Located within the 350,000 acre (ACE) Basin Project that represents the largest estuarine resource in the state, the refuge contains exceptional wildlife habitat such as forested wetlands and uplands, brackish and freshwater natural marshes, managed impoundments, marsh islands and pristine estuarine waters. A mosaic of lands and waters, the refuge harbors a myriad of migratory and resident birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish and other wildlife. These diverse habitats and abundant wildlife offer a variety of traditional, outdoor pastimes for those who visit the refuge. Enjoy fishing, hunting, photography, hiking, birding and watching other wildife.
The Grove Plantation historic site is the Refuge headquarters. Steeped in our country’s history, the Grove Plantation manor, built in 1828, is one of only three antebellum mansions in the ACE Basin area to survive the Civil War and, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Close by is the outside kitchen house. Following the decline of the rice culture, the plantation became a hunting retreat in the early 1900's and the kitchen house served as the hunt manager's office. Visit both the mansion and kitchen house to learn more about the history of the Grove plantation and the larger ACE Basin system. The visitor area inside the plantation house has brochures, maps, and a refuge video and is open year-round when refuge staff are on-site.
Do you have a penchant for the cultural history of the coastal South Carolina Lowcountry? Do you like getting outside to experience the wonders of nature and, enjoy outdoor recreation activities that challenge and sharpen your skills and knowledge of the natural world? If so, E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR is your destination.
The refuge offers a variety of recreational activities for people of all ages. Whether it be to visit the historic Grove Plantation House and grounds or to experience outdoor pastimes, the refuge is yours to enjoy. Activities compatible with refuge objectives for wildlife and habitats include hunting, fishing, birdwatching and other wildlife observation, and photography. Fish the rivers, canals and impoundments for largemouth bass and catfish and, use the primitive bow or black powder muzzle loader to hunt white-tailed deer, Walk the dikes and trails to catch views of wildlife such as woodstorks, herons and egrets, ducks, alligators, deer and other upland animals. With historic cultural sites, breathtaking wetland vistas, and an abundance of plants and wildlife, photography is popular for many who visit the refuge.
The extensive diversity of plants and wildlife species brings wildlife observers, photographers, and hikers to the E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR. The refuge Edisto Unit has 3 designated hiking trails, the Goose Pond, Alexander Pond, and Perimeter Pond trails. Goose Pond and Perimeter Pond trails have photo blinds that offer excellent viewing of wildlife on the ponds. There are also open areas to observe wildlife along the impoundments and river banks. About 25 miles of unpaved service roads through rice field dikes, old fields, and upland forest areas are open for hiking and biking year-round.
Consider packing insect repellent throughout the year for protection from mosquitoes, flies, ticks and chiggers.
If you are planning a trip to the refuge and would like to learn more about the resources and history of the ACE Basin, download and print our brochures and maps. When the Grove Manor is open, these materials are available at the Visitor Contact Station. Should you arrive at the Manor and staff are out of the office, a map of the Grove trails will be available ouside the building.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Encompassing over 115,000 acres, South Carolina Lowcountry Refuges Complex is home to four national wildlife refuges located in the coastal area known as the Lowcountry, the low lands extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the western sandhills. These public lands comprise some of the most unique and biologically diverse wetland and upland ecosystems along the Atlantic Coast. Within these landscapes are found one of only 20 Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network sites in North and South America, one of the largest undeveloped estuarine wetland systems remaining along the U.S. Atlantic coast, a critically endangered longleaf pine forest ecosystem and, the only known maritime sandhill community in the state.
Rules and Policies
Visit the Edisto and Combahee Units of the refuge throughout the week. When staff are on-site at the Grove Manor, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, you have access to the contact station first floor where you can pick up brochures, maps and other information on the ACE Basin area. If staff are not on site, grounds and trails remain open to pedestrian access after 4:00 pm until sunset, on weekends and when the front gate is closed. You must park outside the front gate by 4:00 pm.
On occasion, for safety or management reasons, portions of the refuge will be closed. Some of the impoundment dikes and sensitive nesting areas will be closed seasonally to protect endangered species and other wildlife. For safety reasons, during the Edisto Unit scheduled hunts, areas are closed to visitors not participating in hunt activities.
Maintenance Shop and maintenance areas are closed to the public.
The E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR is located about 20 miles southwest of Charleston, only two miles outside of the town of Adams Run. The Refuge Headquarters the Grove Plantation Manor, on the Edisto Unit. Offices are on the second floor of the Manor. Visit the Grove Plantation house to learn more about the antebellum plantation and the larger ACE Basin system. The visitor contact station, located on the first floor of the house, has brochures, maps, and a refuge video and is open year-round when refuge staff are on-site.
The refuge does not charge an entrance fee.
Grounds and trails are open to pedestrian access during daylight hours after 4 pm, on weekends and when the front gate is closed. Visitors must park outside the front gate by 4 pm.
Driving Directions to Refuge Headquarters, Edisto Unit
From Highway 17, take SC 174; Stay on SC 174 through the town of Adams Run; At the intersection with flashing light, turn right onto Willtown Rd/State Rd S-10-55; Approximatelt 2 miles, refuge entrance road/State Rd S-10-346 is on the left. Headquarters is the Grove Plantation House, about 2 miles down the gravel road.
Driving Directions to Refuge Combahee Unit
From Highway 17, take River Rd/State Rd S-7-33; travel 1.9 miles to 1180 River Rd, Yemassee, SC 29945
GPS Coordinates to Combahee Unit: 32.661278, -80.7261197