Backcountry Camping

Bald Cypress tree with knees
Immense trees like the Bald Cypress tree above are a common sight in Congaree's backcountry.

NPS Photo/

In order to camp in the backcountry you must have a valid permit. To request a free permit, please email e-mail us.
We recommend requesting your permit at least 48 hours in advance.

Backcountry Camping at Congaree

Camping in the backcountry is a great way to experience the wilderness at Congaree. The park's backcountry can be reached either by foot or by canoe or kayak. But before you head out on your backcountry wilderness adventure, here are a few things that you should know before beginning:

  • All land on the left bank of Cedar Creek between Bannister Bridge Canoe Access and Cedar Creek Canoe Access that is within the park boundary is designated as frontcountry. Camping in the frontcountry is limited to the Longleaf and Bluff Campgrounds only. All other sections of the park are designated as backcountry.
  • Camping in the backcountry requires a free permit, which can be obtained at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Please remember to retain your copy of the permit after filling it out, and keep it with you at all times during your stay.
  • There are no designated campsites in the backcountry. Campers may select any suitable place, as long as they remain 100 feet away from Cedar Creek, Tom's Creek, Bates Old River, and Wise Lake. It is advisable to check the river forecast prior to your visit to ensure that a rise in water levels is not forecast.
  • Selected campsites are limited to 6 campers and 3 structures per site and must be no closer than 300 feet from the next closest site. Hammocks are not considered as structures, but the 6 person limit per site remains.
  • Open fires are not permitted in the backcountry. Campers are permitted the use of a backpacking stove for cooking.
  • Please follow the principles of Leave No Trace and make sure to pack all trash, equipment, and personal belongings out with you at the end of your stay.
  • The Ten Essentials

Last updated: August 25, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

100 National Park Road
Hopkins, SC 29061


(803) 776-4396

Contact Us