Granby Park Features Quietest Section of Columbia’s Riverwalk

By:Marie McAden

Date:12/3/2014

The Three Rivers Greenway in Columbia’s Granby Park was the first section of trail to open in the popular Midlands riverwalk system. But 16 years and nine miles later, it remains the quietest section of the waterfront pathway.

Tucked behind the historic Granby, Whaley and Olympia Mill villages, the park features 24 acres of ancient floodplain forest running alongside the Congaree River. From the parking lot, the paved, lighted pathway descends to a canoe launch offering paddlers access to the 47-mile tributary formed by the confluence of the Saluda and Broad rivers.

At this point, the trail takes off in two directions. The segment veering to the right ends just a short distance away. Eventually, the pathway will be extended to Gervais Street and the section of the riverwalk that runs along the Broad.

The left fork winds through the woods for a half mile following the old towpath of the Columbia Canal built in the 1820s along a natural ravine near the river. In its heyday, the canal provided a direct water route between Upstate settlements and the towns on the fall line. Historic stonework from the canal is still visible today.

Visitors will find a number of benches and swings along the trail to sit and enjoy the view of the scenic river and its shoals. As you reach a railroad bridge across the Congaree, the trail turns east through the woods before exiting back into civilization.

At the point the sidewalk ends, you can take Whaley Street through the historic Granby Mill Village. At the end of the block, take a left to Catawba to circle back to the entrance of the park. The entire loop is about 1.25 miles, and the section that runs through the park is easily navigated by strollers and wheelchairs.

Granby Park also features an additional half mile of off-path trails for mountain bikers and runners, along with a restroom designed as a “saltbox” Mill House circa 1898.

The park’s main entrance is located at the west end of Catawba Street off Huger Street in downtown Columbia. 

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