Congaree National Park, South Carolina

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Congaree National Park is our newest National Park. It was established as Congaree Swamp National Monument in 1976. In November 2003 it became Congaree National Park.

There are 58 National Parks. We have now visited 47. The remaining 11 parks require a boat, plane, or high clearance SUV.

The park is not a swamp but a flat low level floodplain. There is one river (the Congaree) and many creeks. Because the park is so low and flat, flooding occurs about 10 times a year. Most of the flooded areas almost dry between floods. As a result the soil is extremely rich which enables the trees in the park to average over 130 feet in height. Some trees are over 160 feet. The forest is so dense the forest canopy so high, Congaree is taller than any other deciduous forest on earth.

There are many trails through the park. Including several canoe trails. We decided to take a 2.5 mile self-guided boardwalk loop trail. The temperature was 95 degrees in the parking lot but about 10 degrees cooler under the forest canopy. We heard hundreds of birds up in the trees and even saw some. The mosquito warning was listed a medium so we wore long pants and did not use any insect spray on our arms and face. We got by without a bite.

The start of the Boardwalk Loop Trail.

The big tree in the center is a Bald Cypress.
The stubs are called "knees" which are growths from the Bald Cypress roots.

This was one of many walking along the boardwalk.

The bark of the Tupelo trees (older trees on either side of the boardwalk) tends to hold water from previous floods. This enables moss to grow which identifies the high water mark of previous floods.

We came across a lake with many turtles.

This is the loop trail halfway point rest stop.
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