Congaree National Park | South Carolina

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

This year, in August, the National Park Service is celebrating 100 years. This centennial is an excuse to try and visit as many National Parks this year as we possibly can. In South Carolina, that meant that we got to spend a day hiking at Congaree National Park.

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park the “Home of Champions” and is the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain, carrying nutrients and sediments that nourish and rejuvenate this ecosystem and support the growth of national and state champion trees. Congaree National Park | NPS

Congaree National Park

Congaree is hot, humid, and just all around a moist and sticky place. I am incredibly allergic to mosquito bites so I was a bit nervous heading out into forest, but felt slightly more at-ease when I saw their Mosquito Meter set to a bearable low level. Thankfully, I am happy to report that I left Congaree National Park with exactly zero bug bites.

Congaree National Park

All the trails begin along this boardwalk. The path then branches out so you can head in the direction of the trail of your choice. Austin and I opted for the River Trail. Congaree’s River Trail is a moderately difficult 10 mile loop.

This trail leads to the Congaree River, the lifeblood of the park’s great natural diversity. Approximately ten times a year, the river overflows its banks and pulses water throughout the bottomland forest. When the river is low, a large sandbar may be visible. Much of the forest along the river was logged prior to the park’s establishment and vegetation here is notably denser than that of other trails. Congaree Trail Guide | NPS

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

The foliage was so lush and green. After growing up in Southern California, I still find myself in awe and amazed by greenery and flourishing plant life.

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Once the boardwalk ended, we felt like the hike had finally begun.

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

This way for the River Trail!

Congaree National Park

Narrow pathways and growth as high as my waist made this hike unlike any I had done before.

Congaree National Park

Not too long after exiting the boardwalk, we encountered this massive felled tree. All of the roots were exposed and it was definitely one of the most fascinating parts of the hike. I felt so incredibly tiny standing next to it.

Outfit Details: Tech tee – Under Armour | Chambray shirt – old | Shorts – old | Backpack – Fjallraven Kanken | New Balance 990 Running Shoe – made in the USA | Headband – Sweaty Bands

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Sunflower seeds have become our favorite hiking snack to much on while we walk.

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

When you’re on a 10 mile hike, you walk for a long time. Since it was mostly a flat, leisurely walk,  Austin and I found a lot to talk about as we journeyed on. The conversations we have while we hike are some of my favorites and I am so happy to be married to my best friend who loves exploring the outdoors just as much as I do.

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

We finally made it to the Congaree River! For something called the River Trail, we had expected to see a lot more of the river, but this quick visit made us smile and was the perfect time to pause in the midst of the hike before the trail looped us back toward the Visitor’s Center.

Congaree National Park

The best hikes end with muddy knees. So either this was a fantastic hike or I just don’t know how to stay on my feet. Let’s go with both.

Congaree National Park

Once we had finished the hike we were tired, sweaty, and hungry. We washed the mud off our legs and went out for a late lunch. What is it about hiking that makes food taste so much more amazing after? Anyway, our day at Congaree National Park was a splendid adventure and we’re so glad that we were able to cross it off of our National Parks To Visit List. Excited to see which National Park is going to be next!

Have you been to Congaree National Park?

What National Parks will you be visiting this year?

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  • This looks beautiful and not unlike the hiking we have here in Georgia. Except those trees growing out of the water, those are so beautiful!

  • SO cool! I had no idea about the centennial of the National Park Service – it gives me the itch to want to go visit some National Parks too. Love how well-maintained they are, and how much of an adventure can be not far down the street. It looks like a gorgeous place, although I agree, the lack of river is a little disappointing 😉 I love their mosquito meter – I need one for my everyday life!! Is there an app for that?? 🙂

  • Rachel Ritlop

    how awesome! I want to go explore south carolina so badly!

  • Karin Rambo

    What a pretty hike! I know exactly what you mean about good conversations while hiking. I feel that way about hiking and camping as well. When you don’t have the distraction of technology or “city life”, it’s amazing how much conversation happens!

  • Champ Ray

    Looks like a great place to hike! What a bonus to not have mosquitoes that day.
    Look for the national parks to hold some free entrance days. We lucked out and were in St. Augustine florida the week they had free entrance to Castillo de San Marcos!

  • Leah Hall

    Looks like a lovely place to hike! I always appreciate places that have the full leaf trees, so less sun for this pale lady, haha! We were just in Rocky Mountain National Park and so excited to celebrate the 100 years!

  • Omg, that mosquito meter is hilarious. I think the dirty knees mean you are an adventurous hiker 🙂

  • I’ve been to Congaree only once when I was little and I remember that boardwalk so well! I don’t think we did much while we were there so I definitely need to go back. Also, that mosquito meter is incredible.

  • National parks like these always make me happy! All the beauty in nature just makes me want to go out there and explore! Gorgeous photos! 🙂

  • Looks so beautiful! The last hike I went on was with my two toddlers and I decided were not going on any more hikes until they don’t need to be carried anymore!

  • Kathryn Miller

    Such a fun adventure and so beautiful! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • linda spiker

    What a national gorgeous park! I will put this on my list!

  • What a great place to hike! I’d love to go there. Also I love the “Mosquito Meter.” I wish I had one of those down here in FL haha 🙂

  • Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    Wow what a magical place! So beautiful!

  • Suzette Valle

    This place looks gorgeous! And, does that Mosquito Meter really work? I want one!

  • What a beautiful place to explore!

  • Adaleta Avdic

    This looks incredible! The green in the south is phenomenal. I wish I had more greenery here in Arizona, but alas it’s too hot 😉 xx adaatude.com

  • How fun! I recently visited a couple different national parks and I think it is so cool that they are celebrating their 100 year anniversary! This adventure seems like a great weekend outing 🙂