Tuesday, March 17

Columbia, SC: Riverfront Park

I really enjoyed our first week of Spring weather last week. One or two days even felt like Summer, I think we hit 90 degrees.

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Mid-week I went to Columbia's Riverfront Park to walk on the paved trail between the canal and the river.

"Riverfront Park opened in 1983 for recreational usage of the land where the original waterworks for the City of Columbia was situated. This was also the site of the world's first electrically operated textile mill and the hydroelectric plant, the oldest one in the state, is still operating.

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The park, which separates the Historic Columbia Canal and the Congaree River , is approximately 167 acres and is just west of Huger Street . A popular jogging/walking trail runs two and one half miles along the linear park and offers wonderful views of the river. There is also a beautiful brick amphitheater as well as a self guided walkway by the old parts of the water plant."



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Patti was on Spring Break, so I gave her a shout out. Within minutes, look who comes strolling down the parking lot. If it isn't Little Miss Thang herself with her tricked out bike.

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As we crossed the canal, I explained to Eva the purpose of a canal and how it's different from a river. She quickly pedaled out of hearing distance.
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Columbia's lucky enough to have three rivers. The Saluda and Broad come together to form the Congaree. It's taken awhile, but the city is starting to capitalize on these waters for tourism and recreation. I recently found out that many northern university rowing teams come down here for spring training on a three mile stretch of the Broad.


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There are scenic overlooks with benches and tables where the trail brushes up against the river. Eva pulled over, secured her bike on the bike rack and marched out onto the overlook.

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What a view. This stretch of river contains a lot of rapids and big boulders.
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The paved trail is lighted and has emergency call boxes available. There is no water along the trail, so bring your own bottle. There is a water fountain at the trailhead which is usually working, but sometimes not. There is little or no shade on the trail, the peak of summer can be brutal. Spring and Fall are the best times to visit or any evening around sundown.
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I've heard that fishing, canoeing and kayaking is permitted, but I haven't seen any or done it myself. I've also heard that this park has access to the Palmetto Trail, but again, I didn't verify that.

Located between the canal and the river, to the left of this photo, is the brick amphitheater and a grassy park. Both Riverfest and Greekfest are held here. Outside of the park a lot of construction is going on. Both commercial and residential property is coming available as this area continues to grow.
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As we raced along the canal, a turtle swam beside us. Every few feet, we'd pull over and watch for him to surface. Those turtles swim surprisingly fast!

The park's restrooms are open seasonally. There is a playground opposite the park on the other side of the parking lot.
The park is located at the west end of Laurel Street in downtown Columbia. Take I-126 into Columbia then exit onto Huger Street. Go south on Huger Street two blocks, then turn right onto Laurel Street. Follow Laurel Street to the main parking lot.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice commercial Val you ought to be paid for that! Been there, lovely park but yes, HOT in the summer.

Driftwood's Spouse said...

Driftwood just got back from his daily walk in an adjacent state park. He went 9.7 miles. There is an old lock and towpath that they have sort of preserved for historic purposes.

The Chenango River runs next to the park. Driftwood takes his camera with him and has taken some nice shots in the park. Maybe someday you will one of his photos in the Reader Submitted Photo of the Day. Stay tuned!

Zippy said...

You should be in the Chamber of Commerce!

Nice tour.

Poof said...

If the Chamber of Commerce pays, then I'll take it. I really could use a paying job.

Drifty walks 9.7 miles? No wonder he's so grumpy.