• Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo along Cedar Creek


    National Park South Carolina

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  • Trail Conditions

    Trails have been adversely impacted by an active flood season and winter ice storms. They are littered with debris and many markers are missing. All hikers should use a compass and map when hiking in the park. A trail marking project is underway. More »

  • Paddling Conditions

    Numerous portages exist along Cedar Creek. Please plan accordingly when preparing to paddle in the park and be sure you are prepared for a safe trip.


Boardwalk in Fall

Lower boardwalk in fall

NPS Photo/jt-fineart.com

Late Spring 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. Please plan and prepare for your hike in the park and practice Leave No Trace Principles.

Trails have been adversely impacted by an active flood season and recent winter storms. The trails have been washed over by flood waters and they are littered with debris, making them very difficult to navigate. Trail markers (blazes) are missing or incomplete on several park trails. Anyone hiking in the park should take with them, and know how to use, a true compass (not a phone) and a map.

Only experienced hikers with orientering experience should venture out to the following trails:

River Trail
Oak Ridge Trail
King Snake Trail

The Bluff Trail, the Sims Trail, the Weston Lake Loop Trail and the Boardwalk should still be navigable by even the beginner or inexperienced hiker.

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

Spring/Summer 2014 Trail Marking Project
The park is working to remark the trails so that they are easier to navigate. During the first phase of the trail marking project, tress will be marked witih blue paint dots. Note the paint color may not correspond with the trail guide and trail blaze colors listed below.

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 summer 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
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
Roundtrip from Visitor Center: 4.6 miles
Approx. Time: 2.5 hours
Blaze Color: Yellow
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
Roundtrip from Visitor Center: 7.5 miles
Time: 4 hours
Blaze Color: Red
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
Time: 5.5 hours
Blaze Color: Orange
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.

River Trail
Roundtrip from Visitor Center: 10.4 miles
Time: 5.2 hours
Blaze Color: White
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.

Did You Know?

Conservationist Harry Hampton

Harry Hampton began the initial drive to save the Congaree back in the early 50's by using his column in "The State", South Carolina's main newspaper, entitled "Woods & Waters"?