Hiking the Congaree National Park Day 1

Mike, me and our 2 dogs Tucker and Cooper.


This day started with an out of the way BBQ place off Farrow Road in Columbia. It was called Big Bulls Bang’n BBQ. It was awesome! Mike always googles and finds the most off the beaten path things.

We got to the park around 12:00 noon. This great park is off Shop Rd and I-77 in Columbia.

When you pull in there is a campground at the entrance then you proceed about 1 mile to the visitors center. Just behind it is what’s called the boardwalk trail. It’s a 2 mile loop on a wooden boardwalk that covers a large part of the swamp area. It’s a perfect area to take a stroller or wheelchair and get outside.

It’s a great viewing area. There are swampy areas with trees growing in the water. We didn’t see much wildlife but this area was full of squirrels that were making Cooper completely crazy! He could both see them and hear them!

We walked part of the boardwalk train till we got to the Westin Loop Trail. It was a 4.4 mile loop. We went counter clockwise. It was nice to get off the boardwalk and walk through the woods. It was pretty clear that going counter clockwise was the odd way to do it because we passed about 6 people going the other way. The dogs were loving this. There weren’t many people out on Friday do they could run a bit. They are both terrible when it comes to approaching dogs. They go knot kill mode which is highly embarrassing.

The walk was so awesome the swamp areas with the trees in it were all sizes. The water was low so most of the “knees” were just sticking out of the ground in most places.

The trees were huge. I was referring to them as Carolina redwoods.

We were told that the Oakridge trail was where the giant ones were but I thought this one was amazing!

We really saw some amazing nature. This one downed tree with these wild mushrooms growing in it. This tree with the abnormal growth on it.

There were a lot of trees down. I assume most were from the last hurricane that came through this summer.

We walked about 7 miles today. I am not used to walking in flat hikes but this one was really great. There was a downed trees that crossed the creek in lots of places. It was both beautiful and fun. I really enjoyed climbing on them.

We walked and walked and let the dogs run because we did not see many people. Cooper was running through the woods like he was tracking something. He would disappear along the trail then show up a minute later above us on the trail. He was really enjoying himself. He disappeared and we could here him barking and he didn’t come back. I thought he was probably stuck because he was dragging his leash behind him. Mike got scared and rushed to look for him and in his hurry he fell down in the woods. About the time he got back up here comes Cooper. After that Cooper was not allowed to roam.

We finished the Westin Lake loop and turned on the Sims Trail. This cuts through the boardwalk loop and goes all the way to the visitors center. Cooper had to stay on the leash and headed back to Columbia. We stayed at a very nice Motel 6 because we are going back to hike more trails tomorrow.

Motel 6 lets dogs stay and I must say this one was pretty nice.

This is a pic of the dogs after Mike went to get dinner. I think the hotel made them a little nervous because they could hear people walking down the hall.

There was a seafood restaurant called Harbor Inn nearby so we called in an order. I got a grouper plate with vegetables and mike got a seafood platter. He said his was real good but my grouper was awesome! I got it blackened.

Those dogs crashed big time and so did we. I think we were all asleep by 8:30. That was a fun hike.

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