Hitting the Trails in Lake Murray Country

June 1, 2024

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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.

On the trail at Dreher Island State Park.

Dreher Island State Park

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.

Sesquicentennial State Park

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.

The Palmetto Trail – Peak to Prosperity Passage

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.

The kids love hiking at Harbison State Forest.

Harbison State Forest

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.

The views of the river are stunning along Columbia’s riverwalk.

Three Rivers Greenway in Columbia

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.

12,000-Year History Park

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. 

Visiting Lake Murray Country, Lake Murray, Conagree National Park, South Carolina Travel, Family Travel
The oversized trees at Congaree National Park are amazing to see!

Congaree National Park

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.

Kids in Parks TRACK Trails

Kids in Parks is a FREE, national program that connects families to the outdoors through hands-on exploration. Self-guided TRACK Trail activities and smartphone e-Adventures turn any outing into a fun-filled, discovery-packed adventure. TRACK your adventures to earn prizes along the way! Check out the trails in our region




[Originally written by Jayne Baker; Updated by Kelly Hughes]