Congaree National Park is an ecosystem in its own right, and it is famous for its dense forest which has become a hiker’s paradise.
There aren’t many national parks in the eastern half of the United States – unlike the western half or Alaska. To the east there are few famous national parks except those like Acadia National Park in Maine and the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. Congaree National Park is the only national park in the southern United States between the Smokey Mountains and the Florida Everglades.
The park preserves the largest expanse of ancient lowland deciduous forest that remains in the country. These trees are among the tallest in the eastern United States and form one of the tallest temperate deciduous forest canopies in the world.
About Congaree National Park in South Carolina
Although it is in the eastern United States (where most of the population lives) and there are not many other national parks in this region, it is the 10th national park. the least visited. It’s odd because the park has an astonishing amount of biodiversity and is a great place to see how the region once was.
- Cut: 41 square miles or 106 square kilometers
- Annual visitors: 160,000 (in contrast to 12.5 million visitors to the Great Smokey Mountains)
- Loblolly pine: Has the tallest (169 feet) and tallest 42 cubic meters) of these trees
The park sits on a floodplain that carries nutrients and sediments that nourish the ecosystem and help support the lush forests that rise mightily into the canopy. It is a wild and peaceful setting, ideal for walking and relaxing. It is perfect for hiking, fishing, boating, and camping.
The forest has been home to many Americans throughout its history, including runaway slaves and Revolutionary War militias.
Visit of the park
The park is always open – it’s open 24/7, 365 days a year.
- Cost: $ 0.00 Admission is free
- The Internet: Public Wi-Fi is at Harry Hampton Visitor Center and Breezeway
The park enjoys a humid subtropical climate. The winters are mild while the summers are very hot and humid. The park is open year round, but the best time to visit is in the spring and fall. This is when the temperatures are the most pleasant and insects are not the problem they are in summer.
- Best time to visit: Spring and fall
Keep in mind that this is a floodplain and does not need to rain in Congaree for it to be flooded. There just needs to be rainfall in the northern Appalachians.
The park has a number of primitive campsites and is ideal for exploring by kayak. It is also a popular place to watch firefly shows on summer evenings. As you explore the national park, keep your eyes peeled for possums, river otters, turtles, deer, and even alligators. For those who want to see alligators, walking the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades virtually guarantees seeing alligators. There are many hiking trails including:
- Serpent King Trail: 11.1 miles
- Weston Lake Loop Trail: 4.6 miles
- Oakridge Trail: 7.5 miles
- Bluff Trail: 0.7 thousand
- Loop of the walk: 2.4 miles – Elevated walkway through the marshy environment
Kayaking and canoeing in the park
One of the main ways to explore this national park is by kayaking. The park has a 15- or 20-mile marked canoe trail along Cedar Creek. It is one of the must-sees for those who really want to explore the park. Waterways run through much of the primeval rainforest with the tallest trees on this side of the country. Visit the Visitor Center for tips and advice on exploring the waterway.
- Equipment rental: There is no equipment rental in the park, bring your own or rent it from nearby Columbia
- Canoe trips: There are a limited number of free guided canoe tours (from March 1)
- Cedar Creek Canoe Trail: Length 15 to 20 miles
Some of the nearby outfitters are:
There is no accommodation in the park, but the state capital of Columbia is only 18 miles away. There is a full range of accommodation there.
If one wants to spend the night in the park, then camping is the way to go. There are both frontcountry and backcountry campgrounds – a reservation is required to stay at the frontcountry campgrounds or have a valid permit for the hinterland. There are two frontcountry campgrounds:
- Long Leaves Campground: $ 10.00 per night for a regular tent site, reservation only
- Bluff Campground: $ 5.00 per night for a regular tent site, reservation only
- Camping in the hinterland: To free
According to the National Park Service, RVs and trailers aren’t allowed in national park campgrounds – only tents and apparently hammocks. If one has an RV, there are a number of South Carolina state parks that accommodate RVs in the nearby area (as well as a number of private campgrounds outside of the park. national.
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