A longer and wilder hike than the Boardwalk, finding more diverse forest and wildlife viewing opportunities.


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If you want more varied scenery and photography opportunities in Congaree National Park, as well as better chances at spotting wildlife, you should venture off of the Boardwalk and onto Weston Lake Loop.

Unlike the Boardwalk, it is a natural-surface trail, but it finds slightly higher ground and, therefore, different kinds of trees.

On this trail, you’ll see gigantic hardwoods like oak and poplar, in addition to cypress and tupelo that are most common along Boardwalk.

Because it’s less traveled, Weston Lake Trail is especially good for bird watching and finding elusive critters like river otters. Much of the trail traces a tea-colored creek, which at certain times of the year can flood its banks and fill the forest.

During these times, Weston Lake Loop is impassable, though you may find muddy spots or pools of water at any time of year.

The wettest sections are bridged, but you never know exactly what you’ll find, especially if it’s recently rained. Weston Lake, for which this trail is named, is actually hard to see because of the vegetation.

If you want a better view of an even more picturesque lake, make the short side trip to Wise Lake.

It’s reached by crossing a bridge over Cedar Creek.

This lake is similar to Weston Lake, shaped like a crescent, but it’s smaller and less overgrown at the edges, so you can stand right on the shore, among the cypress buttresses, and gaze over the reflective dark water. Source: https://www.nps.gov/cong/planyourvisit/trail-information.htm