If you only walk the Boardwalk Loop at Congaree Swamp National Monument, you miss some great hiking. This easy, 2.8 mile loop around Weston Lake, for example, starts from the end of the elevated boardwalk and passes some of the largest, most imposing trees in the swamp. Weston Lake is an "oxbow" lake it was part of an old river channel until the river changed course. The yellow-blazed loop trail only follows the shoreline for a short distance, but there seems to be adjacent water and cypresses for most of its length. Along the way, you will pass an abandoned hunting lodge and Wise Lake before returning to the Boardwalk Loop. Be alert for wildlife, and if you are lucky, you may see some feral hogs. They are usually very shy and keep their distance from people.
There is a small, primitive campground just inside the monument. There are numerous commercial campgrounds in the Columbia Area.
Directions: From Columbia, Drive southeast on SC 48 (Bluff Road) for approximately 12 miles and bear right onto Old Bluff Road (Richland County S-734). Follow the signs to the Congaree National Monument.
Distance: 2.8 miles
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Congaree National Park, South Carolina
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