On the Congaree River, this park is the largest portion of old-growth floodplain forest left in North America. Some of the trees are the tallest in the Eastern US, and the Boardwalk Loop is an elevated walkway through the swamp.
We took our daughters (5 and 8) along for this hike. My husband measured it at 4.4 miles exactly (as the NP itself states). This was a nice hike along a well-worn, well-marked trail. We went the last weekend in February and saw hundreds of birds along the trail... especially in portions which bordered Cedar Creek. Robins, cardinals, and more! This was a great hike! The length is just perfect for medium-sized kiddos who want to explore the great outdoors. Take sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water! Snacks are a must too!
According to Congaree National Park the Oakridge trail is a 6.6 mile loop. After reading various All Trails reviews I thought this might be off, and it sure was! We found the trail to be approximately 7.33 miles. In all, the condition of the trail wasn't bad.... although there are still many downed trees directly on the trail from 2016's Hurricane Matthew. Individual trees are easy to get past, but in some areas there are multiple trees down and you have no choice but to detour around them. The trail is relatively well marked, in some areas almost too much so (blazes less than 6 feet apart) when you consider that some of those signs could be better placed... especially in areas where there are many downed trees. Overall it was an enjoyable hike. We started around 11am and were finished by 1:45. Enjoyed the quiet and walking through the different areas (some more swampy, others more wooded). We saw some birds, but no other wildlife. Did see sign of wild hogs. I would not attempt this trail during the summer, I can imagine the mosquitos are pretty bad as there are many areas where standing, stagnant water would be an issue.
Trail seemed to have seen better days and hasn't been very maintained in a long while since the hurricane. Very large fallen trees make it difficult to navigate. Found myself paused and searching for trail markers to get back on the trail. Almost impossible to get to Oakridge from Kingsnake unless you know the trail really well. Difficult for my dog with lots of thorn branches covering the trail.
Other than all the cons, still a beautiful trail and very out of the way of disturbances. Little to no elevation changes and lots of different angles views of the swamp.
This trail actually had a mosquito meter and it's well worth it to check it out. This is a swamp so after a good rain it is wet and slippery. Beautiful flora and fauna and loads of wildlife. Feral hogs so keep an eye on your pups. Had one get completely out of her harness to have a look and we had to plough through muck to go get her. There is a boardwalk and a trail, in fact a few well marked trails and some are quite long. The boardwalk is no dogs allowed. We really enjoy this trail but it is clearly for hiking, not a breezy walk amongst the trees but have a look. It's well worth it.
I hiked this trail in June of 2016. You walk on the boardwalk, passing by bald cypress trees, tupelo trees and loblolly pine trees. It is a beautiful area.
Here is a short video I made of the pictures we took along the hike.