Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park preserves the largest tract of old growth
bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. Located in
South Carolina, the 22,000 acre national park received that
designation in 2003 as the culmination of a grassroots campaign
which had started in 1969. The lush trees growing in this
floodplain forest are some of the tallest in the Eastern U.S.,
forming one of the highest natural canopies remaining in the
world. The Congaree River flows through the park. 15,000 acres
or about 70 percent of the park is designated wilderness area.
Congaree National Park provides a sanctuary for plants and
animals, a research site for scientists, and a place for you to
walk and relax in a tranquil wilderness setting amidst giant
hardwoods and towering pines.
Activities at Congaree National Park include hiking, primitive
camping, bird watching, picnicing, canoeing & kayaking, Ranger
guided interpretive walks and canoe tours, nature study, and
environmental education programs.
Congaree National Park Trails Bluff Trail - Length: 0.7 miles
Bluff trail provides access to the elevated boardwalk and
the campground. The "bluff" is a small rise on the edge of
the floodplain. This trail passes through a young plantation
forest of loblolly pines.
Weston Lake Loop Trail - Length: 4.6 miles
Following a cypress-tupelo slough, this loop traverses an
old-growth forest. As you walk along the northern bank of
Cedar Creek, wildlife, such as river otters, can be spotted
playing in the creek's dark waters.
Oakridge Trail - Length: 7.5 miles
The Oakridge trail passes through a rich stretch of
old-growth forest and is a good choice for those in search
of a moderate hike. Along the way, the trail crosses a
number of "guts" or small creeks that carry floodwaters into
and out of the park. Large oaks abound!
King Snake Trail - Length: 11.1 miles
The King Snake Trail explores a remote part of Congaree. The
trail offers excellent birdwatching, and hikers may spot
deer, raccoons, opossums, and even bobcat tracks. Midway,
the trail passes a large cypress-tupelo slough that seems to
go on forever. On the other side of the trail, giant
cherrybark oaks stand at near-record size.
River Trail- Length: 10.4 miles
This trail takes you to the Congaree River, the lifeblood of
the area's great natural diversity. About ten times a year,
floodwaters from the river cover the park. Because much of
the forest along the River Trail was logged prior to the
park's establishment, the vegetation here gives you a view
of a forest in successional stages.