Spider Lilies – Landsford Canal State Park

Landsford Canal spider lilies

Landsford Canal State Park, a section of the Catawba River just south of Rock Hill, S.C., is one of the best places to view the rocky shoals spider lilies in bloom late May through early June. You can kayak on the river to see the lilies up close or walk the nature trail along the river. The peak this year will likely be this weekend, June 8 and 9. It’s also your last chance to visit the park this year, as it’s only open from May 11 to June 9.

Our Kayak Adventure Comedy

Todd and I went out in his tandem kayak a few weekends ago when the lilies were just starting to pop out. I wanted it to be a delightful trip down the river on a gorgeous day. We got the gorgeous day right, but the rest was a comedy of errors.

First, Todd had a knee injury that limited his mobility and left him frustrated with … well, me. The man does not like to be coddled, but I couldn’t control my motherly instincts with him hobbling around on a bum knee.

Second, we didn’t anticipate how the tandem kayak would ride in that particular stretch of river. It has lots of rocks, and the water level was a bit low that day. We packed a small cooler with waters and loaded ourselves into the two-man kayak. A cooler and two adults (and mama isn’t light, y’all) puts a kayak low in the water, so the rocks beat us up.

Lessons: let a man be, and pack light.

Handy Information for YOUR Adventure

You’ll need to plan ahead for kayaking. The put-in and take-out points are about one mile apart. One option is to take two cars and park them strategically. The other option is to leave someone with the kayaks and send someone else up the nature trail back to the car. If you don’t own a kayak, My Aloha Paddle Sports and Fitness in Cornelius rents them for $50 per day. They’re already booked out for this weekend, but file that link away for later.

Spotting the take-out point from the river is a little tricky. It’s marked with a small sign, but you have to look for it. Once you enter the canal, keep going straight and look for orange streamers tied to the trees.

If you’re walking to view the lilies, you don’t need much preparation other than walking shoes, bug spray and a camera with great zoom or some binoculars. The overlook is about 50 to 100 yards from the nearest large stand of lilies. The walk from the parking lot to the overlook is about two-thirds of a mile.

Take cash. Admission is $5 per adult and $3 for children ages six to 15. Children under five years old get in free.

It’s Worth It

It really was a beautiful day, and I love being out on the water with nature. I’ll be better prepared to enjoy it next year.

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One response to “Spider Lilies – Landsford Canal State Park

  1. Kayaking sounds like a good idea. We experienced the walking version, as part of an elementary school field trip … about an hour of walking, just to see some clumps of crap like 100 yards away, in the middle of the river. Not recommended. Of course, the best part was watching the teachers stress out about dealing with the rowdy kids, and the relief that our own son was not the most unruly of the bunch.

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