There are two ways to see the park: By foot and by boat. If you are touring by foot take the Boardwalk Trail. The Boardwalk Trail serves as a great introduction to this floodplain forest, leads to Weston Lake, and connects to other foot trails. The boardwalk is fully accessible.more
You should start your tour of Congaree National Park at the Harry R. E. Hampton Visitors Center. Here you can pick up a brochure of the park, watch the introductory film, get backcountry permits, and gather any other information you need to enhance your enjoyment of the park. The center was named for Harry R. E. Hampton who was instrumental in...more
the boardwalk trail is the best trail to take for a quick overview of the park. this 2.4 mile long elevated trail takes about an hour to tour. at the park is the .7 mile bluff trail, 4.6 mile weston lake loop, the 10 mile river trail, and the 11 mile kingsnake trail. there is also a canoe trail at the park. my following things to do tips is an...more
pictured are cypress knees among a stand of cypress trees in the swamp. cypress knees are part of the trees root system and help aerate the roots and anchor the tree in the wet soil. cypress trees are vary common in the southern u.s. and thrive on lake and river banks and in wet land areas. the tallest cypress tree in the united states is located...more
pictured is a lob lolly pine tree. the congaree national swamp is home to the tallest lob lolly pines in the united states. in most areas of the south old growth lob lolly pines were forested in the 1800's. because of the swamp's remote location these trees were saved from logging.more
As you travel along the boardwalk, it's handy to have the brochure as you can the learn about some of the plant life you'll be seeing. Outside of that, take the time to simply admire the quiet beauty of the swamp. There is a specific and short sidetrip to an overlook of Weston Lake, although as you can see from the pictures, it is a little...more
This is actually one of the nicer trails you will take in the park system. As you leave the visitor center, you start off on the boardwalk trail about 5 feet or so above the ground. We followed the trail counter-clockwise, which means as we walked we gradually got to along the floor of the swamp. We didn't have too many issues with bugs until we...more
After you get to the park and find a place to leave your car, the first stop is the visitor center. Here, they have a number of displays regarding the ecosystems in the park, as well as restrooms, and folks on duty to answer your questions. The center is open starting at 8:30 in the morning, and stays open until 5:00 - 7:00 at night depending on...more
The Weston Lake Loop was a good option for a short hike into the forest.. The trail is supposedly 4.6 miles (it seemed shorter), and its very well marked and easy to follow. It passes through the old growth forest and alongside the lake, passing the northern bank of Cedar Creek along the way back to the visitor center. Although I heard some sounds,...more
pictured is a sign at the visitor center that warns of mosquito activity for the day. my visit to the swamp was on a cool fall day and i did not experience any mosquitos. in the spring and summer they can be almost unbearable. in the summer wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and bring mosquito repellant.more
Pets are allowed on all trails except the boardwalk. They must be leashed. Be alert for hazards associated with a wilderness environment. This includes poison ivy, stinging insects, snakes, and mosquitoes.A South Carolina fishing license is required for fishing. Minnows and fish eggs are prohibited as bait. Fishing is not allowed in Weston Lake....more
There is supposed to be a great deal of wildlife in the park. It makes sense that, the farther you travel into the backcountry, the greater your chances of finding it. I didn't see anything in the forest, although I heard the sounds of something out there. Getting back on the boardwalk, I spotted these two wild boars/pigs. I'm not sure which they were. I was pretty glad to be on the boardwalk instead of in the forest when they came rushing through.
Congaree National Park protects 24,000 acres of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest. Congaree is the largest contiguous area of floodplain/forrest in the US. There used to be 1 million acres in South Carolina alone and 52 million in the Southeast. Congaree is supported by periodic flooding from the Congaree River. This habitat supports a wide variety of plant and animal life. Congaree was just upgraded from a National Monument to a National Park in November 2003. It is located in central South Carolina. One of the highlights of the park are the "champion trees" like the 150 foot tall Bald Cypress trees and the 167 foot tall Loblolly Pines. The best way to see the park is probably taking a canoe along some of the canoe trails. If you cannot do that then there are some hiking trails. I suggest the Boardwalk Trail. In addition to looking up at the tall trees, look down. There is an amazing variety of fungi and mushrooms growing here in the wetlands.
Fondest memory: Hiking the Boardwalk Trail