Waccamaw River Blue Trail

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Headwaters of the Waccamaw River are in Lake Waccamaw, a freshwater lake located in a NC Carolina Bay. A Carolina Bay is a naturally occurring elliptical depression with origins that are debated. Many scientists believe they are limestone sinkholes. The NC lake of its origin and the river itself are named for the Waccamaw Indians, a Native American tribe headquartered in Conway – a tribe that remains active.

For nearly 150 miles, the river winds through Horry and Georgetown counties. Near the fishing village of Murrells Inlet, it joins the Pee Dee River and continues its ocean-bound trek on a path roughly parallel to the Carolina coast. It slides past historic sites like Brookgreen Gardens, Sandy Island and a number of history-steeped rice plantations. Ultimately, in Georgetown the blackwater waterway empties itself into Winyah Bay, a coastal estuary known as one of the cleanest and most beautiful on the Southeastern coast.

The Blue Trail is a paddling trail that follows SC’s portion of the Waccamaw River, flowing through Waccamaw River Heritage Preserve, the city of Conway and parts of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. With more than one

hundred miles of river, boaters and paddlers can explore cypress swamps and tidal marshes that serve as home to many rare species of plants and animals.

Visit the Waccamaw River Blue Trail on Facebook. Download the Waccamaw River Blue Trail map, and view the Waccamaw Blue Trail Video at: BlueTrailsGuide.org/Rivers/ Waccamaw. A waterproof map can be found at a variety of local outfitters, parks and retailers.

Kimberly Duncan