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Discover the Wild Congaree National Park on Your Next Carolina Camping Adventure
Congaree National Park is a rare gem located in South Carolina. Most of the park is designated wilderness, meaning it is a prime place to be explored by foot or canoe. The old-growth floodplain forest is the largest forest of its kind remaining on the continent, making it a wonderfully unique place to visit. It is rich in biodiversity with a wide array of plant and animal life, has over 20 miles of hiking trails, wonderful canoeing or kayaking opportunities, and is a great place to just relax and get in touch with nature.
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Winter at Congaree National Park can be cool while summers get hot. Spring and fall tend to be nice and mild. There are no fees to enter the park and it is open year round. Congaree National Park is a very unique piece of America’s natural history. Until the mid 1800’s, more than 52 million acres of floodplain forests existed throughout the southeastern United States. Heavy logging and human activity has vastly reduced this number. Established in 1976 as a national monument, it became a national park in 2003. Congaree National Park protects 22,000 acres of floodplain forests. The trees tower above the ground reaching record heights. Creeks, rivers, oxbow lakes and sloughs allow for an extensive aquatic ecosystem. There are 22 different plant communities within the park. The Congaree River and Wateree River flood the floodplains periodically. This park is a beautiful and unique place ripe for exploration.
Most of Congaree National Park is established as designated wilderness, meaning most exploration of the park is done by foot or canoe. With over 20 miles of hiking trails and a 2.4 mile boardwalk loop trail, there is plenty of space to explore. The boardwalk loop trail is wheelchair accessible and also provides access to Weston Lake and many other hiking trails. Guided walks are offered free of charge. If you plan to explore the park via canoe, you’ll need to bring your own. You may also rent a canoe or kayak in the Columbia, S.C. area. A marked canoe path allows you to explore the wonders of Cedar Creek. If you want to partake in a guided canoe tour, canoes are provided. While paddling under some of the largest trees in North America you will most likely come across some of the park’s natural inhabitants, ranging from birds and reptiles to river otters, raccoons, and deer. Fishing is a popular activity within the park. A valid South Carolina fishing license is required and all South Carolina fishing laws apply within the park. Fishing is allowed everywhere in the park but Weston Lake. Regardless of how you decide to see the park, it is a trip you will never forget.
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