Lower Saluda Scenic River

Project Overview

Lower Saluda Scenic River

A 10-mile segment of the Saluda River beginning one mile below Lake Murray Dam to its confluence with the Broad River was designated a State Scenic River by the Legislature on May 31, 1991. The Lower Saluda Scenic River is recognized as an outstanding recreational resource. The tailrace waters from Lake Murray reservoir provide a cold water fishery and varying water levels for recreational boating. Trout and striped bass fishing as well as whitewater (class II to V rapids) and flatwater paddling are very popular on this piedmont river. These factors, combined with the surrounding topography and rock outcrops similar to mountain streams and the heavily wooded landscape, make the Lower Saluda River corridor an outstanding natural resource within the urban environment of metropolitan Columbia.

The Lower Saluda River Advisory Council is established to advise the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources concerning protection and management of the river. The council also promotes awareness and conservation of the Lower Saluda's special qualities among landowners, the public, and local governments. The Lower Saluda River Advisory Council was preceded by the Lower Saluda River Task Force, a 30-member group representing citizens and interest groups from throughout the area. The task force with assistance from the South Carolina Water Resources Commission (now the Land, Water and Conservation Division of the DNR) and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, produced The Lower Saluda River Corridor Plan in 1990. This plan presents over 70 recommendations for the long-term management of the river.

The 1990 corridor plan was revisited in April 2000 when the advisory council initiated a three-day public-input design process (a charrette) to explore new ideas about the lower Saluda, including the vision of a continuous greenway trail system along the north side of the river. Results from the charrette are captured in a report entitled: Lower Saluda Scenic River Corridor Plan Update.

Go to the Lower Saluda Corridor Planning Project Page to see plan documents.

Lower Saluda Scenic River Advisory Council


Ex-officio Members

Management Objectives

Lower Saluda Scenic River management objectives include the following:

Service Project Opportunity — Storm Drain Tagging

You and your group can help protect streams and clean water, increase awareness of how polluted runoff impacts the Saluda River, and provide residents with suggestions on how to reduce the pollution. All this can be accomplished if you help do the following:

  1. Tag storm drains with a Dump No Waste! Drains to Saluda River sign (tag); and
  2. Distribute information (door hangers) to inform the community of ways they can protect streams and clean water. If interested, contact the SCDNR Scenic River staff listed below.

Recreational Access

There are currently four public access points on the Lower Saluda River. Take a look at the river map to get your bearings.

Hope Ferry landing (on south bank) and Saluda Shoals Park (north bank) provide the only public ramps for trailered boat launches on the river. Hope Ferry landing is accessed from Corley Mill Road which connects with SC Hwy 6 and US Hwy 378.

Saluda Shoals Regional Park Access facilities at this new park include canoe launch, boat ramp, decked overlook to the river, fish cleaning station, and picnic area. A fee is required to enter the park. Enter from Bush River Road which connects with SC Hwy 6 and I-20.

Gardendale / SCE&G Put-in this access is 3.5 miles downstream from Hope Ferry and Saluda Shoals Park. The site provides access for boats that can be carried in. The location is on the north bank near the Gardendale community and WVOC radio station off Garden Valley Road which is accessed from Bush River Road near I-20.

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens offers nature trails and a pedestrian bridge with views of Mill Race Rapids, historic structures, and native wildlife. Carry-in boat access is available at the western (upstream) end of the parking lot by walking a short trail to the river. Riverbanks is located off Greystone Blvd which connects with I-126. Open daily from 9-5 pm, admission is charged.

Going the Distance Boaters can run the entire Lower Saluda through its confluence with the Broad River by taking out at landings on the Congaree River. Senate Street landing below Gervais Street (US Hwy 1) bridge near Sterling Garden Center provides access only for boats that can be carried in. Senate Street landing is 10 miles downstream from Hope Ferry and Saluda Shoals Park. Public landings with ramps are located 2 and 3 miles downstream on the east and west banks of the Congaree.

Safety Considerations

Water conditions on the Lower Saluda River can be Very Dangerous to all river users. Before using this river be aware of:

Many people have drowned, lost boats and equipment, and/or have required rescue because of their negligence regarding the hazards of this river. Consider the following conditions and precautions:

Water Levels

Water flow in the lower Saluda changes all the time. For the latest information contact the following sources:

Water-level Marker System for River Safety

Notice the red, yellow, and blue paint on poles in the lower Saluda River at Saluda Shoals Park, Hope Ferry Landing, and Gardendale Landing and on the bridges at I-20, I-26, and Riverbanks Zoo. These markings present three general water levels (high, medium and low) and the respective conditions to be expected in the lower Saluda River.

An explanation of the marker system is as follows:


For additional information about the Little Pee Dee Scenic River Project contact:

Bill Marshall
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
Telephone: (803) 734-9096
Fax: (803) 734-9200