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Broad/Congaree River: Diversion Dam to Jordan Landing

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Broad/Congaree River: Diversion Dam to Jordan Landing

Skill Level: Moderate
Rapids: Class I
Length: 5.5 miles
Duration: 1.5 - 2.5 hours
Portaging: No
What to Expect

You'll paddle through many shoals and islands, under all of the main bridges, and past downtown Columbia's skyline. However, this does not feel like a urban paddle as you float past wooded islands and rocky shoals spider lilies, and encounter osprey and bald eagles. 

Put in:
Columbia Canal Diversion Dam
Access Details

A gravel road that follows the canal for about a mile leads to the parking lot at the diversion dam. Carry your boat across the diversion dam walkway to the put-in on the other side of the canal. Gate closes at 9pm. 

Take out:
Barney Jordan Landing
Access Details

Double boat ramp with a dock. 

Trip Details

The trip begins just beneath the Columbia Canal diversion dam, and continues through the confluence with the Saluda River, which forms the Congaree River, right at downtown Columbia. This trip is a fantastic way to quickly get 'away from the city'; even though are you downtown, you'll feel miles away. 

This float is great for after work in the summer or an easy but exciting weekend float. Rapids are small, but having someone with paddling experience in your group is suggested for navigating the shoals. The shuttle for this trip is very easy, and you can easily find a good restaurant when you're finished paddling. 

At lower flows, deeper channels can be followed by sticking to the river right. 

Comments (3)

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Brian Hartley
Aug 31, 2019 10:55 pm EDT
The dam is after the second railroad trestle, just before the takeout point. The lock is on the river right and looks like it’s just a wall until you get right up on it.
Jason Selin
Aug 29, 2018 10:00 pm EDT
This is a great paddle when you are looking for a quick river fix! Fun when the river is high or low.
Paula Cumalander
Mar 24, 2018 4:16 pm EDT
If canoeing/kayaking, be sure to go through the LOCKS on river right just after the railroad trestles to avoid the dam that is full of rebar, cement and wood.
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Ole Lady Blue on the Broad River (Credit: Tanner Arrington)
Broad River island (Credit: Tanner Arrington)
Broad River, facing Broad River Rd bridge. (Credit: Tanner Arrington)
Beat the heat. (Credit: Tanner Arrington)
Gervais Street Bridge (Credit: Palmetto Outdoor)
Put in at Diversion Dam
Put-in just below Diversion Dam (Credit: P Cumalander-Frick)
Going through the LOCKS (Credit: P Cumalander-Frick)
Nasty looking dam located beside the Locks (Credit: P Cumalander-Frick)
Trip Resources
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Access Amenities
Parking - Dedicated Lot
Parking - Roadside
Restroom / Toilets
Fee Required
Handicap Accessible
Paddle SC is presented by
Upstate Forever
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor
Rainey Foundation