Marie McAden



Fido now welcome on Congaree boardwalk

Posted 8/6/2013 9:23:00 AM

News Flash!!! Congaree National Park is now allowing dogs on its most popular trail — the 2.4-mile Boardwalk Loop — at least until the fall.

That’s big new for visitors traveling with pooches. Dogs have long been welcome to walk the dirt and gravel trails, but were banned on the boardwalk until now.

To make the park more dog friendly, the park service decided to offer a trial run of the new boardwalk rules through Oct. 1. If there are few problems, it may be extended indefinitely. So dogs, make sure your people behave!

The park features more than 20 miles of hiking trails in the northwestern portion of the 26,000-acre federally protected forest. The Boardwalk Loop is by far the most walked portion of the trail system.

An elevated section of the walkway winds through a thicket of old-growth trees, ending at Weston Lake — once a channel of the Congaree River. The low boardwalk takes visitors through a primeval bald cypress and water tupelo forest. It’s a lovely walk with countless trees for your dog to sniff.

Whether you decide to stroll on the boardwalk or the more primitive hiking trails, be sure to keep Fido on a short leash. You’ll need to scoop his poop as well.

Free trail maps are available at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the park is free.

And remember, it’s a floodplain, otherwise known as a swamp, so bring bug spray. And water. Summers in Columbia are famously hot.

For more information, click here or call (803) 776-4396.