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Bluff Trail

Easy
 3.0 (1)

The trail departs the visitor center and loops through a young forest of loblolly and longleaf pines.


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Map Key

1.0

Miles

1.6

KM

Point to Point

203' 62 m

High

166' 51 m

Low

44' 13 m

Up

49' 15 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

4%

Max Grade (2°)

Dogs Unknown

Features -none-

Description

The Bluff Trail provides you an opportunity to hike underneath a young forest of loblolly and longleaf pines. The trail starts at the visitor center and heads north along the elevated boardwalk. At roughly 0.25 miles, you come to an intersection. If you go to the left, you follow the Longleaf Trail to the Longleaf Campground where there are toilets and picnic tables, as well as overnight camping if you have a permit.

The Bluff Trail goes to the right and meanders underneath the canopy of a second growth pine forest. You can see evidence of prescribed burns and notice that the canopy is very high. The trail is a flat, singletrack dirt trail at this point and is marked with brown tags with the number 1 on them. At roughly 0.5 miles, you cross the Caroline Sims Road, which provides access to the Sim Trail and serves as a shortcut back to the Boardwalk.

Continuing straight ahead, the trail continues underneath the pine canopy. If you have gone through other portions of the park, you'll notice that this area is considerably drier than the areas that are south of the Boardwalk Trail and is less prone to flooding. At 0.65 miles, the Bluff Campground comes into view. You can stay at one of the sites if as long as you have a reservation through Recreation.gov.

The trail winds through the pine forest until it meets up with the Boardwalk Trail. If you go to the left, you can follow the Boardwalk Trail Loop out toward Weston Lake. If you stay to the right, the Boardwalk trail works its way back to the Visitor Center where your hike started. This hike is easily hiked in reverse if you want as there is little to no elevation gain.

Flora & Fauna

The Bluff Trail is known for the loblolly and longleaf pine trees that dominate the landscape. While there are some deciduous trees in the area, the pine trees definitely dominate the landscape. Oak, maple, and holly trees can be seen the closer you get to the Boardwalk trail as you approach the floodplain. Mushrooms can be seen growing along the trail on fallen trees.

The area is popular with birders, and you'll see squirrels and other small mammals scurrying through the woods.

Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#23270

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#167

in South Carolina

#23,270

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Photos

The trail is a narrow singletrack trail that runs through the pine forest. Pine needles provide a cushion for walking.
Jan 26, 2020 near Gadsden, SC
The start of the Boardwalk Trail on a wet fall day.
Mar 13, 2016 near Gadsden, SC
The Caroline Sims Road runs through the woods back toward the boardwalk trail. Made up of gravel, this road meets up with the Boardwalk Trail.
Jan 26, 2020 near Gadsden, SC
The Bluff Trail runs underneath a canopy of pine trees. Outside of the flood plain, this area may not be flooded when other trails in the park are closed due to the seasonal flooding that is common there.
Jan 26, 2020 near Gadsden, SC
Elizabeth and Cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda) at Congaree National Park.
Jan 13, 2016 near Gadsden, SC
Bluff Campground panorama - a wonderful 6-site wide-open clearing about 1 mile (10min) walk from the Visitor Center.
Jul 30, 2016 near Gadsden, SC

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Check-Ins

Dec 27, 2019
David Hitchcock
Hiked out to the campsite and back. Not heavily traveled, so you could get some peace and quiet.
Nov 16, 2017
Mike Wallen
Jun 12, 2017
Holly Gallagher
Apr 26, 2017
Kyle Bitters
Jan 6, 2017
Monty Montan
Aug 12, 2016
Ethan Walter
1mi — 0h 20m
Jul 30, 2016
Adam Zerda
A short hike from the visitor's center will take you to the very nice, wide open Bluff Campground. 1mi — 0h 12m