Welcome to the Congaree River Blue Trail. South Carolina has been shaped by its rivers. So dominant are rivers to its history, economy, and health that entire regions of South Carolina are known by the rivers that course through them. Rivers were vital to the state’s beginning, providing transportation, food, and energy that drove the state’s economy, making it among the richest at the time of our nation’s birth. Today, South Carolina’s rivers remain a vital resource.
The Congaree River is one of South Carolina’s most precious resources. This guide will help you explore this incredible gem. It will give you an understanding of the area’s unique history, vast array of wildlife, and special natural and cultural places. This guide provides important safety and planning information and should be used with the Congaree River Blue Trail Map.
There's much to explore along the Congaree River. Starting near Columbia, the blue trail offers paddlers an urban adventure with opportunities to learn about the area's history. Continuing downstream, paddlers enter the Coastal Plain known for its countless sandbars, high bluffs, and extensive floodplains. The highlight of the trail is the section along Congaree National Park, a protected wilderness that’s home to the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the U.S. Paddlers and hikers can enjoy a 20-mile network of hiking trails within the park as well as camping, bird watching, and nature study.
Work has begun on the Wateree River Blue Trail. Starting near Camden, this 75-mile trail will also pass through Congaree National Park and continue to its confluence with Congaree. Both blue trails are in early stages of development. As support for these blue trails grow so too will access, signs, camping, and a strong conservation ethic among its visitors.
By connecting South Carolina communities with their rivers, these blue trails will enable residents and visitors to rediscover the benefits of these rivers. It's our hope that these blue trails ignite a recognition that these rivers not only provide a great place for recreation but are places worth protecting.
Partners of the Congaree River Blue Trail:
Congaree Land Trust
Congaree National Park
Friends of Congaree Swamp
Richland County Conservation Commission
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources