Hopkins, South Carolina

Positioned in South Carolina, only a half-hour’s drive from the capital metropolis of Columbia, Congaree Nationwide Park preserves the biggest remaining old-growth bottomland forest in North America. Congaree isn’t precisely a swamp, as a result of more often than not no standing water covers the ground, however the Congaree River floods the realm about 10 instances per 12 months. This lesser-known and uncrowded park combines the watery atmosphere of the Everglades with the towering old-growth forests of the West. It’s a small 41 sq. miles, however you possibly can’t discover it by driving. Mountain climbing and canoeing are the one methods to immerse your self within the primeval forest.

photo taken at Congaree National Park

Ranging from the customer heart, the flat, simple 2.4-mile Boardwalk Loop Path is the apparent introduction to the park. The primary part is elevated as a lot as 6 toes, whereas the second part rests immediately on the forest ground, providing a detailed view of mysterious cypress knees. Alongside the Bluff Path (1.7 miles), you’ll uncover a forest of pines made distinct from the bottomland forest by only a tiny elevation distinction. In late Could, you possibly can observe synchronous fireflies there inside a extra relaxed atmosphere than at Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park.

Paddling on Cedar Creek supplies you with a novel perspective and a memorable expertise. The park gives free guided canoe excursions, or you possibly can hire from outfitters in Columbia.

Climate At Congaree Nationwide Park

Congaree has a moist subtropical local weather. Within the spring and fall, temperatures (within the 70s) and humidity (three inches of month-to-month precipitation) are average. Summer time is sizzling (within the 90s) and humid, with frequent thunderstorms (4.5 inches of month-to-month precipitation), and brings numerous mosquitoes. Winters are gentle (daytime 50s, snow and freezing evening temperatures attainable). At the moment, flooding, favorable for images, is the most certainly to happen, however the timber are naked.

Photograph Expertise

In Congaree, open views are comparatively uncommon, so more often than not you’ll be photographing deciduous forest scenes with the extra artistic prospects supplied by water. Reasonable wide-angle to telephoto lenses are sufficient. Even if you happen to come when the forest isn’t flooded, you possibly can nonetheless discover water in creeks and lakes. In dry circumstances, my favourite spot is Weston Lake, an deserted channel of the Congaree River the place I photographed timber rising out of the water, emblematic of the South. The Boardwalk Path ends there, however to search out extra viewpoints, I continued alongside the shores of Weston Lake on the 2-mile Weston Lake Loop Path. On that day, with variable climate, I waited for a cloud to obscure the solar and decrease the distinction in order that the timber again within the forest could be seen, including a little bit of depth to the {photograph}. OP

Greatest Occasions To Go to

Spring and autumn have nice climate. Within the early spring, you’re extra more likely to discover the forest flooded whereas contemporary leaves start. Probably the most lovely time is in late autumn, with fall colours peaking from late October to early November. The forest is most simply photographed on cloudy days. On a transparent day, chances are you’ll need to {photograph} early within the morning or late within the day when the distinction is lowered.

Contact: Nationwide Park Service, nps.gov/cong/index.htm.

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