4 Best Hikes in Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park Overview

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.

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

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Congaree National Park

Boardwalk Loop
Lower Boardwalk Trail, Congaree National Park (5)
Lower Boardwalk Trail, Photo by Ken Lund

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 mile loop
  • No elevation gain
  • Easy
Weston Lake Loop
Lower Boardwalk Trail, Congaree National Park (14)
Weston Lake Loop, Photo by Ken Lund

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′ elevation gain
  • Easy
River Trail 
Congaree River
Congaree River, Photo by Congaree National Park

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 mile loop
  • 100′ elevation gain
  • Easy
Kingsnake Trail 
Kingsnake Trail, Photo by Hunter Desportes

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′ elevation gain
  • Easy

Featured Image: Congaree Forestscape, Photo by Ben Cappellacci

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