Trail maps are available at the kiosk, and are recommended. Hours of operation are from dawn ‘till dusk. For further information, click here.