Congaree National Park, in South Carolina, is a truly unique place. Each time I visit a national park for the first time, I find myself thinking “I have never seen anything like this before.” I had this exact thought as I walked along the boardwalk trail in Congaree.
My visit took place after the flood waters receded from beneath the boardwalks and before the green goodness began to fill the forest floor. That said, the new green leaves on the trees were a refreshing sign of spring.
I spoke to several locals and park rangers, asking the best time to make a second visit. June, October and November were the months recommended. June for ample greenery, with October and November being ideal for fall foliage.
Prepare to see many large, healthy snakes and spiders during your visit! They are happy inhabitants of the forest and water.
- Bluff Trail – the bluff is a small elevated area on the edge of the floodplain. The trail is .7 miles in length.
- Boardwalk – a 2.4 mile, round-trip walk along an established boardwalk. This easy trail takes you through the forest, beneath the canopy of the large trees.
- King Snake Trail – this 11.1 mile hike will take you to a remote area of the forest and park. Wildlife and birds are abundant along this trail.
- Oakridge Trail – if you are looking for large Oak trees, this is your trail! This is a moderate 7.5 mile hike.
- River Trail – another option for a longer hike, at 10.4 miles. This trail takes you to the Congaree River
- Weston Lake Loop Trail – this 4.6 mile trail takes you through an old-growth forest.
- Canoeing and Kayaking – explore the park and forest by boat. Free guided tours are offered and fill up quickly.
- Camping – there are two campgrounds (Bluff and Longleaf), as well as backcountry opportunities.
- Fishing – permitted in all areas of the park, except the Weston Lake overlook and the 100 feet surrounding the overlook.
I am hoping to make my way back to Congaree to photograph the fall foliage during November. I would love to take a guided canoe tour as well!
Have you ever been to Congaree National Park? I would love to hear about your trip and recommendations for visiting the park!