The Caw Caw Interpretive Center has one part history and two parts gorgeous Lowcountry natural beauty. Come here to explore the miles of trail that meander through old rice plantations and around towering cypress trees.
If you’re looking for a history fix with your outdoor experience, then the Caw Caw Interpretive Center is where you need to be. Once part of several different southern rice plantations, Caw Caw now has a maze of interconnected dirt trails and boardwalks that meander through old rice fields on one trail, and marshes filled with cypress trees on another. The 6+ miles of trail here offer scenic beauty, preserved marshland, and a few alligators here and there.
There are a few ways you can approach the trail systems here. Either you can connect the trails in the interior of the park to wind your way around the heart of everything, or you can take the outside loop around to catch each and every section of Caw Caw in one swoop. Some of the several inside trails are the Bottomland Hardwood Forest Trail (1.4 miles), the Rice Fields Trail (1 mile), the Maritime Forest Trail (.4 mile), and the Georgia Pacific Swamp Boardwalk (.74 mile), among many more. Most of these can be connected to make several different loops around the Center, and in each one you are able to see something a little different. The Habitat Loop is a 3.6 mile loop that wraps around the outside of the entire Caw Caw Center and snakes it’s way through tall cypresses and past silent old canals that were built by slaves who once farmed this land. Easy and flat, hiking among the cypresses here makes for an afternoon well spent.
What Makes it Great
The Center is home to some of the South’s deepest cultural heritage, and with a flair of wildlife and nature, the space abounds with beauty. Caw Caw is an important site of the infamous Stono Rebellion, and it houses 18th and 19th century rice fields. You could spot a Bald Eagle resting on a cypress tree, or watch a wood stork fish for its next meal. All of that is combined with excellent trails that make this place worth the drive.
Who is Going to Love It<
Anyone from a hiker to a trail runner to a parent interested in a casual family outing. Runners will love how easy and well maintained the trails are. No boulders clogging up the trails. Hikers will love being able to pull out the camera to capture that polaroid moment. And anyone and everyone will enjoy being able to soak up a bit of southern heritage while they are at it. Unfortunately, the Caw Caw Interpretive Center does not allow camping. Tip: Don’t forget ample bug spray, the mosquitoes are known to be the most ferocious of southern wildlife.
Parking, Trailhead, and Hours
Parking is at the Caw Caw Interpretive Center at 5200 Savannah Highway in Ravenel, SC. There is a $1 admission fee. From the Educational Center, you can access the network of trails. See the map here. The hours of operation of Caw Caw are Tuesdays-Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lastly, and unfortunately for Fido, pets and bicycles are not allowed at the Caw Caw Interpretive Center.