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Thread: Congaree NP

  1. #1
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    Default Congaree NP

    I had to bail on the neusiok trail this weekend, so I'm looking at wandering the trails in Congaree and spending a night backcountry camping. Anyone been there and have an opinion on the best trails to look for a spot to hammock camp on?
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    When our scout troop stays in the backcountry, we prefer to camp on the River Trail at the Congaree River. Be prepared for wet, muddy ground and lots of pig crap. Fires are not allowed in the backcountry. Depending on where you stay the trees can be huge so make sure you have long tree straps/ample rope. On several occasions we have been able to gain access to a small "island" on the river that provides a nice place to relax and hangout.

    The trails at Congaree are flat and you can easily hike most of them in a day. Our preference is to camp at the Longleaf Campground (at the parking lot) and day hike. Longleaf is slightly higher ground so the sites are dry, you have a picnic table, and you can have a campfire. Also, there are lots of trees at each site so hanging is no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan View Post
    When our scout troop stays in the backcountry, we prefer to camp on the River Trail at the Congaree River. Be prepared for wet, muddy ground and lots of pig crap. Fires are not allowed in the backcountry. Depending on where you stay the trees can be huge so make sure you have long tree straps/ample rope. On several occasions we have been able to gain access to a small "island" on the river that provides a nice place to relax and hangout.

    The trails at Congaree are flat and you can easily hike most of them in a day. Our preference is to camp at the Longleaf Campground (at the parking lot) and day hike. Longleaf is slightly higher ground so the sites are dry, you have a picnic table, and you can have a campfire. Also, there are lots of trees at each site so hanging is no problem.
    Thanks for the info, especially about the size of the trees. Not knowing, I would have left the xl straps at home.
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    I echo Morgan. About 15 years ago I kayak camped for two nights through it and tried to hike a little. It was spring and wet. It was too cool to swim, couldn't light a fire, and was pretty swampy. I'm sure there there are nice highlights, but I didn't find them.

    Have you ever looked at King's Mt. State Park/National Park? There is a 20 something mile perimeter trail that is a perfect overnight or even two nights for a shoulder season/winter hike. You can make it a 30+ mile hike if you do it as a lollipop starting at Crowder's Mt. State Park. My son and I got into doing this as a Christmas tradition when he was 8 or 9 and I've done it maybe 1/2 dozen times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bumpy View Post
    I echo Morgan. About 15 years ago I kayak camped for two nights through it and tried to hike a little. It was spring and wet. It was too cool to swim, couldn't light a fire, and was pretty swampy. I'm sure there there are nice highlights, but I didn't find them.

    Have you ever looked at King's Mt. State Park/National Park? There is a 20 something mile perimeter trail that is a perfect overnight or even two nights for a shoulder season/winter hike. You can make it a 30+ mile hike if you do it as a lollipop starting at Crowder's Mt. State Park. My son and I got into doing this as a Christmas tradition when he was 8 or 9 and I've done it maybe 1/2 dozen times.
    I have been to Kings Mt. But have not done the big loop. This is my plan B for the neusiok, so a swampy trail and camping on the river is actually what I'm looking for. Feral pigs is a bonus
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    Default Congaree NP

    There was a lot of beauty to be found. Truly massive trees, mushrooms galore, birds everywhere, even the feral hogs are cute, albeit destructive. Definitely go when it's cold and the river level is low, although it would be cool to go back and see how the landscape transforms as the swamp floods. The best backcountry campsites were definitely on the river trail. Hiking from the kingsnsake trail to the river and back is certainly possible, but don't presume those will all be easy miles. You'll be climbing over waist high downed trees all day long. So even though you'll ascend 19' over 21 miles, your knees are still getting a workout.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    I have been to Kings Mt. But have not done the big loop. This is my plan B for the neusiok, so a swampy trail and camping on the river is actually what I'm looking for. Feral pigs is a bonus
    C NP boardwalk gets submerged during times of flooding. I'm not sure when all those times occur so call the NP first before organizing.

    What I've done is float the Congaree River during the cooler season renting a boat and getting shuttled with it from a yak/canoe outfitter in Columbia. I floated to the NP, chained up the boat and hiked the trails to the Visitors Center staying one day on teh River Tr and one day at Bluffs CG. Boat and shuttle from Columbia was $200 for 3 days.

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    QUOTE=

    What I've done is float the Congaree River during the cooler season renting a boat and getting shuttled with it from a yak/canoe outfitter in Columbia. I floated to the NP, chained up the boat and hiked the trails to the Visitors Center staying one day on teh River Tr and one day at Bluffs CG. Boat and shuttle from Columbia was $200 for 3 days.[/QUOTE]

    I was thinking a float trip after heavy rains would be another great way to explore the swamp.

    It's amazing how many hidden treasures are right in our backyard and get overlooked.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

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    Default Congaree NP

    I spent a night below 20 degrees in Congaree a decade or so ago..if you know Columbia, you know how rare it is to be that cold. You can just wander until you find a place you like so long as you are far enough off trail to meet the rules.

    Hogs everywhere and the most unreal owl hooting all night long. My best memory was waking up to the sound of wood ducks splashing in a backwater pond trying to keep a patch of water from icing over. That place is magical in the dead of winter. Pick the coldest day you can stand and go in.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    QUOTE=

    What I've done is float the Congaree River during the cooler season renting a boat and getting shuttled with it from a yak/canoe outfitter in Columbia. I floated to the NP, chained up the boat and hiked the trails to the Visitors Center staying one day on teh River Tr and one day at Bluffs CG. Boat and shuttle from Columbia was $200 for 3 days.
    I was thinking a float trip after heavy rains would be another great way to explore the swamp.

    It's amazing how many hidden treasures are right in our backyard and get overlooked.[/QUOTE]
    And they are overlooked because there is some unfamiliarity with them - no guidebook, not a named ABC trail or Route, no umpteen trail journals to read,...

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