Bates Ferry Trail is the newest trail at Congaree National Park. It was opened in 2015 and is accessed by the trailhead parking lot along US Highway 601. The trail is 1.1 miles from the parking area to Bates Ferry landing. It is an out and back.

We considered taking this hike when we were at Congaree National Park but did not because the park rangers thought that the trail would be flooded given the widespread flooding in the park at the time. We hope you have better luck then we did!

There is a highway marker for the Bates Ferry trailhead along US 601 near the bridge over Bates Old River. The trail follows Bates Old River to Congaree River. The ferry allowed crossings of the Congaree River in the 19th Century and early 20th Century. The ferry was replaced by a bridge at the location in 1923. Remnants of the bridge, which was replaced in 1949 by the first version of the Bates Bridge, are still visible.

There is a side trail branching off to the right (north) side approximately .4 miles along the trail. The side trail crosses a steel deck bridge and leads to the General Greene Tree, a baldcypress with the largest circumference of any baldcypress found in Congaree NationalPark. It is several centuries old and named for Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. The circumference is 30 feet. The tree survived the logging period because it has a hollow center.

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