Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve
Open from 6:00AM-10:00PM
Old State Rd Cayce,SC
Phone:(803) 734-3753 or 734-3916
The Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve is an amazing natural and historic site just minutes from downtown. The preserve is made up of 627 acres that include four highly significant archaeological sites. They include a South Appalachian-Mississippian Indian village, a 10-12,000 year old Paleo-indian campsite, the 18th century town site of Saxe Gotha, and another site that spans all of these time periods.
Beginning in the early 1900s, clay was dug from pits for the Guignard Brickworks, with peak production in World War I. The clay pits now form several ponds, home to all kinds of wildlife. The area is home to a variety of snakes, turtles, bobcats, deer, hogs, hawks, water fowl and other birds. You might even see a small alligator. Hikers can walk an easy 2.5-mile trail loop in about 1 and ½ hours and view the ponds where duckweed and lily pads flourish and teem with wildlife. Much of the trail is elevated on boardwalks so you don't have to worry about getting too close for comfort. Spanish moss hanging from the trees gives you a feeling of being in a coastal region.
The Guignard Brickworks Trail, which runs through part of the preserve has been designated by the White House as a Community Millennium Trail. This trail, as dozens of Millennium Trails throughout the nation, reflects community history through natural settings.
There are plans to develop more miles of walking trails through the property, as well as interpretive areas and benches along the way. A canoe trail has been initiated, with planned expansion in the near future. There are also plans to build a couple of public parking spots near the trail.
Currently, you will need to park on the side of the road. There are no restrooms. As always, bring plenty of water and bug repellant. You may see some small alligators if you are quiet!
To get there, take I-77 to Saxe Gotha exit, turn right onto 12th Street Extension, follow to Godley Street, turn right on Old State, take right fork. The road will change to a dirt road. The trailhead is past the water treatment plant. It is marked with red and green trail signs.