Hiking & Kayaking At Landsford Canal State Historic Park

I just spent a day over Memorial Day weekend hiking and kayaking in Landsford Canal State Park. Roger (aka The Camel) insisted that we get an early start and we launched and were on the Catawba River before 10am.


Our plan was to spend the morning fishing, but after two hours on the water – we landed only a few small brim. So after taking a break on some submerged rocks in the middle of the river, we fought winds from the South and paddled back to the Park.


Roger’s determination to nab a parking spot by the river turned out to be a great call. There were about 40 cars/trucks lining the road when we came off the Catawba River, and the picnic area was packed with people enjoying the Holiday weekend.

So we loaded our kayaks in Roger’s truck, then took a stroll on the Nature Trail/Canal Trail to see the famed Spider Lilies which bloom each May. The platform was full of day hikers and the focus of attention was on two kayakers that were winding through the maze of white flowers. It looked a lot more interesting than paddling upstream to catch two brim, and we decided that we’d shoot the rapids and the islands of wild flowers on our next trip.


Roger suggested a walk to the lower lock which was an insteresting but narrow stone structure. It was built in 1820 by Robert Leckie and designed so that small boats could avoid the rough and often rocky waters of the Catawba River. Due to flooding, the lock did not operate long but it remains one of the few South Carolina canals to survive without structural damage.


An hour later, we completed a 3.0 mile loop hike of the Nature and Canal Trails. The parking area was still buzzing with activity, and there is a reason for that. Landsford Canal State Historic Park is a great place to hike, kayak, or just hang out. If you time your visit when the Spider Lilies are blooming – even better.

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