We put in at the Rosewood Boat Landing in Columbia, SC. Initially we wanted to get to Highway 601 but since it is approx. 40 miles away, we decided to try something shorter. We parked a car at a friends house the night before near the Teepak plant. It's about 19 river miles from the boat landing and about a 30 minute drive, so about halfway. We paddled a tandem 14 Foot SOT Ocean Kayak and packed lunch with plenty of water.
The river was very calm and ranged from around 5 feet deep to 6 inches deep in some places. You will need to keep a sharp eye out to direct the boat into the deeper areas or you will find yourself having to get out and pull it 20-30 feet to free it. The best part about it is that there are no rocks at all after the boat landing. Its a very twisty and winding river with many sandbars to stop for lunch and stretch your legs.
We didnt see too many motorboats but the ones that do come by are forced to go slow due to the variable depths, so not much of any boat wakes. One very important thing I should mention is the sewage treatment facility near the I-77 overpass. It releases treated sewage into the river so it will smell terrible for about 5 minutes or so around the overpass. Besides that, it is a very enjoyable and peaceful trip with a slow current. We pushed of at 9am and arrived at our destination at 3:30. We paddled moderately and stopped at 3 different sandbars for about 15-20 minutes each time. Since this was halfway to Hwy 601, we estimated that it would take us about 12 hours to do the whole thing, which we will probably do in the next few weeks.
Wildlife: Saw several turtles sunning themselves, kingfishers, great blue herons, osprey, and several others. We snuck up on quite a few fish in the 2-3 foot range but dont know enough to identify them. I had heard that there are water snakes as well, but did not personally see any.
What to bring: Lots of water, sunscreen, and a good lunch since you will work up an appetite. We did not experience any bugs whatsoever but bring bug spray just in case. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or also paddle this area.
Paved parking lot
Parking at Rosewood boat Landing is free
Rosewood Drive is Exit #10 on I-77. It dead-ends at the river and the landing is on the right.
Look at the Congaree River on Google Earth or Yahoo Maps to plan your trip