Boardwalk Loop

Congaree's most popular trail, on a wooden path among giant trees.

Hiking Easy

Distance
3.6 km
Ascent
6 m
Descent
6 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
30 m
High Point
34 m
Gradient
Boardwalk Loop Map

Boardwalk is Congaree's most accessible and most popular trail, great for all ages and fully ADA accessible. It is 2.4 miles of constructed boardwalk, weaving through old-growth forest with trees of all shapes and sizes. Trees are so numerous that the true giants can be hard to pick out, so walk slowly and look closely to take it all in. You’ll see trunks towering out of sight into the canopy, sunlight refracting through layers of leaves, cypress knees studding the forest floor, and you’ll hear the songs of innumerable birds in the branches high above.

Description

The wooden boardwalk is necessary because it’s on the floodplain of the Congaree River. When the heaviest rains happen in winter and spring, the forest can fill with water. During those times, the boardwalk may be the only trail in this part of the park that is passable. The loop is divided into roughly two halves, the low boardwalk and the elevated boardwalk. The low boardwalk, which is only about one foot above the forest floor, can get submerged completely, making the elevated portion the only option.

The big floods happen only a few times a year, but they change the environment of the park completely, from a mostly dry forest to a veritable swamp. These natural fluctuations make Congaree a rather extreme ecosystem, and one that you can’t visit just once to truly experience it. If you get the chance, hike the boardwalk during a drier time and again during a flooded time to see its different phases.

Source: https://www.nps.gov/cong/planyourvisit/trail-information.htm

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area