Thursday, June 11, 2015

Congeree National Park: Hopkins, South Carolina

Fred and I left South Coastal Georgia in mid May. we traveled North and West though South Carolina stopping for a couple of days in Columbia.
On our way into the city we saw signs for the Congeree National Forest and decided to visit and do a little hiking.
South Carolina's Congeree National Park is located near Columbia, at the convergence of the Congeree and Wateree River watersheds.   It's 2600 acres of protected old growth bottomland hardwood forest is the largest in the United States.  The park is a wetland ecosystem. it is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in the eastern part of our country.

Fred with a giant Loblolly Pine

These giants include Loblolly Pine, Bald Cypress and Hickory.   other trees found in the forest include Tupelo, Water Ash, Red Maple,  Sweetgum and several varieties of Oak.

Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo
The area that includes the national Forest escaped logging in the early 1900's due to its difficult terrain and very wet location. It's significance was recognized in the 1950's. Through the work of conservationists and public campaigns it was designated by Congress as a National Park in 2003.
We enjoyed walking among them on designated trails that included elevated walkways and boardwalks allowing us to enjoy the peaceful old growth wetland without disturbing the ecosystem or getting our feet wet.
Wildlife that we saw included lizards, squirrels, and turtles.
Turtles in Weston Lake
Some of the trails and a portion of the boardwalk were closed due to recent storm damage. We could only imagine the destruction that must occur when one of those enormous trees falls.

We were able to walk the entire Lower Boardwalk Trail and part of the Upper Boardwalk Trail out to the overview of Weston Lake, then looped back and returned to the Visitors Center on the Sim's Trail. The 4 1/2 mile walk was not strenuous. it was a pleasure to spend the hot sunny day enjoying the shade and cooler temperatures provided by an ancient canopy of hardwood forest.


  1. I never knew this park existed until now, Bonnie. Thanks for the tour!


  2. We would have missed it Jim had we not seen the road sign. Fred and I have had conversations with docents at some of the lesser known parks about their lack of visibility. It is a great source of frustration to them that most of the promotion of National Parks is done to the parks that are already widely photographed and shared.