Marie McAden



Catch the Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies in full bloom

Posted 5/3/2012 1:24:00 PM

It’s showtime for the Rocky Shoals Spider Lily at Landsford Canal State Park. The silvery aquatic flower is back making its annual appearance on the shoals along the Catawba River.

There’s no better place to see this rare perennial than at the South Carolina state park — home to the world’s largest population of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies. With the early arrival of spring this year, the lilies are blooming ahead of schedule. Park rangers predict peak bloom will be mid-May instead of the usual late May or early June.

A 1.5-mile roundtrip hike down the park’s Canal Trail will take you to an overlook where you can get a panoramic view of the botanical white wonder. The park also offers access to the river for canoes and kayaks if you want to get an even closer look.

If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent one from Catawba River Expeditions. But you need to be an experienced paddler to kayak the spider lily section of the river as there are Class I and borderline Class II rapids through the length of the park. For more information or to make a reservation with Catawba River Expeditions, call (803) 327-9335 or click here

In celebration of the floral phenomenon, Landsford Canal will host its annual Lily Fest from noon to 5 p.m. May 20. Festivities include live entertainment on the porch of the historical log house, food, educational displays and, of course, the blossoming lilies.

The park also offers “Lily Watch,” a weekly online update on the current bloomage conditions. Click here to check it out.

To accommodate the increased number of visitors who come out to view the lilies, the park is extending its regular 9 a.m.-to-6 p.m. hours to 8 p.m. nightly from May 12 through June 10. Admission to the park from May 1 to June 30 is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-15.

Want to learn more about the festival or the park? Call (803) 789-5800 or click here.