11 Charleston Hiking and Walking Trails You’ve Got To Try

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Key Points:

  • Palmetto Islands County Park is one of the best walking trails in Charleston. There is also a playground, a dog park, and even a seasonal waterpark.
  • You’ve got to check out the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge for great views and a good workout. Walk the Mt. Pleasant Pier while you’re there.
  • Other great spots include Laurel Hill County Park, Hampton Park, and the West Ashley Greenway. 

Enjoy Charleston’s spring weather by exploring some of the city’s walking trails. Even though the city is flat (you won’t find any strenuous hills here), there are plenty of beautiful walking trails where you can get outside and enjoy nature.

Here are a few that I enjoy or have heard are nice.

Palmetto Islands County Park

Brian Stansberry, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This park is one of my absolute favorites in Charleston and a go-to when I want to take a walk. With 943 acres, this park is very nature orientated and has plenty of shade. You’ll find paved trails and Nature Island, which has dirt trails. 

The park is right along the marsh, with stunning views of the water on your walk, run, or bike ride. Beyond walking trails, the park also has a meadow, playground, docks for fishing and kayaking, a 50 foot observation tower, a dog park, bike and pedal boat rentals, and a seasonal waterpark. It’s the perfect place for families to spend the day.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

DXR, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This isn’t a dirt walking trail, but I can’t not mention the bridge! You can walk the entire five and a half mile bridge connecting Mt. Pleasant and Charleston or turn around halfway. 

If you’re wanting some hills, you’ll definitely get some strength training as you climb up the bridge. But the views are worth it.

I also recommend checking out the Mt. Pleasant Pier nearby and walking along there. The pier runs underneath the bridge and has plenty of parking. It’s easy to park there, explore the pier and then walk the bridge.

Check out: Is Charleston a Walkable City?

Laurel Hill County Park

Laurel Hill is a beautiful 745 acre park with unpaved trails. Along the trails, you’ll come across a small lake where you may be able to spot some wildlife! You’ll also get to see the picturesque oak alley. 

Make sure you have your phone on you so you can grab some pictures during your adventure.

Hampton Park

MsBJPeart – Brenda J Peart #DaVisualGriot, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hampton Park has a dedicated walking and running path, which is a mile loop around the park. I love seeing the azaleas bloom here, but the park is also home to an old rose collection as well. 

There are also some cute coffee shops and restaurants nearby, so it’s easy to take a walk and then enjoy the day after!

West Ashley Greenway

The West Ashley Greenway is an extensive, 10.5 mile trail that connects points in West Ashley. The former rail trail is now perfect for walking and enjoying nature with its mix of asphalt and packed dirt trails. 

Awendaw Passage – Palmetto Trail

The Awendaw Passage part of the Palmetto Trail is about 30 miles away from downtown Charleston, but it’s worth the trek. 

The trail spans 7.1 miles and winds along the Intercoastal Waterway, the Awendaw Creek, and through the Francis Marion Forest. 

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

A ticket to the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will give you access to two walking trails, trails through the plantation, and access to the 60 acre swamp. 

Keep your eyes open for alligators and other wildlife in the swamp. Along the trails in the garden, enjoy the beautiful flowers and greenery. 

James Island County Park

The James Island County Park offers miles of paved trails throughout the park. The perimeter trail is a nice 3.5 mile loop. The park also has a climbing wall, seasonal waterpark, a campground, disc golf course, and a dog park. It’s a great place to explore and spend the day!

Daniel Island Trail

Located near Governor’s Park, the Daniel Island Trail three miles out and back. This paved trail has a few boardwalks and offers great views of the Wando River, the marsh, and a few ponds. 

Pitt Street Bridge

Once a former bridge connecting Mt. Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island, the Pitt Street Bridge is now a walking path and fishing dock. It’s beautiful to come here in the evening and watch the sun set over Charleston. While the bridge is only about a half of a mile, you can continue your walk through the Old Village, which has tons of streets to wander down.

I’On Village Walk

I love walking through the I’On neighborhood and admiring all the homes. It feels like I’m downtown! Walking through the neighborhood itself is lovely, but they also have a few trails you can explore. 

The trails are about half a mile to two miles and are relatively easy, but offer great views. Explore them all, or choose from the Marsh Trail, Westlake Path, Eastlake Path, I’On Rookery Trail, or the Canal Walk.

The Bottom Line

Charleston is a pretty walkable city and, while it’s great to walk around downtown (and highly recommended) exploring nature and walking trails can be just as enjoyable. These trails will help you to get off the beaten path and enjoy some local areas as well.


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