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Congaree Trail Information

Boardwalk Loop

EASY  This is an excellent "leg stretcher" of 2.3 miles. Divided into two distinct sections; the elevated boardwalk and the "low" boardwalk. This is by far the most used path in the entire monument area. Frequented by "birdwatchers", the boardwalk is truly a great showcase for  the 160 + species of birds that make their home here. Several times a year the Congaree overflows into the floodplain. During these times the elevated boardwalk is the only way to view this bottomland forest without getting wet. Numbers painted on the rail,  point out the features that make this forest unique. Using literature from the ranger station allows for a very informative self guided tour. All hikes that begin inside the Congaree National Monument must begin here. This hike passes through a diverse forest of Bald Cyprus and Water Tupelo. 

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Bluff Trail

VERY EASY  This is a "shortie" of one half of a mile that connects the Bluff Campsite with the boardwalk. It passes through an area that the park service is practicing a controlled burn policy. Controlled burning is an excellent way of restoring a forest under story. After burning the tangled mess of vines and poisonous plants, the recovery is stunning. A beautiful, green forest will be the result as the under story grows back. Think of controlled burning as a "Spring Cleaning" for the forest! This hike passes through a stand of young Loblolly Pines. 

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Weston Lake Loop

EASY Another leg stretcher of 2.9 miles, for those that have the time or energy to hike deep into the backcountry. This trail takes you past two very beautiful "bottomland" lakes. Hiking past Weston Lake, Cedar Creek and Wise Lake increase the chances for great wildlife sightings. On a recent trip I spotted Heron, River Otters and Wild Boar. I couldn't get a photo of the Otter because he playfully played "Cat and Mouse" with me. After waiting 45 minutes, I finally packed up and left. As soon as I stowed the camera, he poked his head up from beneath the surface! Combined with the Boardwalk Loop,  this hike is a total of 4.6 miles. 

Oakridge Trail

MODERATE This 3.7 mile loop take you into an area that has, you guessed it, Old Growth Oak and Beech trees. This trail is a little further off of the beaten path and boasts large stands of old growth deciduous trees. Fewer hikers make it this far off of the boardwalk so it is possible to have quiet, uninterrupted hike here. This is in the heart of the Old Growth area and is a sight to behold. After leaving the Weston Lake Loop, the old hardwood giants quickly come  into view. A hike here in combination with the boardwalk is 6.2 miles round-trip.

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Kingsnake Trail

MODERATE Solitude is the keyword here. This is the most secluded of all trails here and it is very likely that you will not see another soul on this trail. The trail is littered with blow downs but that is a small price to pay for solitude. There is a quiet hush here that is usually found in the more remote mountain regions. If you really want to get away from it all, this trail is for you. The lightly used trail is a little more difficult to find, however, the frequent trail markers will keep you on track. Many old growth trees of all types can be found here and wild Boer sightings are almost guaranteed. This trail terminates at South Cedar Creek Rd and is a good "two car hike". You may not want to back-track through the blow-downs. The total length of this trail is 3.7 miles. In combination with the boardwalk this is a 5.5 mile hike, if you have a car waiting at Cedar Creek Rd.

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River Trail

MODERATE Aside from the Boardwalk and Weston Lake Loop, this is the third most traveled path in the Monument area. This 5 mile loop showcases everything that makes the Congaree National Monument a special place. If you have never hiked here before this is a must see. The trees on this trail are relatively young, however, most are hardwood. As you hike on this trail, you will notice extensive damage from the Wild Boers. Because we have been in a three year rain deficit, the Congaree River has not been overflowing it's banks normally. Before these dry years, the river would flood 80% of the area ten times a year. In recent years there has been very little flooding. As a result, the Boer population has become extremely large. The non native Boers have no natural predators, so flooding is the only way to keep the population down. Wild Boers are not good swimmers. The river itself is very pretty and very wide. As you hike along the river on the trail, there are numerous side trails that take you to excellent vantage points that allow great views of the river. The total trail mileage with the Boardwalk trail is 6.5 miles.

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