“step back in time”
The 627-acre preserve is loaded with history. Archaeologists have found tools, pottery, arrowheads, and other evidence that people have lived in and around the preserve for nearly 12,000 years. On adjacent property, earthworks still remain where Confederate soldiers dug in as General Sherman's troops headed to Columbia in 1865. Beginning in the early 1900s, clay was dug from the pits here for the Guignard Brickworks. The clay pits now form several ponds, home to all kinds of wildlife. Hikers can enjoy a loop though the woods which is several miles long and goes by many of the ponds and historic features. Alligators and Spanish Moss, which are not normally found in the midlands, may be seen here.
It’s only a few minutes off of I-77, but it is hidden. GPS took us directly to it, just know that you’ll pass a large steel manufacturing plant and a neighborhood on the way.
The trail was a bit muddy, so I’d recommend having something to wipe / clean your shoes with afterwards. The preserve is not staffed, so you are free to roam and read the signs provided. The trail is clear (though muddy) and is marked well. Signage on site warns of alligators, snakes, etc. but we didn’t encounter any. There are also signs noting that certain parts of the trail may flood during heavy rains. Given the state of the walking path and the surrounding areas, this may not be the best stop for small children who tend to stray from your side.
Overall you can’t beat the price (FREE!) and it’s a nice place to stretch your legs if you aren’t afraid of getting a little bit dirty! :)
Went here for a trail run break during our road trip, really beautiful, and the perfect trail running loop, some technical bits, but not too much. Alligators in their natural habitat, so we kept stopping our run for the scenery and to look at the gators. Hard to believe it's so close to civilization.
Pretty during rainy season.
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Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve
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