Discover Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is a beautiful and unique natural wonder in central South Carolina. The park is home to the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States.

Cypress trees and knees in water in Congaree National Park

Getting to Conagree National Park is easy. It is a short 17-mile drive south of Columbia, South Carolina.

Congaree National Park is known for its biodiversity. Flood waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers ebb and flow, often covering much of the bottomland, creating a variety of habitats for plants and animals. The change in water levels also means each trip to this park is unique.

Small stream of water running between the trees

Congaree National Park – What to Expect

The park offers a range of activities including hiking, camping, canoeing, and wildlife watching.

Owl sitting on a limb in Congaree National Park
Barred Owl

One of the most popular hiking trails in the park is the Boardwalk Loop Trail, which takes visitors on a 2.4-mile journey through the heart of the forest.

Dwarf Palmettos surrounding the trees
Dwarf Palmettos

The trail is pavement and boardwalk, making it accessible to people of all abilities. Hikers will encounter towering trees, meandering creeks, and abundant wildlife along the way.

Wooden boardwalk through the trees in Congaree National Park
Boardwalk Loop Trail

For those who want to get off the beaten path, several other hiking trails in the park offer a more rugged and challenging experience.

Directional signs on the side of the boardwalk

Services in the park are limited. There are campsites available. However, the best bet for other lodging is in nearby Columbia. It is also a convenient place to grab food for a picnic.

Campground and visitor center directional sign

Canoeing or kayaking is a unique way to explore the park’s many waterways, including the Congaree River and Cedar Creek. Visitors can bring their own canoe or kayak or rent from local outfitters.

Cypress trees surrounded by water in Congaree National Park

Wildlife watching is also a popular activity in the park, with the chance to spot a wide range of animals including river otters, white-tailed deer, owls, and alligators.

Close up picture a barred owl
Barred Owl

Visitors can learn about the park’s history at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, which offers exhibits and educational programs.

Wooden building which is the Harry Hampton Visitor Center in Congaree National Park
100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061

And, of course, watching the park movie is a must!

Display about the trees in the visitor center

Visiting Congaree National Park is an excellent opportunity to explore the beautiful wilderness of South Carolina. The park’s diverse ecosystem offers visitors a unique and immersive experience. Whether you have a couple of hours or several days, Congaree will make you feel as if you are worlds away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Check out these other uncrowded national parks: 7 of the Least Visited National Parks

1 thought on “Discover Congaree National Park”

  1. This is a great post with beautiful photos! We are planning a stop here in the fall, on our way to Myrtle Beach. It looks beautiful! And different from the other parks we’ve visited.

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