Congaree NP & Cedar Creek

-- Last Updated: Dec-05-10 11:26 AM EST --

Thinking of doing a trip to Congaree National Park in mid January. On the trip we are thinking of paddling Cedar Creek.We will most likely be car camping. Any one with info on putin/takeouts? Anything in general we may need to know ahead of time? This will be my 1st trip to this park.

I have checked out the park site and current water levels.

Cedar Creek and the NP

– Last Updated: Dec-05-10 1:36 PM EST –

Our club had a trip to Congaree NP last March and we paddled Cedar Creek. What I remember is that it was just a few inches below the recommended level and we had to do a lot of sawing deadfall/bashing through/portaging. My advice is call the park and talk with rangers about any questions you may have including put-ins -- and not just to rely on the web site. The park staff were very helpful to us, very knowledgeable.
Oh, and a p.s.: the trees in the Congaree River bottomland are staggeringly large. They are awe-inspiring. So don't miss one of those hiking trails there -- a 2-miler, I think -- that takes you among the big trees. Again, the staff can tell you which one.

we plan to hike and paddle
We are hybrid outdoor club. Hikers,bikers and flatwater paddlers. So we usually do a little of everything. I saw Eva’s video from the CKC trip last year.It help to peak my interest.

Been awhile,but paddled Cedar Creek
at low the other poster said, did a lot of dragging,bogging,slipping.The only part of me that wasn’t muddy was my eyeballs.

I love the trails and boardwalks.

We did this
Several years ago, myself and three friends left Ocala and traveled to SC and did this, the Ranger said the water was low but we went anyway. Boy was it low, we had to pull over downed trees every 16 feet, all the way to the river. I have a friend that lives close so his wife ran shuttle for us and picked us up near Columbia. It was quite a trip and unforgettable. But still fun, Wilbur says he will never get in another canoe with me again as he lost 10 lbs on that trip, and had never been in a canoe before.

We put in at the park and traveled Cedar to the river, spending the night on the creek then to the river, then was picked up in Columbia.

Eva’s video
Glad you saw it! She documents a lot of our trips with wonderful videos and slideshows.

Congaree Swamp
Congaree NP is one of my favorite places to paddle. As other posters have noted, it tends to be more of a “hike” in low water. The water levels fluctuate pretty quickly- one good dumping of rain can make a huge difference. It’s been a very dry summer/fall down here in dixie, and water levels are woefully low in just about every non dam-controlled paddling spot. But we’ve had decent rain the past week or so, and more is expected soon. Winter water levels tend to be higher, although the scenery and certainly wildlife are not as great. Plus, it gets a lot colder there in the winter than you might expect. In low water, you can also do the Congaree River Blue Trail from Columbia to the swamp, then upstream into Cedar Creek through the park. Do keep in mind that the Bannister Bridge put-in (the usual put-in for through-swamp trips or the take-out for a reverse loop trip) is not the safest spot in the world to leave your car.