• Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo along Cedar Creek

    Congaree

    National Park South Carolina

Hiking

Boardwalk in Fall

Lower boardwalk in fall

NPS Photo/jt-fineart.com

Fall 2014 Trail Conditions
Park trails provide a way to experience the Congaree wilderness. Any adventure into the wilderness comes with risk. Cell phone service is not reliable in and around Congaree National Park. Anyone hiking in the park should take with them, and know how to use, a true compass (not a phone) and a map. Please plan and prepare for your hike in the park and practice Leave No Trace Principles.

Dogs are permitted on all park trails, on leash. Please pick up after your pet.

Trail Marking Project
A trail marking project is underway to remove a colored blaze system. During the first phase of the project, trees will be marked with blue paint dots. When complete, all trails will be marked with brown and white tabs, with corresponding numbers for each trail.

Note the paint color may not correspond with the trail guide and trail blaze colors listed below. Some trails (indicated below) are marked with brown and white tabs and a number.

Boardwalk (no trail markers)
Roundtrip from Visitor Center: 2.4 miles
Approx. Time: 1.5 hours
Note: portions of the elevated boardwalk are closed due to storm damage. Visitors can take the boardwalk out and back. Repairs schedule to take place in late 2014.
The elevated portion of the boardwalk winds through a diverse old-growth forest. Use the self-guided brochure and listen for woodpeckers hammering away in the tall trees above. The low boardwalk passes through a primeval bald cypress and water tupelo forest. Cypress "knees" protrude from the forest floor. The knees, part of the tree's root system, are thought to help aerate the roots and to help anchor the cypress in the area's wet soil.

Bluff Trail (Trail Marker #1)
Length: 0.7 miles

Approx. Time: 0.5 hours
Blaze Color: Blue
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 (Marker #3)
Roundtrip from Visitor Center: 4.6 miles
Approx. Time: 2.5 hours
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.

 
take a hike

Take a hike!

NPS Photo/jt-fineart.com

Oakridge Trail (Trail Marker # 4)
Roundtrip from Visitor Center: 7.5 miles
Time: 4 hours
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 in and out of the park. Large oaks abound!

River Trail (Trail Marker #5)
Roundtrip from Visitor Center: 10.4 miles
Time: 5.2 hours
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.

King Snake Trail (Trail Marker #6)
Length: 11.1 miles
Time: 5.5 hours
The King Snake Trail explores a remote part of the Congaree wilderness. 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.

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