Congaree National Park vs Yosemite National Park

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Congaree National Park vs Yosemite National Park

“Two of America’s most stunning National Parks, Congaree and Yosemite, offer vastly different landscapes, yet both leave visitors in awe. While Congaree boasts the tallest trees in the Eastern US, Yosemite flaunts its iconic granite cliffs, including the famous Half Dome. Take a stroll through Congaree’s swampy bottomlands, or hike Yosemite’s backcountry to the top of a waterfall- the choice is yours. Whether you’re seeking serenity in the heart of a swamp or the rush of adrenaline from a challenging climb, these two parks have something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your hiking shoes, and get ready for an adventure through two of America’s most breathtaking National Parks!”

Hiking Trails in Congaree National Park and Yosemite National Park

Congaree and Yosemite National Parks both offer scenic hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts of different skill levels. Congaree is known for its Swamp Loop Trail, a 2.4-mile boardwalk through the forest that provides a peaceful and easy hike suitable for families and beginners. The tallest trees in the Eastern US can be found here, and the boardwalk offers a dry and accessible route to see them. On the other hand, Yosemite is famous for its challenging hikes like Half Dome and Clouds Rest, which are strenuous and require a high level of fitness and experience. Half Dome is a 14-16 mile round trip hike with over 4,800 feet of elevation gain and requires permits. Clouds Rest is a 9.5-mile hike with breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley and the surrounding mountains. Both parks offer a range of trails to suit different interests and abilities, making them popular destinations for hiking enthusiasts.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Congaree National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Boardwalk Loop Trail 3862.416 3.9624 Easy loop 4
Weston Lake Loop Trail 7402.964 4.8768 Easy loop 4
Oakridge Trail 10138.842 5.7912 Easy loop 4
Congaree River Trail 15932.466 15.8496 Easy loop 4
Kingsnake Trail 11909.116 6.7056 Easy out and back 3.5
Congaree Bluff Trail 3379.614 5.7912 Easy loop 3.5
Congaree River Blue Trail 75317.112 1.8288 Moderate point to point 5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Yosemite National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail 10299.776 667.8168 Moderate loop 5
Upper Yosemite Falls Trail 11587.248 967.74 Very Hard out and back 5
Half Dome Trail 23818.232 1573.9872 Very Hard out and back 5
Lower Yosemite Falls Trail 1609.34 15.8496 Easy loop 4.5
Clouds Rest Trail via Tenaya Lake 19794.882 948.8424 Hard out and back 5
Four Mile Trail 12070.05 998.8296 Very Hard out and back 5
Sentinel Dome Trail 3379.614 138.9888 Easy out and back 5
Glacier Point Trail 965.604 71.9328 Easy out and back 4.5
Vernal Falls 5954.558 406.908 Moderate out and back 5
Mirror Lake via Valley Loop Trail 9012.304 101.8032 Easy loop 4

Wildlife in Congaree National Park and Yosemite National Park

Congaree and Yosemite National Parks offer different wildlife experiences. Congaree is a bottomland hardwood forest with a diverse array of species, including deer, feral hogs, river otters, and alligators. Over 80 species of reptiles and amphibians call the park home, along with 200 species of birds, including the pileated woodpecker and the prothonotary warbler. Yosemite, on the other hand, is known for its large mammals such as black bears, mountain lions, and deer. Yosemite is also a prime location for birdwatching, with over 250 species of birds, including the California Condor and the Steller’s Jay. Additionally, Yosemite is home to over 1,400 plant species, including giant sequoias and Yosemite Falls.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Congaree National Park and Yosemite National Park. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.


Congaree National Park Yosemite National Park
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron
Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush
American Kestrel American Kestrel
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
Song Sparrow Song Sparrow
European Starling European Starling
American Wigeon Northern Pintail
Green-Winged Teal American Wigeon
American Pipit Green-Winged Teal


Congaree National Park Yosemite National Park
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Big Brown Bat
Big Brown Bat Bobcat
Bobcat Striped Skunk
Striped Skunk Little Brown Bat
Raccoon Deer Mouse
Black Bear Raccoon
Red Fox Black Bear
Mink Porcupine
Common Gray Fox Silver-Haired Bat
North American River Otter Hoary Bat
White-Tailed Deer Long-Tailed Weasel
Virginia Opossum House Mouse
Eastern Red Bat Mountain Lion
White-Footed Mouse Mule Deer
Eastern Cottontail Gray Fox
Eastern Fox Squirrel Wolf
Eastern Gray Squirrel Long-Legged Myotis
Feral Hog Long-Eared Myotis
Northern Short-Tailed Shrew Badger
Least Shrew Ermine
California Myotis
River Otter
Fringed Myotis


Congaree National Park Yosemite National Park
Racer Ring-Necked Snake
Ringneck Snake Sagebrush Lizard
Common Garter Snake Northern Rubber Boa
Common Kingsnake Western Skink
Western Fence Lizard


Congaree National Park Yosemite National Park
Alfalfa Sulphur
American Painted Lady
Red Admiral
Mourning Cloak
Cabbage Butterfly
Checkered Skipper
Variegated Fritillary
Commom Wood Nymph
Gray Hairstreak


Congaree National Park Yosemite National Park
Largemouth Bass Rainbow Trout
Green Sunfish Brook Trout
Bluegill Brown Trout
Golden Shiner Smallmouth Bass
European Carp
Yellow Bullhead
Graceful Catfish
Black Crappie
Brown Bullhead

Beautiful Landscapes in Congaree National Park and Yosemite National Park

Congaree National Park is famous for its towering old-growth hardwood trees, including Cedar, Bald Cypress and Tupelo, that reach heights of up to 140ft creating a unique and beautiful landscape.

Yosemite National Park boasts beautiful landscapes including the iconic Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations, as well as Yosemite Valley which showcases the stunning Merced River, waterfalls such as Yosemite Falls and stunning views of the park’s high country.

Things To-Do and Activities in Congaree National Park and Yosemite National Park

Congaree National Park in South Carolina is mostly known for its diverse ecosystem of old-growth hardwood forests and river swamps. Visitors love kayaking and canoeing in Cedar Creek, as well as exploring the boardwalks and trails throughout the park. Yosemite National Park in California attracts millions of visitors each year for its stunning granite cliffs, including Half Dome and El Capitan, and iconic landmarks such as Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall. Hiking, rock climbing, and camping are popular activities, as well as scenic drives to get a glimpse of the park’s breathtaking views. Both parks offer ranger-led tours, campfire programs, and educational opportunities.

Best Time to Visit Congaree National Park and Yosemite National Park

Congaree and Yosemite are both unique national parks with varying weather patterns. Congaree, located in South Carolina, experiences hot and humid summers and mild winters, with average summer temperatures ranging from the high 80s to low 90s and winter temperatures in the 40s and 50s. On the other hand, Yosemite, located in California, has four distinct seasons with hot summers, cool springs and falls, and cold, snowy winters. Summer temperatures in Yosemite average in the high 70s to low 80s and can dip into the 30s in winter.

Both parks offer different opportunities for outdoor recreation and scenic beauty depending on the season. The best time to visit Congaree for hiking and kayaking is during the mild winter and spring months, while the summer months are best for bird watching. Yosemite is a popular destination for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, and spring offers ideal conditions for hiking and rock climbing. The summer months are the busiest and most crowded, but also provide the best weather for camping and visiting the park’s famous waterfalls.

Family Friendliness of Congaree National Park and Yosemite National Park

Both Congaree and Yosemite are family-friendly national parks, but each has its own unique features. Yosemite has more well-developed infrastructure and a larger variety of activities, including camping, hiking, rock climbing, and scenic drives. Congaree offers a more serene environment with opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and nature walks. Both parks offer ranger programs for children, but Yosemite’s programs are more extensive. When traveling with children, Yosemite may be a better choice due to its wider range of activities.

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