Angel Oak, Johns Island © Lil Rose
Angel Oak (or Scarlet's Tree) is thought to be the oldest existing entity, either living or man-made, east of the Rocky Mountains. This extraordinary live oak is over 1,400 years old and, while not very tall, it does boast a vast canopy, in excess of 17,000 square feet (1,600 sq m). Angel Oak has survived countless hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, including severe damage from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The tree's forest home may have been one of the islands' many lumber sources for ship-building back in the 18th century, and nowadays the park and the tree are owned by the city of Charleston.
The tree's name doesn't refer to any angelic connections. Rather, the Angel estate, a family estate, used to own the land, and the tree was named after them. The Angel Tree features in various local legends and has been written into several stories and books. Keeping the tree safe from encroaching urban development has lately become an issue, although so far it is still located deep enough in the forest to be safe.
Address: 3688 Angel Oak Road, Johns Island