Givhans Ferry State Park.

Dorchester - Givhan SP - 03 Bluff Trail

I have to admit I ended up at this park due to a missed turn, but no problem. I was here, I had time so I visited it. The downside was I didn’t have a map and couldn’t find the start of the trail I knew existed and the ranger was elsewhere. I missed the cemetery too, but that gives me a reason to visit again.
The park straddles the Edisto River whose riverbanks are protected as a Heritage Trust Site. It is the longest free flowing blackwater river in North America. From here you can go kayaking and canoeing There’s a boat landing right by the visitor center. It offers a nice view of the river.
The park is named after Phillip Givhan who was the ferry master here in the latter part of the 18th century. His granddaughter, Mary Ford, is buried in the park. The ferry sat at the point, called the Charleston to Augusta/Savannah pass, where one could cross the Edisto river and continue on the road from Charleston to Augusta.

Givhans Ferry State Park is one of the parks in South Carolina developed by the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program created by Presdient F. D. Roosevelt. It was donated in 1934 by the City of Charleston.

I managed to find the trail, the River Bluff Nature Trail. The website says it’s a multipurpose trail for hiking and biking, but when I walked it, I found it a bit rough so if you take your little ones, make sure to hold their hands so they don’t tumble into the river. It might be better now. The bluff is made of limestone and it is due to the limestone that there are a number of sinkholes in the park, sinkholes created by underground streams eating away at the soft rock.
As for the cemetery, the only remaining tombstone is that of Phillip Givhan’s granddaughter.

How to Get There:
The park is located on Givhans Ferry Road off SC 61 and is in both Dorchester and Colleton counties.

Givhans ferry State Park
Givhans Ferry ST Video

Colleton State Park
Francis Beidler Forest
Old Dorchester State Park


Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Greeneville - Campbell's Covered Bridge - from creek

Only one covered bridge remains in South Carolina – Campbell’s Covered Bridge. As soon as I heard about it, I made it my business to visit. It’s a picturesque structure set in the country with woods and a stream. While I saw it in summer, fall and winter are good times to go as well, if not better.

The bridge sits in a park owned by Greenville County and is not far from scenic SC Hwy 11. You first see the bridge from the parking lot allowing my handicapped mother to see it with no problem. Also in the park is a picnic place, and the foundation of an old grist mill. Then of course, one can visit Beaverdam creek which runs under the bridge. Interpretive signs give information on the bridge.

The 38 foot long structure was built in 1909 by a Charles Irwin Willis. It’s believed he named after Lafayette Campbell who owned quite a bit of land in the area.

How to Get There:
It’s located south of SC 11. Take SC 101 south. Turn west on RD 414 toward Tigerville. Turn south on Pleasant Hill Rd and right on Campbell’s Bridge Rd. There should be signs to help you on the say.

Campbell’s Covered Bridge

What’s near By:

Scenic Highway 11
Poinsett Bridge
Jones Gap S.P.
Caesar’s Head S.P.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Besides national and state parks and county parks there are recreation areas and campgrounds run by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which are nice places to visit although I usually utilize their campgrounds. According to one website I visited, they’re one of the largest providers of outdoor recreation. I never would have thought that.
While it has army in the title and is under the Department of Defense it’s associated with public work projects such as dams, canals, and flood protection. If you’ve ever watched or read news where there is major flooding particularly on the Mississippi River, you’ve heard them mentioned. With over 35,000 employees they make one of the largest public engineering and construction management agencies in the world.
The USACE operates three sites in South Carolina. Overall there are about 2,500 recreation areas at 456 projects. Most of the projects are lakes where they’ve built hydroelectric dams
The three sites in South Carlina are: Lake Hartwell, Lake Russell, and Lake J. Strom Thurmond, all located along the South Carolina and Georgia border.
I haven’t been to Hartwell Lake yet, but have driven past it. It’s the northernmost lake located in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens county. There’s plenty to do with nine campgrounds and fifteen major day use facilities that include swimming beaches and picnic grounds.
Further south on the Savannah River is Lake Richard B. Russell in Abbeville county. Calhoun State Park is located on it. The Corps only operates a fishing pier and an overlook of the dam site, which is pretty interesting. Construction of some sort was on going when I partook of the overlook.
A bit further south is J. Strom Thurmond Lake in McCormick County. Also known as Clarks Hill Reservoir, it’s the largest lake project by the Corps east of the Mississippi River. There are thirteen campground and five major day use areas run by them. Other agencies operate parks on the lake as well. There is a nice visitor center from which you have a good view of the lake. I just missed seeing a bald eagle by ten minutes. I almost wished the person hadn’t told me about it. But that’s life.