Conagree Boardwalk Trail Feaured
play video
Best Hikes on the East Coast

Congaree Boardwalk Loop Trail

  • 2.4 miles - Easy Effort
  • 1-2 Hours (Total)
  • Expect to See Some Other Hikers
  • 30 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 100 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

If you can do only one hike in Congaree National Park, the Boardwalk Loop is the one. Congaree is unique for preserving the largest tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States, and the Boardwalk trail shows you the best of this remarkable place. The trail is easy, accessible, and family-friendly.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Hike Directions
  • Where to Park for the Boardwalk Loop
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations

Where is the Boardwalk Loop Trail?

Congaree National Park Location
Congaree National Park is located just 30 minutes from Columbia, SC.
Congaree National Park Boardwalk Loop Parking
The park has several access points, but to do the Boardwalk Loop, start at the Visitor Center.

Use this trailhead address:
Harry Hampton Visitor Center, 100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061

There is no entry fee for Congaree National Park. And there's plenty of parking at the Visitor Center lot.

Congaree National Park Boardwalk Loop Visitor 1
The trailhead is through the Visitor Center building.
Congaree National Park Boardwalk Loop Visitor 2
When you go through, check the info board before you start. Sometimes the trail is closed because of flooding.

The Visitor Center is worth a visit too!

Gear Recommendations

Screenshot 2023 12 13 At 06.04.48
Even if the Mosquito Meter is not on "War Zone," you're going to want some sort of insect repellant.

You don't need any special hiking gear for the Boardwalk Loop Trail. The entire hike is on a hard boardwalk; any type of footwear will work. Ideally you'll have comfortable fitness clothing for the hike.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can also send non-emergency texts to just say that you're late, let friends and family follow along, and check the weather. You can see my review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The wide toe box means no blisters, an aggressive tread is great on the trail, it dries very quickly, and it has lots of cushion for long days. It combines everything I love about every other shoe into one.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProThese watches are pricey, but I use them 24/7 for sleep tracking, workouts, heart rate, and tracking my hike. It has preloaded hiking maps that help me navigate the trails and is a backup to my smartphone navigation. The Epix Pro has a great battery life, a screen similar to an Apple Watch Ultra, and works in harsh conditions when just using the buttons. See my review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26This updated version of the Hikelite 26 offers incredible value for the money. It's got a wide trampoline back, so your back doesn't get sweaty. It's under 2lbs, has deep side pockets, and is a great balance of what you need without what you don't.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated May 2024)

Boardwalk Loop Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Boardwalk Loop Hike Directions

Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 1
Star the hike behind the Visitor Center on the boardwalk.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 2
At the first wide junction, hike straight through, avoiding the stairs down.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 3
You'll see the first interpretive display. There are a number of these along the loop and you can pick up a free brochure at the Visitor Center.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 4
At 0.2 miles you'll see the end of the loop rejoining on the left. Go straight. We're hiking the loop counterclockwise.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 5
At 0.6 miles continue on the turn in the loop by going left and staying on the boardwalk.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 6
Hike straight and cross the Caroline Sims Trail.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 7
When you get about halfway through the loop at 1 mile, go up and to the right for the Weston Lake viewpoint.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 8
Enjoy the views of Weston Lake, home to many birds and even river otters.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 9
Leave the viewpoint and continue straight, avoiding he trail on the left that you came up earlier.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 10
Make the left at 1.7 miles to continue on the boardwalk loop.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 11
Hike straight through, staying on the boardwalk.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 12
Avoid all the smaller trails branching off the boardwalk; we're staying on the boardwalk.
Congaree Boardwalk Loop Hike 13
At the end of the loop you'll rejoin the trail you started on. Make the right and walk a minute or two to the Visitor Center.

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.