Congaree National Park Welcomes Visitors to the Wild Side


Marilyn JonesStanding on a boardwalk above a shallow stream, I watched as a water moccasin undulates toward me. Ballet-like and graceful, it swam silently through the water toward a second snake sunning itself directly below me.


At this moment I completely lost my fear of snakes. I was drawn into the magic that is Congaree National Park, a sprawling 26,546-acre park of primitive forest and flood plain a short 20-minute drive east of Columbia, South Carolina.

The park is fascinatingly beautiful and you will find yourself drawn into the primitiveness of it with the song of unseen birds, giant spiders with their webs draped between trees and turtles swimming in murky water.


Before you begin your exploration though, stop at the visitor’s center where helpful Park Rangers and volunteers will help you outline the best trails to fit your time frame and physical ability, and alert you of any specific animal sightings. The center also serves as a museum incorporating the area’s history and natural attributes.

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