With over 26,000 acres (of which 15,000+ is designated wilderness) and some 50 miles of hiking and canoeing trails, Congaree National Park is a place I've longed to explore to a greater degree since my first visit back in 2011. Home to one of the worlds largest concentrations of 'champion' trees, Congaree protects a huge swath of old growth Atlantic Coastal Forest. Congaree National Park is one of our newest National Parks. Established in 2003, it's located less than an hour south of Columbia, South Carolina and still 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.
Alas, on this visit as on my last I arrived too late in the day to do little more than walk the 2.5-mile boardwalk loop adjacent to the visitor center. Not that the boardwalk isn't nice. Travelling through a very diverse woodland comprised of upland pines, bottomland hardwoods, and cypress-tupelo floodplains the loop gives a wonderful taste of the Congaree landscape. Wildlife is abundant (particularly if wild birds are your thing) and the visitor center is about as nice as any National Park has to offer. So, once again I thouroughly enjoyed my visit however brief it once again was. Next time...next time I vow to explore deeper into this mysterious and fascinating natural wonderland...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 33.829604, -80.823737
Hike Length: 3.0 miles
Hike Duration: 1:45
Trailhead Temp: 65'F