HIGHLIGHTS: Best known for its stripped bass fishing, Santee State Park is one of the most popular state parks in South Carolina. The park offers 2500 acres of flooded wilderness which includes miles of shoreline on Lake Marion and recreation trails for both hikers and mountain bikers. The lake was created in 1949 when 100,000 acres were flooded to provide electric power for the southeast. This makes Santee State Park a bird watchers paradise with quail, brown thrasher, and Carolina wren among the numerous species of birds that reside here.
The Limestone Nature Trail is located in the southeastern corner of the park. The simple 0.8 mile hike is an offshoot of the longer and moderately difficult Bike/Hike Trail and it begins at the entrance to the main picnic area off Cleveland Road. From the parking area, hike counter-clockwise heading west over an arm of Lake Marion, then turn to the southeast and begin to loop back across a short, rickety bridge that is only a short distance from the trailhead. The Limestone Nature Trail is easy and well suited for older or smaller dogs that enjoy a leisurely stroll through the wilderness. Keep your pet on a leash, however, since there are alligators in the Santee State Park which means the pooch should also stay out of the water.