Laurel Hill County Park

When SIL Maryann visited, we explored nearby Laurel Hill County Park, which is a beautiful 745-acre tract of woods and creeks with trails that circle the whole and some trails that form loops off this main trail.

We wanted to walk to the avenue of “live oaks” that once led to the Laurel Hill plantation house–which is believed to have been destroyed by fire some time after the Civil War. The avenue is marked by the black-slashed line on the bottom left of the above map–to the right of the white trail. But, here’s the start of the trail at the trail head, which you can see on the above map.

The avenue of live oaks was about a mile down the trail and was in an area that has been preserved as a field. It takes 200 or so years for the live oaks to grow tall enough to form a “ceiling” where they meet in the middle.

Here was our first view as we approached. Look, too, at the gorgeous sky. There was not a cloud in sight all day.

And here is the avenue stretching out to the left, with all the lovely grey moss draping the limbs with their long garlands.

Looking down the avenue.

These old live oaks are home to many other plants which live on them, hopefully symbiotically.

Here’s a better picture of one of the limbs, which is covered with a layer of green growth.

I found information on live oaks at the Smithsonian Gardens web site: “The Live Oak” ( Here’s a quote–and I didn’t know live oaks were a keystone species:

“The Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana), also known simply as the live oak, gets its name from the fact that, unlike other oaks, it doesn’t lose its leaves in the autumn. Live oaks are native to the Southeastern coast of the United States, extending from Virginia to Florida and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma. The live oak is a keystone species that serves as the backbone of its ecosystem. It provides shade and furnishes a habitat for hundreds of living organisms, including mammals, birds, insects, and other plants.”

I still have not seen the very famous live oak, “Angel Oak,” on John’s Island. A visit there is on my list. It’s HUGE AT 65 feet high, and estimates place it at 400-500 years old.

We passed a steady number of people using this trail, many with their dogs, so I don’t think I would feel unsafe using it by myself, though the trail loop does get a long way from the parking area.

Granddaughter Mina sent me this picture of the sunset last Monday night, taken from the dunes just back of the beach on Isle of Palms.