This 2.5 mile over and back run of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge is one of the best routes in the city. From the top of the bridge you can spot Sullivan's Island, Mount Pleasant, and downtown Charleston all in one vista.
The one and only serious elevation gain in Charleston is the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Two hundred feet in the air above the Cooper River, The Bridge (yes, we capitalize that in this city) connects the town of Mount Pleasant to downtown Charleston, in the most beautiful way possible. Built over the span of three years and completed in 2005, The Bridge hosts anyone who wants to run, bike, or walk it’s length in a 2.5 mile long pedestrian path. Once at the top, the views are breathtaking. Going up though, you might want a scooter.
The easiest place to start your run on the Ravenel Bridge is on the Mount Pleasant side. There is parking at the Mount Pleasant Pier almost right under the start of the bridge. From there, just make your way to the road and you should see the start of the Bridge path. The run is pretty simple. Either you can run the 2.5 miles to the other side and return, or you can stop at the halfway point of the bridge, about 1.2 miles. Either way it will be a great run that is filled with people watching, stroller dodging, and incline goodness.
A tip: The incline on the Mount Pleasant side is much sharper and much shorter than the other side. Expect a real glute workout here, but don’t fret because it is pretty short lived. Once at the top, enjoy the view and check down below (if you dare) for any dolphins passing by. If you’re continuing on to the rest of the bridge, expect a slow fun roller coaster ride the rest of the way to the Charleston side. Great for a quick, steady pace. There are water fountains available, two on each side of the bridge. Fuel up before you start to cross.
What Makes it Great
This is a view you can’t miss. It’s almost like being on a mountain bald, where you can see Sullivan's Island, downtown Charleston, and Mt. Pleasant all in one. The paths here are wide and people are generally friendly and will move out of your way. And, best of all, it’s totally free.
Extend Your Run
A word to the wise: Extend your run down East Bay Street about half a mile when you get to the downtown side, and hit Bay Street Biergarten (if you dare). They have more than thirty beers on tap, a great menu, and outdoor seating. Worst case scenario, you’ll just have to walk The Bridge back to Mt. Pleasant.
Who is Going to Love It<
Anyone and everyone. From a mom who wants to walk with the stroller, to the ultra-runner looking to get some incline flavor in with his/her daily runs, this one’s for you. You can run this thing fast or slow, with little in your way to stop you.
Parking, Trailheads, and Hours
It would be easiest to park at the Mount Pleasant Pier (part of Patriots Point) and hoof it to the start of the bridge near the road. It won’t be hard to find, just follow the bridge above you. There are no hours you can’t walk the Bridge, but it can get pretty windy and chilly too late at night. Heads up: Watching the sunset on the bridge is absolutely stunning.