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Kayak the Broad River in Columbia

Marie McAden Marie McAden
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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The Broad River might run through the middle of Columbia, but you'd never know it paddling along a stretch of the waterway just a few miles from the state capitol. It's all pines and hardwoods up both sides of the river without so much as a house or high-rise in sight.

I joined a group of kayakers last weekend on a float trip two miles up the river from Harbison State Forest. Although the water level was a bit low, we had no trouble paddling over shallow areas and around jumbles of large rocks in the river.

With the current pushing us along at a leisurely, steady speed, it didn't take a whole lot of strokes to make our way downstream. I thoroughly enjoyed drifting past the forested landscape, mesmerized by the sound of my paddle pulling through the quiet waters.

And then we hit the Class 1 rapids. OK, they were barely ripples, but it was exciting nonetheless. It was no trouble getting past the fast-moving water, even in a 17-foot sea kayak.

It took us just over an hour to reach Harbison State Forest's Middle Creek Landing, marked by a pink plastic ribbon hanging from a tree. With the water level being on the low side, it was a little tricky pulling our boats up the embankment. Before you plan your trip, I recommend checking with the Harbison Forest rangers' office to be sure there is sufficient water in the landing channel.

To use the Middle Creek Landing as a put-in or take-out, you'll need to fill out a float plan at the Harbison Education Center. There is no fee to use the landing, but you are required to purchase a $5 parking pass available at fee boxes in the parking areas.

For more information on Harbison's landing facility, click here or call (803) 896-8890.

Marie McAden
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.