|Here is the Youtube movie covering this trip.|
Write up to follow - hopefully
The marked canoe trail on Cedar Creek extends from Bannister's Bridge to the Congaree River. Vehicle access to Cedar Creek is provided at Bannister's Bridge and at Cedar Creek Landing, and the Congaree River is accessible outside the park at the bridge on Highway 601. Using these three access points, several different trips are possible:
CEDAR CREEK LANDING
Upstream or Downstream then Return
Time required: variable
For canoeists with only one vehicle, the best option is to put-in at Cedar Creek Landing and to explore the creek either upstream of downstream of the parking area. This portion of Cedar Creek is beautiful and tranquil. Its banks are lined with cypress trees that form a graceful canopy over the creek's dark waters. While it is also possible to explore Cedar Creek downstream of Bannister's Bridge, the creek is wider, easier to paddle, and more scenic in the vicinity of Cedar Creek Landing.
BANNISTER'S BRIDGE TO CEDAR CREEK LANDING
Distance: 7 miles
Time required: 4-6 hours
For canoeists with two vehicles, this stretch of Cedar Creek makes for an enjoyable and satisfying day trip. The creek is narrow at first, twisting through brush and low forest, but it soon widens and flows past oaks and loblolly pines of near-record dimensions. At the halfway point, the creek drops under a bridge. Off to the right is Wise Lake, a former channel of the Congaree River. The lake can be visited, via a short channel, when water levels are high. After another 2-3 hours of easy paddling, the iron bridge at Cedar Creek Landing will come into view.
CEDAR CREEK LANDING TO THE 601 BRIDGE
Distance: 20 miles (7 miles on Cedar Creek, 13 miles on the Congaree River)
Time required: 12-14 hours
Canoeists with two vehicles may also explore the wilder, eastern section of the park and float down the brown-water Congaree River. This works best as an overnight trip, so stop by the Visitor Center for a free backcountry permit before undertaking this adventure. About two miles downstream from Cedar Creek Landing, an old, hand-dug canal provides a short-cut through the neck of one of the creek's meanders. Two miles later, Cedar Creek makes a hard bend to the left and is joined by Horsepen Gut, a prominent tributary. Mazyck's Cut, a short channel that leads to the Congaree River, is three miles further ahead on the right. Here a wooden sign points toward the river and three trail markers indicate the shortcut. Since the remainder of Cedar Creek is not cleared or marked, it is recommended that canoeists follow Mazyck's Cut to the river. Once on the Congaree, clear floating awaits the canoeist for the 13 miles to the 601 bridge.
After Hours Campground
Open All Year
This primitive campground has porta-johns, fire rings with grills, and picnic tables. There are 7 sites. Each site is limited to 8 campers. Please obtain a free camping permit and a list of regulations at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center prior to camping.
Open All Year
Camp in the wilderness of Congaree by hiking or canoeing. Please camp at least 200 feet away from backcountry trails and water and 500 feet away from park buildings and the boardwalk (see NPS camping regulations). Camping is primitive with no facilities. Obtain a free camping permit and a list of regulations at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.
Open All Year
Designated group camping area. Sites have fire rings and picnic tables. There are 3 sites that can accomodate up to 40 campers. Camping is primitive with no facilities. Obtain a free camping permit and a list of regulations at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.