Hitting the Trails in Capital City/Lake Murray Country
May 15, 2020
From hiking to biking and some spectacular views, the Capital City/Lake Murray Country region offers many opportunities to explore the great outdoors on its trails. We’ve compiled a list of trails offering visitors a place to get active, find peace and explore. The hardest part will be deciding which trail to get on first.
3677 State Park Road, Prosperity
Dreher Island State Park, roughly 30 miles from the state capital, Columbia, provides access to 12 miles of Lake Murray shoreline. There are three trails inside the park for recreational use; these are the Little Gap Trail, Billy Dreher or nature trail and the Bicycle Bypass Trail. The Little Gap Trail is 2.1 miles long and is the most strenuous of the three trails in the park. You will wander up and down through a thick forest of pines and hard words and maybe lucky enough to spot a bald eagle that nests in this area. Visit the park’s website (link above) for hours of operation and admission prices.
9564 Two Notch Road, Columbia
Sesquicentennial State Park, known to locals as a Sesqui, is a spacious green get away. It offers 1400 acres of pines and nature trails that will make you forget you’re close to a bustling city. There are 12 miles of hiking and specifically 6 miles of biking trails. And, when you get tired of hiking, you can rent a kayak or canoe or go on the Splash Pad to cool off.
Visit southcarolinaparks.com for more information.
1317 Hope Station Road, Pomaria
This trail is 10.8 miles long including views from an 1100-foot long bridge across the Broad River. There’s a smart cell phone tour you can access while hiking to learn more about the Dutch Fork history and wildlife. The palmetto conservation organization partnered with Avenza maps to offer an interactive map that does not require an Internet connection. Before hitting the trail download the app onto your mobile device so you can help stay on track while on the trail. Visit PalmettoConservation.org for more information on the peak to prosperity passage and to find more
passages in the state.
5600 Broad River Road, Columbia
Harbison Forest has 18 miles of trails designed for walking, jogging, hiking and bicycling that range from mostly easy to difficult. Parking passes are required for all visitors to Harbison State Forest and can be obtained at the fee box located at each parking area. Proceeds from the parking passes help to maintain and improve the trail system. Click here to view the trail guide. Harbison’s trail map can also be found on the Avenza app. In addition, drinking water and restrooms are available at the picnic area.
West Columbia Riverwalk Park & Amphitheater
Located at the intersection of Axtell Drive and Naples Avenue
The Three Rivers Greenway is a 12.5-mile linear park that is located in the cities of Columbia, West Columbia and Cayce. It is a series of riverfront pathways where the Broad, Saluda and Congaree rivers meet. There are many trails and boardwalks, an outdoor amphitheater, restrooms and beautiful views of the Columbia skyline. Visitors can stroll, jog, bike or blade down the pathways. There are also informational exhibits on the history and habitat of the area along the way. The trails are dog friendly and are also ADA accessible accommodating baby strollers and wheelchairs. This trail also offers a walking tour of the Greenway app.
1120 Fort Congaree Trail, Cayce
The 12,000-year history park is a walking trail as well as a unique archaeological site in Cayce SC. The area had an array of inhabitants including Native American tribes and Civil War soldiers. The park is full of stories and offers something for explores of all ages. On Saturdays, guided historic walking tours are offered. The volunteer guides will take you on a walk along with beautiful trail filled with stories. This trail is open for hiking and biking and is accessible 24/7.
100 National Park Road, Hopkins
Unfortunately, the Congaree National Park is currently closed. However for future information, there are a number of trails in the park including The Boardwalk Loop Trail (2.4 miles) The Bluff Trail (1.7 miles), The Sims Trail (3.2 miles), Weston Lake Loop Trail (4.4 miles), Oakridge Trail (7 miles), River Trail (10.4 miles), Kingsnake Trail (11.7 miles), Bates Ferry Trail (2.2 miles), Long leaf Trail (0.3 miles) and Fork Swamp Trail (.6 miles). Because the majority of the Congaree National Park lies within a floodplain, the terrain is mainly flat with only slight elevation changes. The majority of the trails begin from the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, which offers parking and restrooms. Trail maps are available at the center 24/7.
Click here for the self-guided boardwalk tour.
By: Jayne Baker