The highlight of the Congaree River Blue Trail, Congaree National Park is located 20 miles downstream of Columbia on river left. It was designated South CarolinaÍs first national park in 2003. Originally founded as Congaree Swamp National Monument in 1976, the park is home to more than 15,000 acres of wilderness and covers almost 25,000 acres total. Paddlers and hikers alike can enjoy the network of 20 miles of hiking trails within the park and take advantage of opportunities to camp, fish, watch birds, and study nature. Guided walks and canoe trips are offered free of charge.
The park protects the largest contiguous area of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the U.S. The health of this unique and increasingly rare forest ecosystem depends on the periodic seasonal flooding of the Congaree River.