Congaree National ParkSouth Carolina 

Congaree National Park

Redwood of the East.

Congaree National Park is the largest old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States. A bottomland hardwood forest is a type of deciduous hardwood forest found in broad lowland floodplains along large lakes and rivers in the United States. It is occasionally referred to as an overflow swamp because it floods in the wet seasons. Although the trees cannot survive continuous flooding, they develop traits to survive seasonal submergence in water. Historically found along the Mississipi River and throughout the Gulf Coast, foresting and farming has greatly reduced the acreage of land covered by these forests. Congaree River, Wateree River and Cedar Creek all flow through portions of the park.


People have been using Congaree for over 13,000 years, and water has left an enduring mark on the area as much as each human. The park protects the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States. Resource extraction on the Congaree River was due to cypress logging from 1898 to 1914, when the Beidler family ceased operation of the Santee River Cypress Logging Company, although they maintained ownership of the area.

The move for the park to be established began in the 1950s and 1960s, with the Beidler Forest Preservation Association in 1961. A 1963 study by the National Park Service, a result of the group’s advocacy, reported favorably towards the creation of a national monument. Congaree Swamp National Monument was not created until 1976, with over one-third of the national monument designated a wilderness area in 1988, and an Important Bird Area in 2001. The area was redesignated Congaree National Park in 2003, with expanded boundaries established. It has also been designated as a globally important bird area and an international biosphere reserve.

The park has the largest concentration of champion trees in the world, and has the tallest known examples of 15 species, including a loblolly pine, a sweetgum, cherrybark oak, American elm, and more. The park also has a wide variety of animals, amphibians, and fish.

Entrance fees

There is no fee to enter the park.


It is located in the middle of South Carolina about thirty minutes from Columbia, the state capital.

Busiest Months

  • Percent of annual visits

Redwood of the East

Congaree National Park has earned its nickname of Redwood of the East due in part to the fact it contains one of the largest groupings of champion trees in the nation. A champion tree is the largest known living specimen of a tree species located in the continental United States. The list has been maintained by American Forests since 1940. There are 15 champions in Congaree National Park.

Other Activities

A Yahoo Travel article once called Congaree one of the five worst national parks due to the high concentration of mosquitos in the summer, four species of venomous snakes, and the highlight of the park as a 2.4 mile boardwalk through the “swamp”. But for those that aren’t fascinated by the large trees and miss the firefly display, there’s still a wonderful area for canoeing, camping and hiking – particularly in the spring and early summer when insects are not a problem and the heat of the summer hasn’t yet set in to South Carolina. Or the fall to enjoy the colorful leaves. ┬áIt’s also an amazing place for birding, with numerous wading birds and eight common varieties of woodpeckers.

Hiking Trails:

Recent Bird Sightings

Roundtrip Flights to Columbia, SC:


The 61 US National Parks
Acadia National Park
American Samoa National Park
Arches National Park
Badlands National Park
Big Bend National Park
Biscayne National Park
Black Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Channel Islands National Park
Congaree National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park
Denali National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
Everglades National Park
Gates of the Arctic National Park
Gateway Arch National Park
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Great Basin National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Haleakala National Park
Hot Springs National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hot Springs National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park
Isle Royale National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Katmai National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Kobuk Valley National Park
Lake Clark National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mount Rainier National Park
North Cascades National Park
Olympic National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Pinnacles National Park
Redwood National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Saguaro National Park
Sequoia National Park
Shenandoah National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Virgin Islands National Park
Voyageurs National Park
Wind Cave National Park
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park
© 2019 Parkcation
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Contact