West Ashley Greenway

South Carolina

West Ashley Greenway Facts

States: South Carolina
Counties: Charleston
Length: 7.8 miles
Trail end points: Wesley Dr. at Folly Rd./SR 171 and McLeod Mill Rd. nr. Main Rd./SR S 10-20
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017144
Trail activities: Mountain Biking, Walking

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West Ashley Greenway Description

A favorite of local mountain bikers, the West Ashley Greenway takes you on a 7.8-mile (one way) ride from suburban Charleston west to the scenic Lowcountry wetlands that surround this charming city. From its trailhead behind the South Windermere Shopping Center on Folly Road.

On Johns Island, the dirt gives way to rough gravel and narrow bridge crossings—mountain bikes are a must. Here the broad wetlands flank the trail, presenting magnificent views and rewarding bird sightings. If your timing is right, you may catch sight of the tidal flow that carved these lacework channels. The agricultural heart of the region, Johns Island is the nation's largest producer of tomatoes. In fact, much of the fresh produce served in local restaurants hails from this rural community.

At the Wappoo Road crossing you can take Wappoo north, crossing over US 17/Savannah Highway and hop on the 2.5-mile West Ashley Bikeway.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the eastern trailhead from downtown Charleston: take US 17 west across the Ashley River Memorial Bridge. A half-mile past the bridge turn left on Folly Road. At the second light, turn right on Windermere Boulevard and enter the South Windermere Shopping Center. Park beside the trailhead on the north side of the shopping center.

To reach the western (Johns Island) terminus: head south on US 17 and turn left on Main Road. The entrance to the trail is 2.5 miles ahead on the right, just before the bridge. Turn right, then continue right onto McLeod Mill Road. The trailhead is on the left-hand side with parking.

West Ashley Greenway Reviews

A quick warm-up to the trail head by the ball field from the Residence Inn. 2 miles out and back. Few road crossings and intersections are inside a residential area. Very little traffic. Great scenery, flat and smooth surface. A nice surprise as I was going to try a hit downtown Charleston for a run. Glad the hotel manager made the recommendation. Enjoy this trail!!

Note: This trail is less than 8 miles long (one way) from the trail markers on this map, not the 10.5 listed.

But other than that, it is a well maintained and easy to run on path/trail. Yes, the first few miles are paved and you cross a number of roads starting from the east. And yes, there are some less scenic sections, but you also run through absolutely beautiful lowcountry marsh/water settings. I highly recommend giving it a try.

I walk often at the south end of the trail. Turn by railroad viaduct and go under bridge and drive toward metal buildings. Peaceful and great views of water/marsh and all types of birds.

Accordion

The Greenway is awesome. The last thing they need to do is blacktop it. For those who were disappointed it did not have bathrooms or a café, please take yourself and your disappointment back to where you came from. The whole idea of this trail is to get people away from those things! My dog and I walk it every Saturday/Sunday morning and we both enjoy the quiet and beauty of every mile.

I used to ride this trail every day. It is nice and wide and not too crowded, so you rarely have to tell people to move over. The first several miles from South Windmere are paved, then the rest is a sort of compacted earth with some sparse gravel that is absolutely perfect for hybrid or mountain bike tires, but fine for road bikes too as long as it is dry. I just road it with 700x25 tires and it wasn't too bumpy. Though road crossings are pretty frequent for the first few miles from windmere, they become less frequent and there is generally very little traffic to contend with anyway. Once you get closer to the Main Road end, you go through nice woods sections, an open farm section, and then a gorgeous marsh area that is hard to explain but definitely worth the trek.

As stated by others, ignore bad reviews.

This is a typical, linear rail trail that originates in in an urban environment and will take you away from it.

We started behind the shopping center on Folly road, and went out about 7.5 miles. Starts out paved, then transistions to hard packed dirt and or gravel.

Street crossings are no big deal, and your bike fits through gates no problem.

We only turned back because we ran out of daylight, but we ended up at a beautiful tidal marsh. Just do it....

It's a great ride from Johns Island, four miles into West Ashley. Serene with great marsh views and a tree lined trail. After that it becomes a cluttered conveyance of walkers and suburbia. And, the city plans to pave 3.4 additional miles of the trail, even though the current padding is tight and hard - - sufficient to support street bikes and not just mountain bikes. But, the administration has $ 905,000 going to seed, so - - pave it all, says Charleston Moves .

We drove from nearby Summerville to explore this trail. Disregard the negative reviews---the views are incredible and the trail is great, especially for beginner trailblazers! We took our two middle-schoolers for a Sunday outing and had a blast going through the neighborhoods and marshes. Nice and flat, but makes you work given the different types of terrain (nothing too extreme). Lots of the trail is shaded, which will make it even more appealing in the Summer!

The city is planning to pave more of what was once called 'the greenway', soon to be a heated black stripe. As stated by a previous opinion writer, not suitable for serious cyclists. And, the city will pave these sections at twice the cost of previous pavings. This is the result of hob-nail boot wearing cycling 'advocates' such as Charleston Moves selling a bill of goods to the city mayor. This group will press on and ruin the natural beauty of this ride to meet their political agenda.

Great ride. Please don't eliminate this trail because of the negative reviews. If you are looking for smooth pavement with yuppie cafes and jump castles, go somewhere else please. The trail is diverse, and yes, the gates may be a little narrow, but your bike will fit! The cross streets are further apart after mile 5 and you can really get a workout. Once you get to Clemson Organic Farms, (fencing on either side of the trail) look to your left to see an Egret rookery in a tree next to the pond. Saw an Eastern Kingbird on the wire today. Laughing Gulls chasing fiddler crabs at low tide in the large marsh about Mile ?7, Great Blues and a family casting nets and crabbing. Lovely trail. I agree with previous reviewer, and hope they don't pave the entire trail.

Head South on 17 and turn left on Main Road. The entrance to the trail is 2 1/2 miles ahead on the right, just before the bridge. Turn right,
then continue right onto McLeod Mill Road. The trailhead is on the left-hand side with parking.

This is a fantastic trail, certainly the best Charleston has to offer for walkers. Walk this trail, you won't be sorry!

It's a beautiful trail, but not really suitable for people who want to ride bikes seriously. The gates / posts at each cross road are way too tight together.
We ride a tandem, and negotiating these narrow posts is very tricky. Much of the time, we had to dismount the bike and walk through the gates.
What are the posts there for? Keeping underage kids off the trail with their golf carts?
The trail is great for walking & running, maybe OK for casual bike rides, but not suited for real riding.
-C

Don't let some reviews dissuade you. It does cross some neighborhood streets (little traffic), car barriers at the entrances to the path are tight but not an issue to navigate. 85% of the trail is in very good shape, 15% is good with very few ruts. Getting to the trail from downtown may be the biggest hurdle that you will have to negotiate, not far but traffic can be busy....

Much of the bike trail is still a natural surface, and going west you will have some fine marsh views. But move east from Stinson Dr to Folly Road and it's just a miserable asphalt covered track. This was done with the support and heavy handed influence of urban terrorist groups such as Charleston Moves and the Coastal Cycling Club, in conjunction with the aging and weak-minded mayor of Charleston. It's an attempt to eliminate as much vehicular traffic from downtown Charleston as possible by a soon to fail plan to open a poor excuse for a bike-bridge to the downtown area. The asphalt portion of this lame action is pretty crowded and unpleasant, the narrow pad overwhelmed by walkers, strollers, and beach-cruisers for big bottomed folk . Stay away from this, you'll regret your decision to travel this section.

Much of the bike trail is still a natural surface, and going west you will have some fine marsh views. But move east from Stinson Dr to Folly Road and it's just a miserable asphalt covered track. This was done with the support and heavy handed influence of urban terrorist groups such as Charleston Moves and the Coastal Cycling Club, in conjunction with the aging and weak-minded mayor of Charleston. It's an attempt to eliminate as much vehicular traffic from downtown Charleston as possible by a soon to fail plan to open a poor excuse for a bike-bridge to the downtown area. The asphalt portion of this lame action is pretty crowded and unpleasant, the narrow pad overwhelmed by walkers, strollers, and beach-cruisers for big bottomed folk . Stay away from this, you'll regret your decision to travel this section.

My first experience on the West Asley Greenway was a disappointment. We parked at the trailhead in the South Windemere shopping center. That was convenient enough. It was pleasant riding for 3.5 miles on asphalt, except for the frequent cross streets. Also, the gates seemed uncomfortably narrow at each street.

Then we came to a spot where the asphalt stopped and the trail was not well maintained. There were lots of rocks and mud filled potholes. After a mile or so, there was a muddy ditch across the trail so we decided to turn around.

I guess I was spoiled by the trails in Pittsburgh, but we saw no signs of outhouses, water fountains and only a few benches. It would also be nicer if there was maybe a cafe that catered to bikers.

Sadly disappointed.

It was great! You can read all about it and view the pictures I took at: www.charlestonandlowcountry.com

My parents live at about the 1/2 way point along this trail. Heading east, towards town you will cross residential streets every 1/4 or 1/2 mile. Heading west the intersections become much less frequent. there are no major road crossings, just suburban residential streets.
The surface is packed dirt in most places but turns to lose rock a few times near bridges. I have gone from one end to the other in 35 minutes (at race pace) on my cyclocross bike. Go a lot slower if you want to enjoy the views, which are awesome.

The greenway will soon be no-more. City leaders and bike organizations here in Charleston have pushed to pave the entire 10 mile length of this trail. So, it won't be the Greenway much longer. At a cost of over $100,000 per mile, a foolish project and waste of tax dollars. The trail doesn't need to be paved. It will create a hot, uncomfortable bike ride and run, and will forever be a financial burden on the public with rising maintenance costs.

This trail was a big disappointment. The first section near Charleston runs through neighborhoods, and you have to keep crossing streets. About 5 miles into the trail you get to a neighborhood section that is run down and sketchy - the homeowners have used the greenway as their personal garabage dump throwing trash over their fences into the greenway area. Then you ride through the agricultural research area where you have 6' high razor wire fences on both sides of you. About 1/3 mile into the razor wire we turned around and gave up on this trail.

A very enjoyable ride. It was more fun than some paved trails and we liked the variety of scenery. Parking was easy. I think we'll use again next year as we travel South..

"I just went biking on this trail last weekend, August 25th, and what a great trailin Charleston this is! It's behind the S. Windemere shopping center, and the trail head is right behind the coffee shop on the corner of Rt. 17.

Don't let the 10 miles scare you - this is a very flat, well-maintained trail that I could have done on a beach-cruiser bike. And for the time it takes to get out to the estuary, it's worth it (The estuary is 4 or 5 miles from the trailhead). It was my girlfriend (who rode the trail with me), myself, and about 50 different animals of all different types - but unfortunately no alligators. It was picturesque views for minimal effort on this trail. If you're looking for something different to do that would be fun for everyone, this is the perfect opportunity. "

"The West Ashley Greenway starts on the hill next to the South Windemere shopping center in West Ashley and runs all the way to Main Road, which goes onto John's Island. The trail is unpaved for the most part, but is clearly marked; however, the east 1/3 of the trail is an inconvenience to riders because it is constantly crossing neighborhood sidestreets and you must stop for traffic. This 1/3 is not very scenic, anyways.

The latter 2/3 goes past the Clemson Agriculture Lab and along the Stono River where you will frequently see fisherman and shrimpers, as well as an assortment of wildlife and marshlands.

A safe loop for a rider looking for a ride of 20 miles is to start at South Windemere and take it all the way to Main Road, turn right on Main Road, take it across Hwy 17, and turn right on Bee's Ferry Road, which has a two-foot shoulder. Bee's Ferry Road will intersect with Glenn McConnell Frwy, which has a 15-foot shoulder. Glenn McConnell merges with Ashley River Road (Rte 61), which has sidewalks and parking lanes and shoulders. Hwy 61 intersects Folly Road, which returns you to South Windemere Center. "

"The West Ashway Greenway provided us with a great getaway after a half day in Charleston traffic. We pedaled from downtown to the trailhead behind the pink shopping center. It's a little hairy crossing the bridge but manageable.

The trail runs parallel to a very busy Rt. 17 but is quiet and pretty. You see some houses and backyards but also pass through a large agricultural station of some sort. Roughly the last third of the trail crosses through an estuary and we saw an alligator and lots of birds including snowy egret, whit ibis, osprey, tri-colored heron, kingfisher, comorants and others we could not indentify.

It is easy at the eastern end of the trail to find food as their are lots of restaurants on Rt. 17. The trail is flat and smooth with very good dirt riding conditions. There are a few street crossings but most are quiet and not a problem. They provide easy access to the services on Rt. 17. "

"On Sunday September 23rd I made a trip to the greenway, I had never been on it in the 23 years I have lived in the area. I had read some reviews of the trail and had a picture of a nice trail thru an urban area. Boy was I disappointed! First I had to find the starting point, there is not one clearly defined, or is there any signage. I parked behind some retail stores and got on the path, it started out fairly good and went downhill from there. The further south I rode the worse it got, very rough, I also had to dodge cars that have access to the southern portion. There has been no maintainence on 2/3 of the southern portion in years. The end is in a dumping ground and trash is a major obstacle. I will not be returning to ride here. "

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