Take a day trip to Landsford Canal State Park and see river spider lilies

Landsford Canal State Park is about an hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. I am a park aficionado, and Landsford is one of my favorites. It has nature, history, water, trails and a place to picnic (best part) on 448 acres. Two features that make this park unique are the rocky shoal spider lilies that grow in the rocks of the Catawba River and the remnants of a canal system from the 19th century.

Photo 2 Credit VMI (1)

Donald Oneppo has been the park ranger at the park for 37 years. As you can imagine, he knows everything about the park and loves to share his knowledge.

Photo 3 Credit Landsford Canal State Park Staff

Rocky Shoal Spider Lilies

The park is home to 22 acres of rocky shoal spider lilies, one the largest populations in the world. There are only 53 places that these lilies grow – Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

Spider lilies bloom typically from the second week of May through the second week of June. The website updates their progress. The annual Rocky Shoal Spider Lily Festival is Sunday, May 15 from Noon – 5 p.m. Seven-hundred to a thousand people attend the event.

Photo 4 Credit Landsford Canal State Park Staff

Canal System

This canal is part of four canals that were built in South Carolina between 1820 and 1835. Educational displays describe in detail how the system worked with locks, donkeys and boats. Remains of the mill, stone bridges and lockkeeper’s house are still visible.

Photo 5 Credit VMI, Landsford Park Display


Photo 6 Credit VMI

The nature trail is a flat dirt path along the Catawba River that leads to the Spider Lily Overlook. The roundtrip walk is 1 ½ miles. There are stops along the way to play on the rocks in the river, view an Eagle’s nest, read displays or just sit and relax.

Photo 7 Credit VMI

The canal trail is a 2 ½ mile roundtrip with roots and rocks on a narrow path through the woods. It features a close-up view of the canal system, allowing you to walk in a lock with stone walls on either side.

Photo 8 Credit VMI


Here are other activities to do while you are there:

  • Put in your canoe or kayak on the river shore. The park recommends only experienced boaters navigate the rocks downstream and that beginners head north for flat water.
  • Fish for brim, bass, catfish or carp. Must have SC fishing license if over 16.
  • Picnic at one of the several tables or reserve the shelter.
  • Sit in a rocking chair at the log cabin built in 1790. It is available for special events like family reunions, weddings and business meetings.

Admission, hours 

Bring cash/exact change for fees. They use an envelope system at the park.

May and June: $5 adult, $3 children 6-15 years old, Free 5 and under

All other months: $2 adult, Free 15 and under

Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. 2051 Park Drive, Catawba, South Carolina   29704

Photos: Vanessa Infanzon and Landsford Canal State Park Staff