Saluda Shoals Park is a 400 acre park situated along the scenic Saluda River, on the northwest side of Columbia, South Carolina. The environmentally sensitive park offers visitors recreational activities as well as environmental educational opportunities. There is also a popular splash park for children.
Ten miles of paved and unpaved trails wind through the park. Trails are designated for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The scenic Greenway Trail meanders for 2.25 miles along the river. Visitors may bring their own bikes to ride or rent one at the park. Horse trails wind through other areas of the park. A short boardwalk allows visitors to observe a variety of birds and animals in the wetland preserve. Visitors often see herons, ducks, turtles, frogs, and crawfish.
Saluda Shoals Park is a favorite with anglers. The shoals off Corley Island are a great fishing spot. A boat ramp area allows visitors to launch canoes and kayaks. The park also rents canoes, kayaks, and paddling equipment from 9:30am-4pm on weekends and from 9:30am-2pm on weekdays. Rental rates are $23 per hour, $38 for 3 hours, and $48 for all day. Guided paddling trips can be arranged.
Children will enjoy cooling off in the Saluda Splash playground. This zero-depth, interactive water play area is open May-August from 9am-8pm. A separate admission is charged. The park also has a playground.
Saluda Shoals Park’s Environmental Education Center offers nature themed workshops and seasonal activities. Current research projects being conducted at Saluda Shoals Park include water quality monitoring of the Saluda River, native cane research along the riverbank, and mosquito research. There is also an ornithology research project involving Eastern bluebirds and Carolina chickadees. The study tracks the number of Eastern bluebirds that make their home in the park. Other facilities at Saluda Shoals Park include picnic areas, shelters, the River Center conference facility, and the Barking Lot dog park. Groups of youth and adults can utilize the park’s Real Team Challenge Course, with its low ropes course and orienteering course. Professionally trained staff can lead team building activities.
Saluda Shoals Park is located at 5605 Bush River Road in Columbia. It is easily accessed off I-26 at Piney Grove Road or I-20 at Bush River Road. Park admission is $4 per car for residents and $5 per car for non-residents. Separate admission for Saluda Splash is $3 per person. Horseback riders may pay a daily fee or purchase an annual Horse Trail Pass. The park is open daily from 7am-8:30pm in March-October, and from 7am-5:30pm in November-February.
By: Kim Roberts