What can I do if I have 1-2 hours to spend in the park?
We recommend visitors walk on the 2.6 mile Boardwalk Trail. A free, self-guided boardwalk tour brochure is available at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, and wooden numbers along the boardwalk trail match with numbers in the brochure to help you learn a little more about the natural and cultural history of the park.
Is fishing allowed in the park?
Yes, fishing is permitted in the park for those who possess a valid South Carolina fishing license. Those fishing in the park are required to follow all state regulations regarding size and creel limits.
What is the difference between a floodplain and a swamp?
A floodplain, also known as a bottomland, is a low-lying area along a stream or river that will periodically be covered by water throughout the year. A swamp is an area that has significant areas of water flowing over it throughout the entire year. While a swamp may also be part of a floodplain, a floodplain will not always be a swamp.
Where is the best place to see big trees?
You can find awe-inspiring trees by just taking a short walk on the 2.6 mile Boardwalk Trail, or, if you are more adventurous, you can find them along hiking or paddling trails throughout the park.
How tall are the trees in the park?
The average canopy height of the forest here is over 100 feet tall, and it contains the highest concentration of champion-sized trees anywhere in North America. The tallest tree in the park is the National Champion loblolly pine, which when last measured, is 170 feet tall and has a circumference of over 15 feet.
Can you use bikes on park trails?
Bikes are not permitted on any of the hiking trails at Congaree National Park. Bikes are only permitted on the paved entrance road leading from Old Bluff Road to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.
Are dogs allowed on any trails?
Yes, dogs are allowed on park trails. All dogs must be kept on a leash (no more than 6 feet in length) and always be under your control. Please do not leave your dog unattended along park trails, vehicles, or campgrounds. Pet owners are responsible to clean up all their pet’s waste. Pet waste bags are available outside of the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.
Does the park rent canoes or kayaks?
No, the park does not rent canoes or kayaks. Canoes or kayaks can be rented through outfitters in the city of Columbia.
Does the park sell or issue America the Beautiful park passes?
Congaree National Park sells and issues America the Beautiful National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands passes on a limited basis at this time. This includes the Annual, Senior Annual, Military Annual, Senior Lifetime, Military Lifetime, 4th Grade, and Access passes. Only credit is accepted.
Please call (803) 776-4396 the day you intend to visit to confirm that staff will be available to sell or issue passes. Staff availability cannot be guaranteed.
Please note that Annual passes can be purchased at any national park site with an entrance fee, or by one of the following methods:
Military, Senior or Access passes can be obtained by visiting any national park site that charges an entrance fee.
For Columbia area residents, you may be able to purchase or obtain a pass by visiting the U.S. Forest Service office located at 4931 Broad River Road Columbia, SC. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Please call (803) 561-4000 in advance to make sure that passes are available.