Congaree National Park

South Carolina, United States of America

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About Congaree National Park

The Congaree National Park is 107 km2 (41.3 sq mi) of floodplain forest in South Carolina. It was designated a national park in 2003. Up to ten times a year, the Congaree and Wateree Rivers flood their banks, drenching the land with nutrients and sediments which have encouraged the growth of some of the tallest cypress trees in the world. 

Other trees include the loblolly pine, water hickory, sweet gum, tupelo and laurel oak: all species that tend to grow tall, and together they form one of the tallest temperate forest canopies in the world. Draped with Spanish moss, the area is green and lush.


The park is most visited in spring, summer and autumn, when the best of the foliage is out. Classed as a sub-tropical climate, the atmosphere is hot and humid during the summer months with every possibility of a mid-afternoon shower; and only slightly cooler in other months.

For exploring the territory on foot, there’s an elevated path through the floodplain, the Boardwalk Loop, designed to protect delicate plant life and fungi, and this gives access to Weston Lake and other clearly marked trails through the park. But the swamp-like territory is perhaps best seen by canoe. There is a 32 km (20 mi) marked trail on Cedar Creek, allowing the closest views of the largest intact expanse of bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the south eastern US.


The area is also a globally recognised Important Bird Area, with at least 195 species residing some or all of the year there, including pileated woodpeckers and barred owls. Visitors also stand a chance of spotting white-tailed deer, squirrels and otters. Snakes are very common, most harmless, but four venomous species make the park their home: the common cottonmouth, the copperhead, the canebrake rattler and the rare coralsnake. While these tend to avoid humans, it’s as well to keep an eye out when exploring this unique area.

South Carolina, United States of America
Latitude: 33.792416, Longitude: -80.755348