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The two RV Gypsies
at Riverfront Park & Canal
North Entrance
4210 River Drive
Columbia, SC 29201
November 9, 2020

Built around the city's original waterworks, Riverfront Park opened in 1983 for recreational usage.  This park was planned around the site of the world's first electrically operated textile mill and the city's original waterworks and hydroelectric plant, the oldest one in the state and it is still operating.

The park, which separates the Historic Columbia Canal and the convergence of the Congaree, Saluda, and Broad Rivers is approximately 167 acres.

There are two entrances and although they are connected, those not wishing to walk the entire trail, can experience the park from either entrance. Each entrance offers a different experience. The two RV Gypsies first entered from the North Entrance via a narrow dirt road, lined with beautiful trees.

Columbia Water Tower
dirt road and fall colors Columbia Canal Embankment Repair sign
Alligator warning sign Columbia Canal
Hydro Spillway warning sign Hydro Spillway

Leaving the parking lot and crossing the walkway to the other side of the canal, the two RV Gypsies studied the lock system which is no longer in use.

dam lock system and Karen Duquette

The photo below on the left shows the walkway over the canal.
The photo below on the right is a view from the upper walkway.

dam lock system the canal

The photos below show each side of the upper walkway shown above.

Hydro Spillway Hydro Spillway

Then the two RV Gypsies walked around the historical buildings and noticed the nice, clean bathrooms with regular toilets and sinks plus water bowls for pets. There were historical and informative signs everywhere.

restroom - historical building spider lily sign

The sign below says that in 1891, a diversion dam provided water for the Columbia Canal, built across the Broad River. The dam, 1,2021 feet long was made of pine and granite. Additional locks and gates were added. In 1900 it was called the Broad River Dam. Now it is referred to as the Canal Diversion Dam.

Canal Expansion sign sign about Canal Locks
dangerous water sign sign about Canal Boats

A short, but somewhat steep paved hill led the two RV Gypsies down to a nice area to enjoy the dam and views around the area.

panorama photo of the dam
canal diversion dam and scenery canal diversion dam and Lee Duquette
canal diversion dam and scenery canal diversion dam
canal diversion dam tree branch stuck on the dam

Below: Houses across the way - barely seeable in the first photo.

fall colors, Broad River and houses houses along Broad River
Broad River and fall colors

Below: View looking back up at the historical building (now a restroom). The two RV Gypsies walked back up the path and took a photo of the paved pathway by the canal.

historical Building canal and paved path

The two RV Gypsies decided not to walk the easy, nicely paved trail on the levy between the canal and Broad River (shown in the photo above) until the return trip, when they learned a lot of history from the historical signs along the way. This is actually known as part of The Three Rivers Greenway Trail which goes from the South Entrance to here at the canal diversion dam. This is part of a beautiful series of riverfront pathways at the confluence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree rivers.

The two RV Gypsies took another look down at the dam, then they took the path on the other side of the main path. At first it was paved, but then it became a dirt trail.

Canal Diversion Dam
Lee Duquette on the trail Lee Duquette on the trail

Occasionally the two RV Gypsies were able to take short, side paths to get closer to the river.

tree stumps and twigs vines in the trees
Panorama of Broad River and the dam

Karen Duquette wanted to feel the temperature of the water. (It was quite cold). She hung onto the large tree branch to hopefully keep her from falling into the river.

Karen Duquette Broad River
Broad River and the dam Broad River and the dam
Lee Duquette Lee Duquette
Canal Diversion Dam Canal Diversion Dam
Karen Duquette Karen Duquette

Eventually, the two RV Gypsies got a glimpse of a bale of turtles.

bale of turtles bale of turtles

Then the two RV Gypsies arrived at the bridge that crosses over Broad River and saw more turtles.

bale of turtles bridge and turtles

The Broad River is a principal tributary of the Congaree River, about 150 miles long, in western North Carolina and northern South Carolina in the United States. Via the Congaree, it is part of the watershed of the Santee River, which flows to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Congaree Riverkeeper’s geographical scope includes a 22-mile stretch of the Broad River, from the Parr Shoals Reservoir located in Newberry County down to its confluence with the Lower Saluda River, located within the City of Columbia.

The Broad River bridge structure
bridge structure Karen Duquette

The two RV Gypsies went under the land side of the bridge and up an embankment, then up a steep walkway to a sidewalk by the road.

sidewalk by the road
Karen Duquette The Two RV Gypsies

Sticking her camera lens between the rails of the fence, Karen got photos of the dam in the far distance. Then she was able to zoom in on the dam and the turtles.

Karen Duquette and the Borad River
Broad River, fall colors the dam

Below: A bale of turtles on the rocks. Plus two turtles on a rock. Notice that one turtle seems to be "hugging" the other turtle. How Cute!!!

turtles turtle hugging
2 turtles conversing turtle

Heading back to their car in the parking lot, the two RV Gypsies enjoyed the easy paved trail by the canal. They stopped several times to read more signs.

fall colors back to the walkway
Karen Duquette
sign about Lock Keepers sign about Woodland Native Americans

Below: Last peeks at the dam through the trees.

dam dam
dam birds

look below

go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies Continue on to page 2 at Riverfront Park and Canal - the South entrance - the Pump House - Hydraulic Turbine House & Plant, monuments, sculptures and more.