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Boardwalk Trail

Congaree National Park

Southern Coastal Plain, South Carolina

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Boardwalk Trail

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  • The Boardwalk Trail leads from the visitor center out into the forest.- Boardwalk Trail
  • Low boardwalk in an open patch of forest.- Boardwalk Trail
  • Cypress knees next to the Boardwalk.- Boardwalk Trail
  • Weston Lake, seen from the platform at the end of the elevated boardwalk.- Boardwalk Trail
  • The viewing platform on Weston Lake.- Boardwalk Trail
  • Elevated boardwalk crossing a small thicket of dwarf palmetto.- Boardwalk Trail
  • Elevated boardwalk, which stays accessible during floods.- Boardwalk Trail
  • An old moonshiner's still can be seen from the elevated boardwalk.- Boardwalk Trail
  • As the sun sets on the forest, night noises of owls and other animals fill the trees.- Boardwalk Trail
  • Low boardwalk passing among large cypress trees.- Boardwalk Trail
  • This is one of the most biodiverse forest communities on the continent.- Boardwalk Trail
  • Enjoying forest views along the Boardwalk.- Boardwalk Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stroller and ADA accessible. Good year round.
Cons: 
Can be buggy. Can be slippery.
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Region:
Southern Coastal Plain, SC
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
140.00 ft (42.67 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Total elevation gain: 
10.00 ft (3.05 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
130.00 ft (39.62 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Congaree National Park's most popular trail, called simply the Boardwalk, is just that--2.4 miles of continuous boardwalk through stunning old-growth forest. The entire length of it is stroller and ADA accessible, and dogs are allowed on leash, making it easy for the whole family to enjoy the trees, birds, and wildflowers of Congaree. 

The Boardwalk is necessary because, though this trail does not reach the river, most of it is on a floodplain. When prolonged wet weather causes the Congaree River and Cedar Creek to overtop their banks, water spreads out and nourishes the huge old trees that thrive here. Frequent flooding is one reason why they grow so large.

When the forest is flooded, the Boardwalk is the only way to get around on foot. It is built to form a loop, half of which is elevated far above the forest floor and half of which is only raised about a foot. During some floods the low boardwalk may be covered, but you can walk above the submerged swamp on the elevated section. One highlight is at the end of the elevated Boardwalk, which is a viewing platform over Weston Lake.

The Boardwalk makes a great short hike of its own, but it is also the beginning of most of the park's other trails. A short trip beyond the Boardwalk on either Sims Trail or Weston Lake Loop leads into Congaree's wilderness area, which has more trails, lakes, and waterways among the huge trees.

Note: Although generally easy and accessible, the Boardwalk becomes very slippery when wet or covered in leaves, so use caution. The low boardwalk may remain open even if soaked by rain or partially flooded. There are benches located along the boardwalk for resting, but no drinking water or facilities are available, so come prepared. During the warmer months, mosquitoes can be very bad throughout Congaree.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(4 within a 30 mile radius)

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