Congaree National Park is one of our newest National Parks. Established in 2003, Congaree biggest (literally) claim to fame is that it is home to the largest tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the country. Located less than an hour south of Columbia, South Carolina the park remains rather undiscovered on a national scale. Perhaps it's the fact that it is so new but, more likely, it's the fact that it lacks the smack-you-in-your-face scenery of so many other parks. This is a park for the nature lover, a place for the person that just enjoys taking a walk in the woods and enjoying the simple sights and smells of forest life.
We visited in December, from what I've been told the best time of year to do so for the simple reason that the bugs are non-existent. Even so, if you decide to visit you may discover a much different park than what you find in this album. During wet periods much of the forest (and much of the trail system!) is under feet of water! This wasn't the case when we stopped. An extended period of dry weather had left the forest high and dry. The only problem turned out to be the lack of time to explore the trail system of the park. Some of the most impressive trees lie far from the visitor center and daylight just wasn't going to hold on long enough for me to see them. Nonetheless, it was a great visit and a place that I'd love to explore to a greater degree if I'm lucky enough to return!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 33.829604, -80.823737
Hike Length: 4.0 miles
Hike Duration: 1:45
Trailhead Temp: 55'F