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Boardwalk Loop Trail

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Congaree National Park, located in central South Carolina, protects an area of outstanding biodiversity - featuring charismatic wildlife, including owls, bobcats, otters, and feral pigs, and a forest of giant undisturbed trees (25 of which are champion trees),making the bottomland old growth forest the tallest temperate hardwood forest in the world.

Exploring the bottomland forest, a type of swamp, is easy, educational, and rewarding along the Boardwalk Loop Trail this 2.4 mile self-guided trek takes you along elevated sections and low sections of boardwalk for incomparable immersion into the cypress-tupelo flat.

Start your boardwalk trek at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center (pick up a self-guiding brochure) along the first of the elevated sections pass through an archway and descend into the bottomland, passing by holly trees as you make your way to the low boardwalk amid the cypress.

Numbered signs along the boardwalk correspond to highlights in the self-guided brochure have fun learning about dorovan muck, cypress knees, water tupelo, switch cane, loblolly pine, palmetto, and the cultural history of the area.

As you hike amid the ancient giants, watch for wildlife lucky visitors will perhaps get a rare glimpse of a coyote, bobcat, or feral pig, while almost all boardwalk explorers are guaranteed a sighting of a golden silk orb-weaver spider, an anole, skink or lizard, and most likely a turtle or even a snake(especially near the Weston Lake Overlook).

The last portion of the hike takes you back to the Visitor Center, with a stop at the scenic Weston Lake Overlook, along the last elevated section of the boardwalk this palmetto filled area is the perfect place to watch for birds, particularly owls, pileated woodpeckers, and hawks.

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