Length: 1.2 miles /Difficulty: Easy
We loved our first visit to Landsford Canal State Park, but the first time we visited the flowers of the Rocky Shoal Spider Lilies weren’t in bloom. The sight of the flowers in bloom was more spectacular than any photo could capture though. This is the largest congregation of the flowers to view them at. I’m a little speechless as to why parks like Landsford Canal and Devils Fork in South Carolina aren’t instead named after the endangered flowers that live there. Oconee Bell State Park and Rocky Shoal Spider Lily State Park don’t sound too bad.
Before I get to the flowers I want to talk about the beautiful sights along the trail. There was a lot of wildlife out when we went in mid-May. We saw turtles lounging on rocks, a crane stoically standing over the river and snakes! The way to the spider lilies overlook is an easy 0.6 miles. The out and back trip is 1.2 miles all together.
I don’t want to move on though before pointing out something ridiculous I shouldn’t ever see. We spotted a snake on the way to the overlook. The snake slithered off the trail and into the woods where we watched as it moved along. A couple walking past asked what we were looking at. We’ve had other people in the past walking trails ask the same if we’ve spotted an animal. Always, people have looked and moved on. This guy decided to pursue the snake instead. DO NOT touch wildlife nor follow it. It DOESN’T want your company. I didn’t stick around because this guy was looking for attention, so we left him to look like an idiot in front of his girlfriend. I will never in the future disclose what animal we’ve seen to another passerby hiker again for fear this would happen.
Rocky Shoal Spider Lilies, or their scientific name, Hymenocallis coronaria, are only native to Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. There is supposedly a population in North Carolina too though I haven’t found any information on that.The Lillies were discovered in 1783 by William Bartram when they grew in more rivers. We don’t even have a percentage of the mass loss of shoal lilies. At Landsford Canal they grow in the last part of the free flowing, Catawba River. The hydroelectric damming of rivers has destroyed their habitats. Without rocky, shallow moving water to bulb in, they die. The blooms themselves only last for one day.
The Rocky Shoal Spider Lillies were nearing bloom the day we visited. I wish I could get better photos of the flower itself, but you would have to paddle for a closer look. I’ll have to make plans to grab a kayak in the future for this. I brought binoculars though, and we peered from the overlook at the beautiful blooms. Landsford Canal State Park is $5 for adults, $3.25 for seniors and kids 6-15, and kids under 6 are free. It is open daily until dusk.
After our trip to Landsford Canal State Park, we dropped into Rock Hill, South Carolina to grab a little food and relax. Rock Hill is around 30 minutes from Charlotte down I-75. Legal Remedy Brewery is a brewpub that has a huge selection of brews on tap. We enjoyed a couple of pints with the IPA and the Strawberry Vanilla IPA being some of my favorites.