4 Best Day Hikes in Congaree National Park


Below are the 4 best day hikes in Congaree National Park! Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain to create a unique biodiversity just south of Columbia, SC. Congaree National Park isn’t the hikers paradise but there are a few trails you should check out to see this old growth forest up close. Official Website.

StateSouth Carolina
Nearest Metro AreaColumbia, SC
Area Size26,276 acres
EstablishedNovember 10, 2003
Hiking Trails44 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Congaree National Park

1. Boardwalk Loop

This elevated trail takes hikers on a self-guided loop around the Congaree Swamp. You’ll pass Weston Lake, an old channel of the Congaree River. The trailhead is located next to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.

  • 2.3 miles – Loop
  • No elevation gain
  • Easy
Lower Boardwalk Trail, Congaree National Park (5)
Lower Boardwalk Trail, Photo by Ken Lund

2. Weston Lake Loop

Beginning from the middle of the Boardwalk Loop, this trail offers great views of Cedar Creek where hikers can see river otters and other wildlife. The trailhead can be accessed from the Boardwalk Trail on the northeast side of Weston Lake.

  • 4.6 miles – Loop
  • 100′ gain
  • Easy
Lower Boardwalk Trail, Congaree National Park (14)
Weston Lake Loop, Photo by Ken Lund

3. River Trail 

This trail is much less traveled and leads you to the Congaree River. When the water is low, a sandbar can be seen in the river. The trailhead can be accessed after walking about 1.5 on the Boardwalk, Weston Lake, and Oak Ridge trails.

  • 10.4 miles – Loop
  • 100′ gain
  • Easy
Photo by Fredlyfish4, distributed under a CC-BY-SA-4.0 license

4. Kingsnake Trail 

This trail explores a remote part of the park and is popular for bird watchers because of the vegetation and closeness to Cedar Creek. This trail also features many large hardwoods standing over 100′ tall. The trailhead is located east of the park entrance on South Cedar Creek road at the marked canoe put-in.

  • 11.1 miles – Out and back
  • 100’gain
  • Easy
Kingsnake Triail, Photo by Hunter Desportes

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Featured Image: Congaree National Park, Photo by Blake Lewis

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