Paddling South Carolina’s Rivers

22 thoughts on “Paddling South Carolina’s Rivers”

  1. This is a great resource! I am fairly new to paddling but enjoy it just the same. I have done trip marking with my GPS and converted it over to KML files for uploads to Google Earth and then over to my Google Maps page.

    I love what you are doing and hope that I can learn more along the way.

    Was wondering if you thought about donating what you have done to OpenStreetMap or EveryTrail?

    I have been checking into those guys for new trails and maps and it seems as if SC needs some help in the areas.

    Trying to go paddling this Sunday so I will see if I can take this we me for a handy guide! Thanks.

  2. I’ll have to check this out. One name that is missing, probably because it’s not really paddled much yet, is the 12 Mile River or 12 Mile Creek (whichever it is). Two of the three dams on that stream will come down (hopefully, finally) in the next 2 years, and the supervising judge is trying to get the third removed. It’ll likely be worth looking at, and may be now for all I know. Lots of open stream down through there.

    1. Ken – I had considered, but dismissed 12 Mile because it’s still not ready for prime time. I’m hoping that version 2.0 of the list will include it.

      Andre – I hadn’t thought about contributing to those websites, but I may consider it. I’ll scan them to see if I left anything out of my list.

  3. Gary – It’s a great book, and I enjoyed the video, too. Our high school library had a copy of that. I would love to create a project like that – you’ve captured Lawson’s Fork wonderfully.

  4. You put a lot of work into this project and the result is AWESOME. Although I don’t have a boat yet, I still have it in my wish list and I’ll be back for your maps when I do.

  5. Great work Tom. Thanks for taking the time to create the map. Now you can start to incorporate live tidal info for the coastal rivers and streams, and live or near live hydrology data from gauging stations.
    I spent most of my free time fishing the Combahee River with my father during the 60s & 70s. From Tar Bluff up to the rr trestle near Yemasse. An extended float trip down Cuckold Creek to Tar Bluff is in my bucket list.

      1. Joe – ask and ye shall receive. I found some suitable information from and added it as a network layer under the Resources folder. I’ve just updated the file online. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. Tom,
    Nice work with the KMZ file for SC Rivers.

    I hope to paddle some of the Saluda River above what is shown in the “Paddling SC” book. I am interested in more details for the sections you show on the map for the Saluda upstream of Lake Greenwood. Can you point me to any references for these?

    Best regards,

  7. Tom,

    I think I found the references. I see AW has some info on what they call Saluda 1, 2, and 3.

    I found a planning guide by the Greenville Co. Parks and Rec on Pearson Access to Saluda Lake Landing, and your report on Freeman Bridge to Hunts Bridge.

    Best regards,

    1. Paul – you found it before I had a chance to look for it. You might also check the websites for the Foothills Paddling Club and Palmetto Paddlers. I think they might have some trip reports from those sections.

  8. Tom – We made some runs on the Saluda and enjoyed them.

    We also tried to paddle from downstream of the Piedmont Dam to Timmerman Landing in Pelzer but did not find a suitable put-in in Piedmont.

    The Piedmont access marked on your kmz file appears to be off a driveway at Spring Street in Piedmont. The driveway has a locked gate and goes a few hundred yards to what appears to be a small utility operation. It would be possible to park on the street and carry in, but we decided not to.

    Looking at property records, the driveway crosses the property of many privately-owned tracts. Piedmont Sewer and Light District owns only a small tract around the utility. I assume they have an easement along the driveway.

    We asked several people in Piedmont about river access, but we did not come up with a decent one. Do you know any more about the status of possible river access in Piedmont?

    1. Paul,

      Thanks for the heads up on the access. My sources have shown this as an informal access point, and it may no longer be available. I looked on the Greenville Planning Commission’s guide to Saluda River, and it states that “At this time, a trip beginning at the Timmerman Landing should end at the same site.” That leads me to believe that there might not be access to the river below the dam at Piedmont. Here’s a link to that PDF file…

  9. Thank you for doing this! Im just getting into kayaking and live in Due West. My wife and I are going to do upper Saluda River this weekend! Maybe something you could add (or I missed it) is travel time for the ones you know?

  10. I would like to prepare a Google Map for a kayak paddle showing a few landmarks, download the map and then place it on a GPS. Then on the water have the Google Map display my kayak location on my Google Map during the trip. Is that possible?

    1. David, here’s how to do it…First create your landmarks and the route in Google Earth. The route can be drawn out as a path. Save all of that in a Google Earth folder, then save the folder as a KML (not KMZ) file. Use GSP Babel ( to convert the KML file to a GPX file. From there you can either use the program that came with your GPS to transfer the GPX file to the unit, or you can use EasyGPS ( Hope this helps!

  11. Thanks so much – I am learning so much! I took a sample kayak route and put a route and waypoints on a Google Earth kml file. Used GPSBable to convert to a GPX. Then placed the GPX file on a Garmin Nuvi 205W but I only got waypoints – NO route. Worked with options in GPSBable but no success yet. Any suggestions?

  12. Tom,

    You note Oxbow Road as an access on the Wateree River. I paddled the Wateree River a few years ago and stopped to checkout possible access at Oxbow Road. I noted it was a rather steep bank to use, and the road (drive) was very narrow.

    In looking at SC DOT maps for Sumter County, it does not show a public road here, and the GIS county maps show this tract as private property.

    Are you sure access here is legal without permission from the owner?


  13. Hi. I didn’t read every comment, so maybe what I want to ask is covered there, but I have moved here from Michigan and have a question. Northern Michigan has many beautiful rivers and for many of them there are canoe liveries which will rent you a canoe and then you can canoe downstream for various trips like 3 hour trip or 5 hour trip, etc., and then the livery would come and pick you up. Most rivers are 1 – 2 and canoeble by most, but the point is that the livery comes and picks you up and then takes you back to the livery and your car. I have been looking for the same kind of business/service here in SC, but have yet to find it. Is this available ? thanks

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