Paddling at Aiken State Park was a wonderful afternoon diversion. Even with the water level being low throughout the south, we were still able to paddle without any trouble on this small stretch of the Edisto River's South Fork.
You can put in at a small dock provided inside the state park just adjacent to a beautiful picnic area (bring lunch, the atmosphere is great). From there the paddle is about 1.75 miles according to the map. At the takeout you can either paddle back up stream (which we did), walk the short hike back to your car, or set up a shuttle. If you plan to paddle back up, budget 3-4 hours for the trip. Otherwise, it could be anywhere from 1.5-2 hours.
The river seemed more like a creek to me, but I'm not complaining. It is small and winding, width varying from between 15-25 feet. It is a true blackwater river and the river is almost completely covered with shade from the trees that abound there. There is a slight current present, but it is not enough that you would be unable to paddle back up stream (as we did without difficulty).
This section of the river is generally free of obstructions with the one exception of a large tree that has gone down over a section about a mile from the put in. It is only about 18" off the water at the highest point, but we were able to clear it without having to portage. It was a little bit of a pain getting under it coming back up the river, but no big deal.
This is a great paddle for a beginner but also enough fun for an experienced paddler with all the wildlife present. I took someone with me who had never been in a kayak before and survived none the worse for wear. Overall, an enjoyable experience and one I will be sure to repeat.
They rent canoes at the park for $10 a day, but from what I understand they only have three and they are first come first serve.
Just north east of Aiken, SC. Can't miss it.
Just took the maps from terraserver.com