Congaree Swamp National Monument Travel Guide

  • Weston Lake
    Weston Lake
    by jmpncsu
  • Dwarf Palmetto
    Dwarf Palmetto
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  • Congaree River
    Congaree River
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Congaree Swamp National Monument Things to Do

  • Hiking in Congaree

    Congaree National Park has around 25 miles of trails and these trails provide the best way to see the swampy landscape. The most popular trail is the boardwalks that start from behind the visitor center. The boardwalks are raised off the ground to keep your feet dry as well as protect sensitive vegetation. In the winter of 2013, an ice storm...

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  • Have a Picnic

    There are a few picnic tables in a covered area near the visitors center if you wish to enjoy a meal in the outdoors. Beware during mosquito season, though!

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  • Hiking Trails

    There are several foot trails you can hike through the park. However, some areas are only accessible by boat. I have more details about the trails under my Sports Tips.

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  • Numbers and Guides

    Along the boardwalk trail are numbers that correspond to a guide you can purchase in the visitors center. This will teach you more about life in a floodplain forest. Hope no one has Triskadecaphobia.

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  • Weston Lake

    One of the prettier sights along the trail is Weston Lake. You can get a nice view of Weston Lake from the accessible Boardwalk Trail or take the Weston Lake Trail (not accessible) for a closer look.

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  • Cypress Knees

    These bits of tree that you see growing around the base of the Cypress Trees are called Cypress Knees they can grow up to 7 feet tall and are part of the trees root system. They help the tree obtain nourishment and stabilize the tree in the soggy ground of the floodplain.

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  • Plantlife

    There are also over 80 species of trees in 22 different plant communities in the park. The abundant water supply supports a wide variety of fungi-type plants.

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  • Wildlife

    There is abundant wildlife in the park to include: 170 bird species, 60 reptile and amphibian species, 49 fish species, many species of inescts, and a variety of mammals.

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  • View the Swamp From the Boardwalk

    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.

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  • Visitors Center Museum

    The visitors’ center has several nice displays depicting the history of the area and the plants and animals that live here.

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  • Start at the Visitors Center

    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...

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  • visitor center

    the harry hampton visitor center offers a museum about the history and ecology of the congaree national swamp. they also present a short film about the park. at the visitor center you can get maps of the various trails that run through the park. admission to the park is free.

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  • boardwalk trail

    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...

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  • cypress stand

    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...

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  • cane stand

    pictured is a stand of cane. cane is an indigenous grass that looks like bamboo. cane is common in the wet areas of park.

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  • lob lolly pine

    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.

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  • gut

    pictured is what is refered to as a gut in the congaree swamp. guts are small gullies and sloughs that run through the park. after a flood period water returns back to the congaree river by means of these waterways.

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  • weston lake

    weston lake was once part of the congaree river thousands of years ago. weston lake is known as an "elbow lake" because it was once a curve in the congaree river. weston lake is home to otters, wood ducks, water snakes, and turtles.

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Congaree Swamp National Monument Restaurants

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    Nothing Here

    by Basaic Updated Dec 31, 2015

    There are no food services inside the park; nearby towns have a full range of food services, however there are no decent sized towns too close by. You can, however, save money by buying some food before coming here and having a picnic in one of the nice picnic areas.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

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Congaree Swamp National Monument Transportation

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    How to Get Here

    by Basaic Written Nov 1, 2011

    I am not aware of any public transport to Congaree National Park, you will probably need your own. The nearest airport is in Columbia about 30 or 40 miles away. Congaree is a bit out of the way.

    Congaree Swamp Visitor's Center
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel

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Congaree Swamp National Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • Bugs!

    Congaree National Park is basically a big swamp. About ten times a year, the Congaree River floods and most of the park is underwater. Even in dry times, there are numerous sloughs and swampy areas. All that standing water means lots of mosquitoes. In fact, there is a mosquito meter at the visitor center to warn people what to expect. The best way...

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  • Warnings

    As with all places you should obey all warning signs because they are there to protect you and the park. I found the warning sign for the mosquitoes funny; but take heed they grow big here and can be quite a problem. Also, please place your trash in the appropriate containers.

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  • mosquitos

    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.

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Congaree Swamp National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • Champion Trees

    Congaree National Park is home to the largest intact area of bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States. As such, it has a lot of very big trees. There are around 25 state champions and 6 national champions in the park that are known, and there could be even more that no one knows about yet. When we visited, we managed to find one...

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  • Wildlife

    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...

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  • Congaree Swamp National Monument Hotels

    0 Hotels in Congaree Swamp National Monument

Congaree Swamp National Monument Sports & Outdoors

  • Canoeing and Kayaking

    The only way to see parts of the park is by canoe or kayak. You can rent equipment at several different outfitters in Columbia if you do not have your own. One of the primitive camping areas is only accessible by boat.

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  • Weston Lake Trail

    The Weston Lake Trail circles Weston Lake for a closer view. I only took part of this trail. Water, Good Walking Shoes, Sunscreen, a Hat, MOSQUITO Repellant!

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  • Sims Trail

    The Sims Trail cuts through the area surrounded by the Boardwalk Trail and connects with other trails. Water, Good Walking Shoes, Sunscreen, a Hat, MOSQUITO Repellant!

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Congaree Swamp National Monument General

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Congaree National Park

    by Basaic Written Oct 27, 2011

    Favorite thing: 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

    Visitors Center Boardwalk Trail Lizard Fungi Museum Displays
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park
    • Museum Visits

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Explore Deeper into Congaree Swamp National Monument
Bluff Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Hike the Boardwalk Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Pets are allowed
Warnings and Dangers
pawpaw tree
Things to Do
seeping bog
Things to Do
still
Things to Do
Sights along the Boardwalk
Things to Do
The Boardwalk Loop
Things to Do
Harry Hampton Visitor Center
Things to Do
Weston Lake
Things to Do
Boardwalk trail
Things to Do
Stop at the Visitor Center
Things to Do

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Map of Congaree Swamp National Monument