I’on Swamp

Location: Southern South Carolina
Trip Starts: I’on Swamp Road (U.S. Forest Road 228)
Trip Ends: I’on Swamp Road (U.S. Forest Road 228)
Total Distance: 2 miles
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Difficulty: Easy
Trails Used: I’on Swamp Trail
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Type: Day Hike
More Information:

Francis Marion National Forest
Wambaw Ranger District
Sewee Visitor And Environmental Ed Center
5821 U.S. Highway 17 North
Awendaw, SC 29429


This easy roundtrip loop hike is an interpretive trail through the coastal wetlands of South Carolina. The self-guided tour is lined with signs that mark an interesting system of canals which were once used by slaves in the 1700’s to harvest and transport rice that was grown in the nearby plantation fields. The I’on Swamp Trail parallels these canals and is now a haven for wildlife. There are numerous wooden bird boxes placed throughout the wetlands that support a wide variety of bird species including the wood duck, the warbler, and the blue heron. Hikers may also notice many snakes, turtles, and alligators that cruise the drainages next to the trail.

The hike begins at a small parking area on Forest Road 228 which is known locally as I’on Swamp Road. From here, the route follows a short spur trail heading westbound on an old road to a loop that circles the now abandon and overgrown rice fields. This roundtrip loop hike is best done from the late fall through the early spring. Summers are very hot and humid in the Charleston area, and the insects are quite aggressive (particularly in the evenings) so take insect repellant when hiking at this time of year. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. Keep in mind, however, that the I’on Swamp is a day-use facility and there are no camping facilities in the forest.


  1. Carl says:

    Just a correction on the facility use – backpacking and overnight camping are permitted in the Francis Marion National Forest, where I’on Swamp is located. There’s a nice spot about a mile south of the trail head off I’on Swamp Rd with a fire ring and open space to camp out. I go at least twice a year! Highly recommended, it’s a beautiful area – just watch out for the gators!

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