We visited Columbia during our road trip in 2013. This time we parked at The Barnyard RV Park in Lexington, SC. Our primary objective this time was to visit the only National Park in South Carolina.
Pop quiz: What is the most visited US national park? Many people might think it’s Yellowstone or Grand Canyon. Actually, by a wide margin, it’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Makes sense since it is easily accessible to a large number of people in the surrounding states of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Caroline, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and West Virginia. So after having been to the most visited national park we went to one of the least visited, Congaree National Park.
This park contains the largest remaining old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States. Until the late 1800’s the entire southeastern United States was rich in huge expanses of floodplain forests. Logging had almost completely eliminated these by the 1970’s. In 1976, Congaree Swamp National Monument was established to protect the 26,000 acres of forest here in central South Carolina. In 2003 it became Congaree National Park.
Congaree is known for its array of giant trees that hold the record for size of their species, including loblolly pines, hickories and bald cypress. One loblolly pine over 15 feet in circumference and almost 170 feet tall ranks among the park’s champion trees.
Next stop: Hollywood, SC