Riverbanks Zoo

Trail Activities: t

  • Walk
  • Hike
  • Paved

Length:

1.0 mile

Type:

Round Trip

Surface:

Paved, Boardwalk

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Features: t

  • Point of Interest
  • Trail Head
  • Parking
  • Visitor Center
  • Scenic Observation
  • Handicap Access
  • No Pets
  • Fee
  • No Camping

Summary:

Step back in time with a self-guided journey along the River Trail. The 3/10-mile paved pathway begins at the end of the Saluda River Bridge and curves through woodlands along the river’s edge to the Saluda Mill ruins and Interpretive Center.

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You can start by visiting the zoo and cross the footbridge over the Saluda River to the trailhead for the River Trail or from the Botanical Gardens and walk the Woodlands Trail. Both paved pathways wind through a well-shaded area, where you can rest on benches and view the river through the young trees. Small signs along the edge of the trail point out some of the plants and trees.

The River Trail ends at the Saluda Mill Ruins, which are the remains of an 1834 textile mill. Visit the Saluda Mill Interpretive Center, a board and log building with mill artifacts and local history. From the Interpretive Center, you can return the way you came, or hike the steep 0.25-mile Woodlands Walk to reach the Botanical Garden.

From the River Trail you will cross several footbridges, climb steep stone steps, and hike uphill around boulders that protrude from the asphalt and loom along the hillside. When you reach the top, you will enter the Botanical Garden through the back gate and follow the brick walk through a wonderland of vegetation, flowers, bubbling fountains, and arbors. At the front entrance to the gardens, you can ride the tram down the hill, or walk the paved road another 0.3 mile back to the footbridge crossing the Saluda. Restrooms, snacks, and water are available at the Botanical Garden. Radios and pets are not permitted.

Length: River Trail 0.4 mile, Woodlands Walk 0.25 mile, and Connector Walk 0.3 mile one way

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Fees: Zoo Admission

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. |  Summer weekends 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Directions:

From downtown Columbia: Drive northwest on I-126 to the first exit, Greystone Boulevard. Turn left and follow the signs to Riverbanks Zoo.

From Exit 110 on I-26: Drive east on Sunset Boulevard (US 378) for approximately 1.0 mile and turn left onto Botanical Parkway.

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Riverbanks Zoo and Garden | 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210 | (803) 779-8717

Download Coordinates
KML file Trail Segments (Paths)
Trail Features (Points of Interest)
Lat: 34.00855848454309
Long: -81.07976343782043