Santee River

The Berkeley County Blueways includes 63 miles of the Santee River above major tidal influence.  The Santee River trail begins at Wilsons Landing on the tailrace of the Lake Marion Dam and ends at McConnels Landing.  Each of the sections is somewhat different and offers a bit of variety as it meanders along the northern boundary of Berkeley County.  The first section requires overnight camping and the other three can be paddled as day trips.  The upper Santee River is fed by releases from the Lake Marion impoundment above Wilsons Landing and the lower section from the Lake Moultrie impoundment through the Saint Stephens Hydro Electric Plant on the rediversion canal.  It is important to check water release information when planning your trips.  You can call the Santee Cooper toll free information number at 1-800-925-2537 for scheduled releases.  While not normally problematic for paddlers, water releases could inundate campsites.  It is recommended that canoes and kayaks be tied off and tents located near high water marks.  Swimming is not encouraged due to sharp drop offs, holes, cloudy waters and sometimes strong currents.  The Santee River shows little sign of development.  It is a very pretty river to paddle.  In particular, the upper section from Wilsons Landing to Hiway 52 is among the prettiest waterways in the state.