Three Rivers Greenway

South Carolina

19 Reviews

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Three Rivers Greenway Facts

States: South Carolina
Counties: Richland
Length: 19.4 miles
Trail end points: Riverfront Park North, 4122 River Dr (Columbia) and Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, 1120 Fort Congaree Trail (Columbia)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6402171

Three Rivers Greenway Description


The Three Rivers Greenway occupies most of the waterfront real estate through Columbia, South Carolina. The many segments of the trail run along the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers. The trail is divided up into the Riverfront Park, Saluda Riverwalk, Cayce/West Columbia Riverwalk and Amphitheater, and Granby Park Segments.

About the Route

Columbia’s 4-mile Riverfront Park segment—the northeastern leg of the greenway’s Y—follows the towpath of the historic Columbia Canal. The park is also part of the developing 500-mile Palmetto Trail, South Carolina’s longest pedestrian and bicycle trail. This segment includes a bike-share station, a picnic shelter, overlooks with benches, and views of a canal diversion dam. From the northern endpoint, the trail immediately crosses the canal to a strip of land separating the canal from the Broad River. Shortly thereafter, the trail splits, with one side continuing to follow the canal south and the other side hugging the Broad River. In 0.8 miles, the two reconnect at a stairway. From there, the trail continues 1.5 miles to another crossing of the canal at the park’s amphitheater. Across the canal, the trail reaches the Laurel Street parking area and visitor center in 0.2 miles. If you don’t cross the canal, the trail continues 0.2 miles south to this segment’s southern end. 

The 3-mile Saluda Riverwalk, a mix of lighted concrete path and timber boardwalk, comprises the northwestern leg of the Y and follows the Saluda River between I-26 and I-126. From its northernmost parking area on Candi Lane, trail users could head north for just over a mile along the tree-lined waterfront (note that there is no parking at the end of the trail). Alternatively, head south from Candi Lane and follow the riverwalk past the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in 0.6 miles. In another 0.9 miles, the trail reaches the southern end of this segment with a half-mile loop around the Sanctuary at Boyd Island, a 7-acre oasis featuring metal sculptures, picnic tables, and an observation deck. Plans are in place to connect this riverwalk to the Riverfront Park segment with a bridge. 

Along the 8-mile Cayce/West Columbia Riverwalk and Amphitheater segment, trail users can fish for striped bass in the Congaree River, have lunch at the picnic pavilion, learn about the area’s history through historical markers, and zigzag through dogwood and oak trees. This segment of the trail leaves off at a parking lot for the riverwalk on Riverside Drive. From there, the route follows the western bank of the river, reaching the West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater in 0.6 miles, then enter Cayce in another half mile as you approach the US 321 underpass. Trail users will find restrooms and a drinking fountain in 1.7 miles at H. Kelley Jones Park. From there, the trail parallels the river another 1.5 miles before heading west and meandering along Congaree Creek to the trail’s end at the Cayce Tennis & Fitness Center. 

The Granby Park segment leaves off from the eastern bank of the Congaree River in Columbia and provides an easy, deeply shaded 0.5-mile path through the park with overlooks of the river, a picnic area, benches, birding opportunities, and signs describing local flora. Exiting the park on Gist Street, the trail deviates from the river, traveling through residential neighborhoods and connecting to the 1.5-mile Mill Village Riverlink at Heyward Street. The Riverlink offers a quiet walk or ride on city streets and sidewalks as it passes old mill buildings and traverses Olympia Park, ending at Lincoln Street and the University of South Carolina’s Greek Village. 


Parking and Trail Access

The Three Rivers Greenway runs between Riverfront Park North, 4122 River Dr (Columbia), and Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, 1120 Fort Congaree Trail (Columbia), both of which offer parking.

Parking is also available at:

  • 650 Candi Ln (Columbia)
  • 109 Alexander Rd (West Columbia)
  • 2601 Riverland Dr (Cayce)

See TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Three Rivers Greenway Reviews

Don’t bother with the canal section

It is not connected to the other side of the river. Live and learn, I will start further down the trail on the west side of the river next time.

Too narrow for bicycles

Great walking trail, well maintained, but a bit narrow for bicycles, especially on the bridges and board walks.

Beautiful trail

Took my dog and we had a blast. It was so peaceful and serene. There are markers with information on them about the land which was interesting to read. It’s paved all the way through the trail we went on which was nice. Definitely will go back!

Can't wait to explore all of the trails along the Three Rivers Greenway. The Cayce Riverwalk is AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL.

Can't wait to explore all of the trails along the Three Rivers Greenway. The Cayce Riverwalk is AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL.


Great Trails

Very nice paved connection of multiple trails!

Save Your Cycling

The trail is well maintained but very short. The advertised 12.5 miles is not achievable the portion we were on was only 2.5 miles. The rangers in the area were of no help and much more involved in leaf blowing that any directional help. The farthest North trailhead (The broad River Canal Riverfront Park) was not an area I would recommend to anyone to leave their car unattended. Several cars with people just sitting, no bike racks and evidence via broken glass of a recent car breakin. The trail “terminated seemingly” at the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park. This was a very nice area, but designed for walkers and joggers. Absolutely no literature to help find your way across the bridge and on to the other side of the canal. If you are a walker or jogger, don’t miss this trail option. If you are looking to do some the time unloading and move on......

Columbia Canal Trail, portion of Three Rivers Greenway

What a lovely historic trail, with a lower and upper portion. There was also many rangers around working on different areas and so many people I felt very safe even on my own. The upper portion is fully lit and both portions are paved. The lower along the Broad river side is sidewalk style the upper is paved along the canal with signage on the original 1800 canal and lock keepers as you walk. This portion is close to 3 miles, out and back from my parking spot at far end of the trail in the Broad River Canal Riverfront Park. This portion runs along the east side of the rivers. The full Three Rivers Greenway trail appears to have never fully reopened and ends/starts at some Canal Riverfront living condominium and stores. There is free parking and an entrance at both ends of the Canal Trail. The official start appears to be from the parking lot at Blanding and MacDougall St. The trail is fenced closed at that point to continue south but runs north to where I started. The Three River trail appears to continue across the bridge at Klapman Blvd by the map, but I did not see a safe way to cross the bridge to access the other side of the rivers. I also note that I could see the trail where it used to continue to Klapman Blvd along the river but could not access it. It would be nice to know if Columbia ever plans to repair the full trail but there was no notifications anywhere. If i try the west portion I'll be sure to post on it also. 4 stars instead of 5 due it being a bit short for a bike ride, I like at least 7 miles but you could do it twice and get a more reasonable ride that way. It's a great walking spot and could give you a nice easy long walk/hike with spots you could stop to have a lunch along the canal.

Nice but, 8.5?

First, this is a nice paved path.
For the majority of the trail, there is a sand path on the side.
It mostly level with only a couple small hills.
Nice scenary while in between the river and the canal, especially the spillway and the locks at the top end.
Enjoyed seeing a Great Blue Heron and a couple Cormorants, but no alligators. Just seeing one on the other side of the canal would be cool.
Second, the trail is marked every 1/4 mile, but only 2.5 miles long?
Not sure where the 8+ miles are as on the website. Made 2 passes to make up for the shortness.

So if in the area, as always, and looking to get a couple miles in, give this trail a try. You should enjoy it.

Good ride

Very good ride. Went from the gervais st bridge to the lylees st entrance. I plan to ride the whole thing but I was on a time crunch. Great for roadbikes but Its also fun for mountain bikes. Has a few features you can take offroad, over some roots & dirt, sand, rock. You can skip some of the windy turns if you want or you can take them, up to you. A fair amount of people can be on the trail though so be careful. Great views overall and its a beautiful ride.

Too Narrow for Biking, Fine for Walking

The trail is only 8 feet wide and often has a lot of pedestrian traffic, many of whom do not know how to share a trail. I have had to stop and walk my bike several times. Do not recommend for riding.

Not ready for prime time

As of April 2018, much of the trail is still closed with no obvious signage explaining how to access the open sections. We could not find a printed trail map in Columbia, and those found online are deceiving and do not accurately reflect the closed sections. We walked the full 2.5 miles that was open north/upstream of Laurel Street to the top of the canal. Great parking, clean restrooms at each end, very interesting history, and great views of the river. The trail south/downstream from Laurel Street was gated, and also closed at the south end except for a few hundred feet. Too many walkers and too short to be a suitable bike ride, but recommended as a walk. The plan to expand the path and connect the various sections looks wonderful, but not suitable for a bike outing yet.

no thru access

trail in need of repair as there are a few places that are barricaded off and so impossible to ride the trail. Please post this on site for future trail riders who will not be frustrated and disappointed with their attempt to ride the full 8plus miles. Thanks


Went to ride this trail this weekend and found the road to the upper parking area closed with police barricades. Then drove into Columbia to get on it at the Riverfront park and was told by ranger that the trail was closed due to the flooding last year. No mention of this was on the trails official website that I could find.

Love it!

Nice meandering trail with plenty of shade and picnic spots by the Congaree River.

Very pretty!

After 30 years, I returned to Columbia from Atlanta, and found this trail to bike. The website says it's 9.5 miles, but it's more like 3 or 4. Perhaps that's combined with both trails, but it's sooooo pretty! The ads weren't kidding, smiling faces, wide open spaces. ...everyone speaks on the trail. Not in Atlanta. Happy to be back.

"Muddy" 3 Rivers Trail

On 5/10/2013 the flooding from the river has receded several feet below the path. It left areas covered with wet, gooey, stinky mud. Also, there are some areas with piles of debris left from the flooding. Crew are working to clear it but it going to need a lot of trail volunteers to help get it back to the beautiful trail condition of last year.

If you are biking, go SLOW or you will slip over.

Walking-you can expect to go through areas of several inches of mud.

Riverfront Park and Columbia Canal separate from Greenways

The path along the Columbia Canal is actually separate from the West Columbia Greenway and Cayce Greenway on the other side of the Congaree River. We did both the same day. The West Columbia and Cayce sections are narrow and primarily used by walkers. Bike riding is possible. Once one gets away from the parking areas and concentration of walkers it is more enjoyable. It is quite scenic with views of the river.

The Columbia Canal path is wider and much more conducive to biking. It is much flatter and straight compared to the sometimes winding greenways across the river.

An enjoyable afternoon of riding or walking is possible on either section.

Beautiful Trail

Can I just say this is one of the prettiest trails my husband and I have traversed! We started out riding the trail. Close to the rivers the trail winds and you must bike with caution to avoid walkers and curves but along the canal side trail is straighter and visability better. Lots of historic markers. A must see. Will definitely go back!

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