Click for Asheville, North Carolina Forecast Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, SC
(Bull Island)


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Character: Protected tidal sea kayak trip
Scenery: Tidal marsh, unusually densely forested barrier island
Distance from Downtown Asheville: Five hours to put-in (275 miles)
Length: 6-12+ mile round trip; day trip, overnight or multi-day options if combined with camping on Capers Island
Season: All year (Spring and Fall best weather/bug combination)
Other sections: Cape's Point Loop, Capers Island, Lighthouse Loop, Murphy's Island
Put-in: Moore's Landing.  Can only be used two hours before and after high tide without dragging boat through thick mud.  Predicted tides for:  Moore's Landing, Sewee Bay.
Take-out: Same as put-in for round trip;  see the text below for a suggested 11 mile point-to-point trip
Directions from Asheville (to take-out): Take I-26 South approximately 250 miles to Exit 212B-C (I-526 to Savannah / Mt Pleasant).  Take I-526 12 miles to the Exit for US 17 North (to Georgetown).  Turn left onto US 17 / US 701 (Georgetown Highway) and drive North to Sewee Road (about 11 miles).  Turn right onto Sewee Road, then right again approximately 3.2 miles later onto Bull Island Road.  The landing is at the end of Bull Island Road.  Click here to view a map showing the route from I-526 to the Sewee and Bull Island Roads (you'll have to do a re-centering click or two to follow the route).
Shuttle: To run the shuttle for the Bull Island to Capers Island to Isle of Palms Marina point-to-point trip, re-trace steps to US 17 / US 701 (Georgetown Highway).  Turn left onto US 17 / US 701 and drive South to SC 517 (Isle of Palms Connector, about 9.5 miles). Turn left onto SC 517.  Once on Isle of Palms (about four miles), turn left onto Palm Boulevard  (SC 703) and drive to about two miles to 41st Avenue.  Turn left onto 41st Avenue (you'll actually have no choice).  The Isle of Palms Marina is on your right at the end of the 41st Avenue. 

Click here to view a map showing the route from Moore's Landing to the Isle of Palms Marina (you'll have to do a re-centering click or two to follow the route).  Click here to view a map showing the route from Isle of Palms Marina back to I-26.

Other access points: Isle of Palms Marina ($5 per car per day parking fee;  pay at the Marina office;  see Capers Island)
Camping: Capers Island is the only place near Bull Island on which camping is allowed (camping isn't allowed anywhere in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge).  The best camping is on the ocean-side of Capers Island.  It is by permit only;  call the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at (843) 762-5042 or 762-5062 to obtain a permit.
Gradient: NA
Guides  
  Online: SC DNR's Capers Island Heritage PreserveGORP's Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
  Print: Coastal Expeditions Maps (well yes, technically a map, but includes put-ins and take-outs, camping areas, etc. . . in other words, much of what you'd be looking for in a guidebook);  James Bannon and Morrison Giffen's Sea Kayaking the Carolinas
Maps: TopoZone Moore's Landing to Bull Island (and Capers Island / Isle of Palms)
USGS 7.5 Quads: Fort Moultrie, SC 1:24,000 Capers Inlet, SC 1:24,000 Sewee Bay, SC 1:24,000 Bull Island, SC 1:24,000
Photos: Tours Gallery
Other: Predicted Tides (easiest to paddle in slack water or going with the tide.  Slack water occurs ___ hours before to ___ hours after a high / low tide):

Old Capers Landing, Santee Pass, Capers Island
Moore's Landing, Sewee Bay

Tides are predicted for eight locations between the Isle of Palms Marina and Moore's Landing;  the predictions are generally within 20 minutes of each other.  For additional predictions, visit Harbortides.com, SC, Winyah Bay.

 


 

Bull Island is the most popular destination within the twenty-two mile long Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.  What makes it distinctive is its forest, which includes live oaks, pines, palmettos, and magnolias.  Like the other islands in the Refuge, it teams with wildlife, the most striking of which are the alligators in its ponds.  Bull Island is served by a ferry from Moore's Landing and features 16 miles of dirt roads, picnic tables and pit toilets (but no food pr water, so bring your own).  Despite the amenities, it is easy to find solitude by hiking away from the ferry landing at Summerhouse Creek.

An easy day trip can be had by paddling through the marsh to the ferry landing, exploring the island on foot, and then paddling back to Moore's Landing (many routes possible).  This results in a paddle of approximately six miles.  Do keep in mind that the put-in / take-out at Moore's Landing can only be used two hours before and after high tide without dragging boat through thick mud.  Here's a link to check the tides at Moore's Landing.

A point-to-point trip that includes a paddle by both Bull and Capers Island can be arranged by taking out at the Isle of Palms Marina.  The Moore's Landing to Isle of Palms trip is approximately 11 miles long and can be broken up with an overnight stay on Capers Island.  Capers Island is the only place near Bull Island on which camping is allowed (camping isn't allowed anywhere in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge).  Camping is by permit only;  call SCDNR at (843) 762-5042 or 762-5062 to obtain a permit.  Options for multi-day trips include circumnavigating Bull and Capers Islands and exploring Sewee and Bull Bays.

There are no amenities or stores on Capers Island;  if you decide to camp, be sure to bring enough food and water (approximately one gallon per person per day).  Keep an eye on the tide;  paddling out to the island when the tide is coming in or back from the island when the tide is going out can be a real struggle.  Keep an eye out too for other watercraft;  parts of the paddle are on the heavily traveled Intercoastal Waterway.

 


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Revised: November 12, 2003.

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