Different Seasons on the Trail
Paddling on the Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail can be a year round activity. However, properly preparing oneself for anticipated river and weather conditions is critical to a safe and enjoyable experience on the river. Please use the seasonal description to understand general river conditions at various times of the year, and ALWAYS check the weather forecast in advance of your outing.
While considerable effort has been made to provide accurate information, we take no responsibility for any errors or omissions. There is some risk involved in water activities, and ultimate responsibility for safety lies solely with the individual participant. Educate yourself, and make decisions that avoid unnecessary risk.
Spring is a time of awakening on the Edisto for both plant and animal life. Water levels typically flow at average to above average levels thanks to frequent weather systems passing through the region. These same systems often bring heavy rain and sometimes thunderstorm events. The river corridor undergoes a constant greening and colorful blooms may also be found. With this transformation comes the first signs of biting and stinging creatures along the banks. Temperatures can be volatile ranging from cool nights and mornings to blistering afternoons approaching the 90s, especially in late spring.
Summer is the time when all sorts of creatures descend on the Edisto in full force. In addition to the insects and reptiles, summer weekends usher in hoards of tubers and other inflatable floaters bumping down the river, primarily between Givhans Ferry SP and Messervy’s Landing. If you are looking for solitude, you should choose a different stretch of river during summer weekends. Water levels on the Edisto are typically at their lowest by late summer, providing many nice sand bars for breaks, but requiring more attention than usual to the winding river channel in order to avoid the shallows. Typically, a reading of 2′ or higher on the Givhans Gauge will provide enough water to float the canoe and kayak trail without too much scraping. Heat and humidity are the norm, so pack plenty of water and watch out for those regular afternoon thunderstorms!
Early fall can present some of the lowest water levels, but the paddling can be divine as the first hints of cool weather return to the air. By late fall, abundant color decorates the river corridor and the glassy river surface itself. Like spring, fall in the Lowcountry can be a mix of weather ranging from nighttime lows in the forties and daytime highs reminiscent of summer. However, when you encounter one of the many magical autumn days with dry air, bluebird sky, and jumping fish, you’ll understand why this is a favorite time of year to explore the river.
Winter on the Edisto is not for the inexperienced or ill-prepared, but this time of year can prove quite rewarding for those seeking solitude on the river. Proper planning can help the experienced paddler ensure a successful outing. Avoid risky weather conditions. Always wear appropriate layered clothing. Never forget the importance of maintaining a dry bag stocked with emergency gear such as a full change of dry clothing and fire starter to combat the impacts of an unexpected dip in the river. Do not attempt paddling the Edisto during cold weather without these essential provisions and an understanding of wilderness first aid. For those that check all of these boxes, a blackwater winter wonderland awaits!