Places We Protect

Black River Preserve

South Carolina

Aerial view of the Black River at dusk.
The Black River One of four rivers that make up the freshwater complex of Winyah Bay, South Carolina. The Conservancy has focused land acquisition efforts along this stretch of the river. © Mac Stone

The Black River is one of the most incredible canoe and kayak destinations in the state.

Black River Outdoors Center



This stretch of river feels like a forgotten place and the remnant 1,000-year old bald cypress are a reminder that being forgotten is sometimes the best thing that can happen to a place.

What TNC is Doing

The Nature Conservancy and conservation partners are working diligently to make sure the narrows of the Black River remain secluded and intact. Since 1986, the Conservancy and partners have conserved 47,000 acres along the river.

The Conservancy recently purchased conservation easements on 1,420 acres of breeding habitat near the preserve with funding from the North American Wetland Conservation Act Grant program. The Conservancy also added 80 acres to the preserve itself, with fund­ing from TD Bank and the Judith Haskell Brewer Fund.




Kayaking, fishing, bird watching


1,736 acres

Explore our work in South Carolina

Why You Should Visit

Paying a visit to the scenic narrows of the Black River is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. The floodplain forest widens and the river narrows between the towering cypress trees. Although the pull of the tide can still be felt, the water moves slowly here as it pushes through the wetland forest. Fishermen tuck themselves into the sloughs and creeks while kayakers thread through the watery maze trying to follow the main channel.

Traveling through the swamp one is likely to encounter wild turkeys, wood ducks, yellow-bellied sliders, and the occasional American alligator.

Bird enthusiasts seek this destination as a place to see prothonotary warblers, pileated woodpeckers, and the state-endangered swallow-tailed kite. In fact, the corridor is considered one of the most important breeding areas in South Carolina for swallow-tailed kites, a striking black-and-white raptor that depends on bottomland forest habitats to survive. A citizen-science project allows bird enthusiasts across the region to report sightings of swallow-tailed kites. You can report sightings online on Conservancy preserves or elsewhere.

Things To Do

  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Guided Tours
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching

Plan Your Visit

The Conservancy’s Black River Preserve is a 60 mile trip from Charleston, should take you about an hour and twenty minutes. Check the tides before you plan your trip: the tidal delay for this stretch of river is about 6.0 hours off the Charleston, SC tide projections. The approximate time it takes to paddle from Pump House to Pine Tree landing is 3 hours (if traveling with the tide—longer if not).

If you’re interested in a guided tour, you can contact Black River Outdoors to schedule a trip with their professional guides at 843-546-4840 or

Find More Places We Protect

TNC owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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