National parks offer no favors to your trail dog but he has a couple of things working in his favor at Congaree National Park (www.nps.gov/cosw/) that protects the largest contiguous area of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the United States. One, this was a national monument before becoming, only recently, a national park and two, not many people know about this South Carolina gem.
More than 52 million acres of floodplain forests have been decimated in the southeastern United States in the past century making Congaree’s 2,000 acres of virgin forest special indeed. The marquee trail under the 150-foot canopy of pine, tupelo and bald cypress is a two-mile boardwalk loop that lifts hikers above the flooding of the Congaree River that occurs an average of ten times a year. The park’s forests harbor 20 state or national champion trees including loblolly pines, hickories and bald cypress.
Dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk but a Dog Trail has been created to take your best hiking partner through the swamp. Dogs are permitted on all other park trails, unimproved roads and primitive campgrounds. This is all flat, easy going for any dog on uncrowded trails - and a marked canoe trail explores the meandering Cedar Creek. Not to be missed for travelers in this part of the country.
RETURN TO JUNE 2009 NEWSLETTER
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