The Ashley River, a South Carolina Scenic River, offers diverse opportunities for water recreation in Dorchester County. With numerous sites of historical significance and a relatively undisturbed tidal ecosystem, the Ashley is unique even among other Lowcountry rivers.
The Ashley River Blue Trail is one of the best-kept secrets for paddling and wildlife watching. The serene beauty of the upper Ashley offers refuge to deer and a spectacular variety of birds of prey, such as swallowtail kites, bald eagle, and osprey can be found along the river corridor.
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.
Email us to request a waterproof hard copy of the Ashley River Blue Trail map.
Ashley River Access Sites
Howard Bridgman River Access at Bacons Bridge
200 Renken Road
Summerville, SC 29485
The Howard Bridgman River Access at Bacons Bridge is situated on an ideal stretch for paddling and is a “carry-down” facility for canoes, kayaks, SUPs, and small john boats. Overhanging limbs, partially submerged obstacles and a narrow twisting channel will be encountered both immediately upstream and downstream of the access.
Note: The above address is new and may not show up on all navigational software yet. The site is located just off Bacons Bridge Road one-half mile south of Dorchester Road.
Herbert H. Jessen Boat Landing
4820 Ladson Road Extension
Summerville, SC 29485
At the Herbert H. Jessen Boat Landing, the river channel widens and becomes more suitable for average size motorboats.
The Boat Landing is owned and operated by the Town of Summerville Parks and Recreation Department. The facility offers a public boat landing and fishing pier, a walking trail and boardwalk area overlooking the Ashley River, a picnic shelter with tables, and an oyster shell recycling site. A separate canoe and kayak launch is planned.
Note: The above address is typically not recognized on navigational software. From the intersection of Ladson Road and Dorchester Road, take Ladson road south (behind Hardee’s) until you see the landing.
Plan a Trip Off the Paddled Path
At normal water levels, tidal impacts are significant with the current completely reversing course twice daily. Make sure to plan your trip on a falling tide when traveling from Bridgman Access to Jessen Landing, and a rising tide from Jessen Landing to Bridgman Access. This will allow you to paddle with the current. Out and back trips can be planned from either location by paddling through the tide change.