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.
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.
Double boat ramp with a dock.
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.