Charleston’s Best Running Trails

We’re fortunate in that we can run, bike, and walk year-round here in Charleston. We love finding new places to explore and imagine you do too. Here are a few we like and hope you’ll try.

Awendaw Passage

Distance: 7 miles

For an amazing sensory experience of the Lowcountry’s salt marshes, take the Awendaw Passage. Part of the Palmetto Trail, the passage meanders through a forest of palmetto trees along the Awendaw Creek.

Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail

Distance: 6.5 miles

Walk or ride this wide trail, and follow the Sawmill Branch Canal. You can start at either of two entry points, Gahagan Road or Ashley Drive in Summerville. This trail is safe, as most of the road crossings go under the roads. The quiet brings out the wildlife, so keep an eye out for animals, but beware—alligators have been known to live in the canal.

Swamp Fox Passage

Distance: 42 miles

One of the area’s oldest trails, the Swamp Fox Trail courses through the swamplands and pine forests of Francis Marion National Forest. It is named after Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War office who was known as the “Swamp Fox” because he hid from the British in the swamps of the Lowcountry.

While the trail itself is 42 miles long, only 27 miles are recognized as a National Recreation Trail. Expect to see turkeys, birds of all kinds, and deer along the trail.

West Ashley Bikeway

Distance: 2.5 miles

The West Ashley Bikeway runs in a straight line from the Ashley River to Wappoo Road, giving the families in the area a short yet lovely 2.5-mile running and cycling trail. The trail is not regularly maintained and does have one hazardous intersection: cyclists and runners must cross St. Andrews Boulevard without a crosswalk or a light. The West Ashley Greenway is nearby—simply cross over Savannah Highway on Wappoo Road.

West Ashley Greenway

Distance: 10.5 miles

The West Ashley Greenway goes from suburban Charleston to the wetlands and is a favorite of runners and mountain bikers. The greenway begins at South Windermere Shopping Center and connects several neighborhoods via a 100-foot-wide trail. After coming to Johns Island, the trail narrows into gravel, so after this point, you’ll need a bike. However, the breathtaking views are worth taking your bike along.

Which trails are your favorites?