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- Visitor Center
- No Fee
This upland trail loops north of the Visitor Center and connects to the elevated boardwalk for a short distance. The Bluff Trail passes through a young forest of loblolly and longleaf pines. Evidence of prescribed burns can be found along this trail.
Begin this blue-blazed, mostly level, dirt trail at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center. From the picnic tables, you will cross the park road, pass a spur to the after hours parking area, loop through pine and hardwood forest, and continue to the elevated boardwalk. You can extend your hike on the Boardwalk Loop, or turn right and follow a shorter section of boardwalk back to the Visitor Center. As you walk through the various flood plain forest habitats, look for pileated woodpeckers, barred owls, osprey, great blue heron, and a variety of other birds, as well as otter, deer, wild-hogs, iridescent skinks, alligators, snakes and other wildlife.
Remember to wear insect repellent and protective clothing to ward off poison ivy, stinging insects, and mosquitoes. For longer trails, you may want to carry water, first-aid supplies, and a map and compass. The backwoods trails are maintained on a limited scale and may be blocked at any time by fallen trees or debris washed in during flooding. Be sure to check trail conditions before starting your hike!
Trails are foot-traffic only. Pets are permitted on leashes on designated trails but they are not allowed on boardwalks. Restrooms and picnic tables are located near the Visitor Center where you can pick up a map, learn from the natural exhibits, and ask about special events such as night tours, and the owl prowl.
Camping: Contact the Visitor Center for primitive camping information.Directions:
From Columbia: Drive southeast on SC 48 (Bluff Road) for approximately 12 miles and bear right onto Old Bluff Road (Richland County S-40-734). Follow the signs to the Congaree National Park.