Nature Trail – Landsford Canal State Park, South Carolina

Length: 1.2 miles / Difficulty: Easy

After hiking the Canal Trail we had the option of taking the Nature Trail back to the parking lot. The Canal Trail and Nature Trail branch off from each other, but they go the same way and one is shorter than the other. The Nature Trail provides a great opportunity to see eagles nesting during certain parts of the year and the trail ends at the popular, Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies overlook at Landsford Canal State Park near Catawba, South Carolina.

The trail is paved for a short way until it turns to dirt and gravel. The Nature Trail continues from the first historical remnants of the historic canal branching off from the Canal Trail. The Nature Trail is an easy 1.2 miles round trip.  It is 0.6 miles one way.

A view of the old dam is visible from the Nature Trail. There are plenty of benches and other spots where people had went closer to the shores to fish or sit. It was a bit odd seeing people sit in the middle of the Catawba River listening to their radios loudly as we hiked by.

This is how most the trail looks. It makes for an easy walking trail, and the trail is level throughout.

Bald Eagles have habitats on the trail in the trees. The Bald Eagle builds their nest from moss and sticks, and they find this to be the perfect place to live because of the easy access to fish for food in the Catawba River. Eagles don’t migrate, and they have one mating partner for life. A female eagle has been laying her eggs here since the mid-1990s. They have hatched each February and flew the coop in May. Can you imagine a bird with a 7 feet wingspan like the eagle? We didn’t see any eagles this day, but ranger led guides give tours when the birds are actively nesting. I also was unaware eagles live in every state but Hawaii.

Once you reach the overlook for the Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies you can continue on the Canal Trail, or turn around to make your 1.2 miles trip.

You can also find the endangered, Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies, in the last free flowing part of the Catawba River in Landsford Canal State Park. They need shallow, rocky, waters to survive, which has been threatened by the hydroelectric damming of rivers. The lilies now live in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. They weren’t in bloom when we visited, but they are in peak bloom in May and June.

The trail is short, but it is worth the walk to catch beautiful views of the Catawba River, and sit and enjoy it’s peacefulness.

The trails at Landsford Canal State Park are apart of the Carolina Thread Trail. These trails and greenways link 15 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina.

We went looking for the shortest trail, Eagle Point Trail, after we were done hiking the Canal and Nature Trail. The Eagle Point Trail is only 0.4 miles, so we thought we could squeeze that one in. Instead we didn’t find it, and it was getting close to closing time for the park. I got this one photo, above, while walking that had a great view of an island in the river.

We enjoyed our visit to Landsford Canal State Park. We met one of our favorite state park rangers here too. He was helpful in providing information about the area. The park is open daily 8 a.m. till dusk. It is $2 per person to visit. Prices are less for seniors, children 6-15, and kids 5 and under are free.

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