Columbia Area Parks Family Fun Things to Do Grown Up Fun! Uncategorized

Columbia Area Parks

August 28, 2018

Saluda Shoals Park
5605 Bush River Road + 6071 St. Andrews Rd. | 803.772.1228
Visit beautiful Saluda Shoals Park, a regional 480-acre park cozied up against the Saluda River, a favorite with fly-fishermen, kayakers, walkers and bird-watchers. The paved 3.4-mile Greenway Trail meanders through a shady, wooded area along the Saluda, with benches and river views along the way. A total of 10 miles of paved and unpaved trails await! Visitors can rent men’s, women’s and youth sized Cruiser bicycles from 9:30a – 4p. Canoes, tandem kayaks and solo kayaks are offered for rent daily from 9a – 4p, ranging from 1-hour to all day rentals with boat shuttle service available (check on river conditions by calling 803-772-1228 or 803-213-2050). The Park offers picnic shelters, a river observation deck and an educational center with park-related exhibits as well. Admission is just $5 per car or mini-van (includes all occupants). Larger vehicles $7 – $11. Saluda Splash wrist bands $3. Park hours are: 7am-8:30pm daily. More information:

Splash & Dash Adventure Race | Sept 16 | 8:30am
Teams of two or three competitors will run (two miles), bike (four miles), and paddle (one mile) in this adventure race along the scenic trails of Saluda Shoals Park. All paddle equipment is provided. Please bring an off road bike and helmet. Register early to guarantee each team member receives a tee shirt. All ages allowed with an adult (18 and over) on the team.
803-213-2062 | 5605 Bush River Rd.

Harbison State Forest
5500 Broad River Rd. (entrance near here)
Bounded along its northeastern edge by the Broad River, Harbison Environmental Education Forest encompasses 2,137 acres of forestland only nine miles from downtown Columbia. This unique urban location offers over thirty one miles of roads and trails that weave through the pine and hardwood forest, crossing wandering streams and descending through leafy glades to the Broad River. Enjoy trails designed for walking, jogging, hiking, and bicycling that range from moderately easy to difficult. A canoe landing located near the Broad River provides access for kayaks and canoes as a put in or take out from the river (be sure to complete a float plan). Parking pass: $5 daily or $25 annual. The forest is open sunrise to sunset and the office is open M-F 8am-4:30pm.

Congaree National Park
100 National Park Road, Hopkins | 803.776.4396
Astonishing biodiversity exists in Congaree National Park, the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain, carrying nutrients and sediments that nourish and rejuvenate this ecosystem and support the growth of national and state champion trees. Enjoy the 26,276 acres that make up the park. Canoe, hike, fish or participate in ranger-led programs. Upcoming: Big Tree Hike – September 8 / October 13. From 1-4pm – 3 hours of exploration of some of the park’s big trees. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks and wear good hiking shoes. With over 25 miles of hiking trails and 2.4 miles of boardwalk, you’ll have an enormous area to explore. You’ll appreciate the splendor of one of the oldest and tallest forests east of the Mississippi. Congaree National Park is open 24 hours a day year round, while the Harry Hampton Visitor Center is open 7 days a week from 9AM – 5PM and is closed on all federal holidays. No admission fee.


Dreher Island State Park
3677 State Park Road, Prosperity | 803.364.4152
– Three islands, 348 acres and 12 miles of Lake Murray shoreline
– Access to 50,000-acre Lake Murray; recreational water activities, nature trails & striped and largemouth bass fishing spots
– 10 picnic shelters & 3 boat ramps w/ private boat access
– 3 playgrounds, 3 trails & Geocaching is permitted
– Guest cottages and campsites available
– Admission / Open dawn to dusk

The Palmetto Trail
The Peak to Prosperity Passage proceeds west from the Alston trailhead in Fairfield County across the impressive Broad River trestle. The view from the 1,100-foot-long bridge is spectacular, especially when bald eagles soar by. Across the river in Newberry County, the rail-trail skirts Peak and cuts an easy swath through piedmont forest to Pomaria and Prosperity. Along the passage, 14 wooden trestles span the meandering Crims Creek where German immigrants settled in the 1730s. The area is known as the Dutch Fork. Check out the smart/cell phone tour while hiking to learn more about the Dutch Fork’s history and wildlife.
Visit for directions.

Sesquicentennial State Park
9564 Two Notch Rd. | 803.788.2706
– 1,419 acres including a 30-acre lake
– Two mile walking trail around the lake with another 3.5 mile loop hiking and biking  trail
– Sesqui Mountain Bike Trail is 6.1 miles of singletrack through a pine forest with a fast and sandy bottom.
– Boat rentals 9AM – 4PM
– 2-acre dog park that is member and fee based ($25/year per dog).
– Admission / Open: 8AM – 6PM daily (extended hours during DST)


Three Rivers Greenway
This beautiful series of riverfront pathways – where the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers meet. Includes lighted trails and boardwalks, outdoor amphitheaters, restrooms and breathtaking views of the Columbia skyline in a dog friendly and ADA accessible environment that everyone can enjoy.
– Columbia Canal + Riverfront Park: Park off Laurel St. behind the AFLAC building on Huger St. Offers a 2.5 mile walk along the City of Columbia side of the Broad River above the confluence with the Saluda River.
– West Columbia Riverwalk + Cayce Riverwalk: Follows the banks of the Congaree River in Cayce and West Columbia. The walkway is paved and made up of boardwalks and bridges, and winds under old trees.
– Timmerman Trail: Combines a walk through the woods and over Congaree Creek with a walk along the river. Recently annexed to the Cayce Riverwalk.

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