N.R. Goodale State Park, located just outside Camden, offers plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Acquired from Kershaw County in 1973, this 763-acre refuge is a beautiful place to hike, canoe, and kayak. Wood ducks make their home in the forest, and the skies are filled with herons, mallards, hawks, egrets, and gulls.
South Carolina boasts 47 state parks. Goodale was named for a local florist who was primarily responsible for securing the land. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent through the park office, adjacent to the pond. There is abundant room to explore the pond and its three-mile (round trip) canoe trail. Paddles and life-jackets are available.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their own small watercraft as well. While electric motors are permitted, they may startle wildlife. The pond hosts a vast array of vegetation, which provides homes for fish, turtles, and the occasional alligator!
Adams Mill Pond
Below, the sun begins to set behind Adams Mill Pond. The pine forest surrounding its bank awaits exploration via the Big Pine Tree Creek Nature Trail.
Cypress Trees dot the waterscape at Adams Mill Pond. Although they are considered an evergreen (or conifer) because they produce cones, these trees will lose their foliage during the fall and winter months. In Greek mythology, cypress represented Hades, the god of the underworld.
Adams Mill Pond and Big Pine Tree Creek overflow with lush vegetation. White water lilies bloom from the water, surrounded by fields of red and green lily pads. Lily pads are typically green on the side which faces the sun. Wind and wildlife occasionally turn them over, revealing the deep red underside and lending additional color to the pond’s surface.
Big Pine Tree Creek Nature Trail takes a 1.7 mile loop through the forest at N.R. Goodale State Park. Markers denote native plants and trees, which include Loblolly Pine, Water Oak, Flowering Dogwood, Tulip Poplar, Eastern Red Cedar, and many more.
The wide trunks of the cypress trees in Big Pine Tree Creek serve as the perfect home for small plants and flowers. Big Pine Tree Creek was named for a fallen tree, once used by the Kershaw Indians to cross its waters. The creek winds through a cypress forest, opening occasionally to fields of swamp grass.
The Community Building at N.R. Goodale State Park offers a beautiful site at which to host weddings, parties, and other events. Picturesque views lend themselves to capturing the special day in photographs.
Reflections on Goodale State Park
Photographer Heather Viola says of her photo below: “I go to Goodale to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Helps me to get my head on straight to finish the day and to get my tasks in order. I love the variety of wildlife and plants this park has to offer and the water features. The trails are very easy to walk and to unwind on. This is a little 140-acre gem located in Camden to escape for a time.”
Contributor Teri Leigh Teed says of her photo below, “South Carolina is a state blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, and Goodale State Park visited at sunset provides some of nature’s best scenes. A tranquil, peaceful sanctuary located just outside this state’s oldest inland city of Camden, Goodale State Park is a favorite among photographers. Sunsets here beckon artists to capture the moment when the sun backlights the horizon and the trees, and creates silky reflections of the surroundings on water. To be able to walk freely and safely in such a beautiful natural setting is something to celebrate.”
Goodale State Park: Our Sources
1. South Carolina Picture Project, Personal Visit, 2010.
2. We would also like to thank Russ Zahler, Assistant Ranger at Goodale State Park, for his help in clarifying several of the facts on this page. You’re the best, Russ! 🙂