• Paddling the Ashley River, Dorchester State Park, SC | Credit: Ashley Chapman, Park Manager at Historic Dorchester
  • Ashley Scenic River | Credit: South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Ashley Scenic River | Credit: South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Ashley Scenic River | Credit: South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Ashley River paddlers | Credit: Howard Bridgman
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Plan Your Trip

Find points of interest, nearby cities, activities, and more with our interactive map.

About Ashley River

The Ashley River runs more than 30 miles from its headwaters in the Great Cypress Swamp, Dorchester County, South Carolina to the Charleston Harbor.

Not only is the area a recreational hot spot, for paddling, wildlife watching and enjoying the river from its banks, but it is also rich with history including iconic plantations predating the Revolutionary War. The Ashley River provides an amazing connection between a historically significant river and diverse natural resource in South Carolina in a relatively undisturbed tidal ecosystem. The Ashley River area contains 26 separate sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Middleton Place, and Drayton Hall. In addition, the Ashely also provides habitat for abundant wildlife including endangered sturgeon, striped bass and the rare swallow-tailed kite. Tidally influenced throughout its length, the upper river provides paddlers sanctuary from large, motorized boats which frequent its lower reaches where it adjoins the harbor.

Ashley River Blue Trail Video

With our partners on the Ashley River, including Lowcountry Open Land Trust, Charleston Waterkeeper, Ashely Scenic River Advisory Council, Dorchester County Parks and Recreation and the Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester Council of Governments, American Rivers is working to promote recreation, improved access and the amazing historical experience one has along the river while protecting this rich resource of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Educated river enthusiasts have much more fun on their adventures! Check out these great resources about recreational, historic and other fun activities you can have on the Ashley River Blue Trail!

Shipwreck Trail

Charles Towne Landing

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site

Ashley River Historic Corridor

Freehouse Brewery

Are you interested in planning your next trip to the Ashley River, or getting out to explore your hometown river? Check out our Ashley River Blue Trail map here [north map | south map]  to learn where to access the river, find historic features and explore this Lowcountry gem.

What to do in the area?

Looking for restaurants, hotels or outfitters nearby?
Use the search below to find local businesses near the river.