South Carolina Kayaking Help...

Are there any decent kayaking areas in and around Columbia, South Carolina? I’m used to slow moving rivers in Central Florida and am considering a move to the Columbia area. I hope I can find a place to paddle. I know of Lake Murray but that is it. Thanks for the help!!

sc paddling
there are a number of paddling destinations near columbia. goodale state park near camden has a really pretty lake and a marked canoe trail that will take you past a heron rookery. another canoe trail in congaree national park is a great opportunity to see one of the last old growth hardwood bottomland swamps in the eastern u.s. the congaree river, the edisto river, the pee dee and little pee dee rivers are all within easy driving distance. i’m sure there are many others as well that are close enough for a day trip. the coast of s.c. isn’t that far off either. columbia has a very active and welcoming paddle club “palmetto paddlers”. i have been on a trip with them and had a nice time. check out their website. you’ll not lack for places to paddle in the columbia area. -harry

You like kayaking and
you are considering moving from FL to Columbia SC? Errr, OK, I’ve lived in FL, it will take you a while to get used to the heat in Columbia in the summer.

You looking for places like this?

If so, email me when you get settled in.

And join us at Jocassee Rendevous this October. (Its not always this good:)

Come to Great Falls SC
Get Out | In love with the lake

The State - South Carolina


April 06, 2006

Paddling a kayak simply isn’t as much fun on a lake as it is on a river.

The scenery stays constant, big boats hit you with noise and waves and the wind can get nasty. I generally avoid paddling on lakes.

But recent news about the conservation of the banks and islands in the reservoirs near Great Falls prompted a lake trip, and I might have to reconsider my opinion.

The Cedar Creek Reservoir, with a mountain-like shoreline and several islands in its skinny channel, never gets boring. Some locals refer to the 800-acre lake as Stumpy Pond, and the dead cedars breaking the water’s surface scare away folks with big boats. Don’t want to tear up those expensive motors.

The wind probably can whip up on the lake, but I was lucky enough to pick a calm day. In fact, on the first 80-degree weekend of the spring, Cedar Creek Reservoir proved to be the perfect excursion.

Mea culpa here: I recommended Cedar Creek as a sweet place to paddle six years ago based entirely on a spin on the lake in a motorized boat. Only now do I realize how right I was.

I launched from the Debutary Creek landing, just off State Road268 in upper Fairfield County. One of the best aspects of Cedar Creek Reservoir six years ago was the lack of development on the banks. Even though two mansions have been built near the landing since then, the vast majority of the shoreline is undeveloped.

Even better, Crescent Resources has agreed to sell at a discount nearly 2,000 acres of the shoreline to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and the land will be put in the Heritage Trust program. Crescent also has agreed, as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing of its Catawba River dams, to lease the reservoir’s islands to the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for use as a state park.

The two state agencies should make it more inviting to recreate along the lake. But the truth is, it’s already welcoming. I didn’t see any signs warning people to stay off the islands. A rough-looking man who camped overnight on one, and didn’t want to be identified, said he went out often ‘to get away from the wife and kids.’

From Debutary Creek landing, paddle across the skinny finger of the lake and hug the rocky, wooded east bank. After passing the dam on the left, you’ll see another landing. Just across from that is Pickett Island. You can paddle around that island, stopping along the way at one of the dozen or so easy spots to pull up a canoe or kayak.

The island has no well-worn paths, but its underbrush was amazingly sparse in early April. I hiked the high ground for a while, flushing a wild turkey and lots of things I didn’t see that made slithery sounds. Probably best not to do this in sandals.

The colors of spring came alive on the lake shore: white dogwood blossoms, red maple seed pods and green leaves everywhere. The noise of the paddle prompted a cluster of what appeared to be 100 butterflies to flutter away from something on the bank that had lured them.

I hugged the other bank of the lake back to the landing for a round trip of about four miles of easy paddling. No offense to Lake Murray or even the fun upper reaches of Lake Marion, but I have a new favorite lake to paddle.