Located in Richland County, South Carolina, Congaree National Park features the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States. Set on about 26,000 acres, the park received its official designation in 2003.
The park offers hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing and kayaking opportunities. There are a variety of trails, rated easy, moderate or difficult based on the length and terrain. Trails range 0.6–12 miles. The park lies within the floodplain of the Congaree River, making it subject to periodic flooding. With about 80 percent of the park lying within the floodplain, many trails can become flooded during these times. Be sure to check the weather and safety conditions ahead of your visit.
Wildlife viewing is a popular draw to the park. Many different types of animals call Congaree home. Expect to see wild pigs, amphibians, owls, cranes, alligators, crawfish, wild dogs and other wildlife. Congaree is particularly known for its summertime firefly displays. For about two weeks in mid-May through mid-June at dusk, visitors view synchronous flashing while fireflies search for a mate.
Mosquitoes are prevalent in the park mid-spring through mid-fall. Apply bug spray before arriving to the park to avoid disturbing the natural ecosystem with chemicals.
The park is open daily with the exception of select holidays. The park’s visitor center is open daily, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Ample parking is available by the visitor’s center. There is no fee to enter the park during normal operating hours; fees may apply during summertime firefly displays.
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