The Amazing Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies In Full Bloom At Landsford Canal State Park Is A Sight To Behold

Posted on |

Lansford Canal State Park’s Rocky Shoals Spider lilies bloom by the thousands for just a few weeks. It’s the largest stand of these lilies found anywhere. While this spectacle of mother nature isn’t the only reason to visit Lansford Canal State Park, it is one of the most popular. The Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies only bloom for a few weeks a year. Plus, the state park is home to the largest population of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies in the world, so it’s a bucket list item for nature lovers. So, we have all the info you’ll need to get a peek at them. 

Landsford Canal State Park spider lillies in bloom
Landsford Canal State Park Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies

Enjoy a Weekend Away While You Explore Landsford Canal State Park With Our Guide To York County, SC

Find a Rocky Shoals Spider Lily: Catawba River

Catching a glimpse of these beautiful flowers isn’t impossible, but it will take a little bit of planning and spontaneity. High water levels thwarted my attempts at seeing the lilies in 2020 at the Catawba and bad weather. Lily season is so short, I just had to make it happen. In 2021, I was determined to share this with our readers! With a little help from the SC State Park Lily Watch Updates page and better weather these past few years, and we finally made it during peak bloom! 

I believe the Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies are best viewed up close. For that to happen, you will need to paddle to the middle of the river. The only way to do this is to BYO kayak and be an experienced paddler. Unfortunately, time restrictions didn’t permit me to bring our kayaks on this trip. If you have a kayak of your own and would like a guided tour to join, The Catawba Riverkeeper group offers them for $25 per person. You can choose to participate on dates that include a kayak in your ticket, or bring your own for a cheaper price.
2024 Dates: Saturday, May 25 and Sunday May 26, 2024 – 10 AM and 3 pm | Saturday, June 8 and Sunday June 9th, 2024 – 10 am – 3 pm

If you are going to paddle the river without a tour, be warned that it is not for novice paddlers. This isn’t a “Break in the new paddler” type experience. The Catawba River within the park includes a canal system with Class I and borderline Class II rapids (with sufficient rain, class III is possible). If you are used to navigating the flat water of Upstate lakes, you could find yourself in a bind. For experienced paddlers, the put-in is located at the top of the second parking area after you drive past the playground and take a right. 

Trails at Landsford Canal State Park

The Landsford Canal State Park offers some wonderful trails that have visibility of the lilies. The lilies are viewable from a viewing platform on the shore after a short hike. There are two trail options to choose from. The shorter trail through the woods, or the longer more scenic riverside trail. To access the trailhead, you’ll park in front of the playground area and take the path past the cabin and to the right. 

  • The Canal Trail
    When you come to the Kids In Parks (more on that later) activity station, you will take the trail to the right. The 1.5 mile Canal Trail follows the 200-year-old ruins of a stone canal and mill site that ran to the river and made it commercially navigable from 1820 to 1835. Hence the name of the park. This is a shorter trail to the viewing platform that is level and easy. Hiking from the Kids In Parks sign to the viewing platform is roughly 20 minutes. Due to exposed tree roots, this is NOT a stroller-friendly trail.
  • The Nature Trail 
    You will want to follow the river and head down the trail to the left from the Kids In Parks sign. Several spots make a great photo along the way next to the river. While this is noted as a longer trail by the State Park website, we found both to be approximately 20 minutes one way. This trail is flat and suitable for a sport stroller if necessary. 

The lilies bloom from mid-May to mid-June, depending on the rainfall and the river. To monitor the blooms, head to the Lily Watch Updates page. 

Hiking on the Lansford Canal Trails
Landsford Canal State Park Canal Trail (L) & Nature Trail (R)

Kids in Parks is a Free Program Where Your Kids Can Earn Prizes at Lansford Canal State Park

Kids in Parks recently expanded to several South Carolina State Parks. The program is definitely something your family should sign up for this summer. The program offers a user-friendly website that includes an always-expanding list of nationwide locations considered TRACK trails. It allows families to search for locations near their hometown or even for an out-of-town adventure.

The program includes over 280 TRACK Trails in 12+ states, Washington DC, and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, with dozens of locations just a short drive away in North Carolina and several new locations in South Carolina. There are even activities for you to do in your own backyard! 

Kids in Parks program through the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Kidsinparks

Let your kid earn prizes while they hike!

Kids in Parks

Year-Round Fun At Landsford Canal State Park

Landsford State Park is a great place to explore year-round. The state park doesn’t offer camping facilities. However, there are picnic shelters, and picnic tables on the river banks. Each have their own charcoal grills. There are restrooms, a playground, and if you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of a Bald Eagle. Plus, it is only a 30 minute drive to Downtown Rock Hill, so you can make an epic day trip.

Landsford Canal State Park
2051 Park Drive, Catawba SC | 803.789.5800

Park Admission:
Free for kids 5 and under | $3.50 for kids age 6-15 | $6 for Adults age 16+ 

parks with swings
About the Author
How does Kidding Around® bring readers high-quality and up-to-date content month after month and season after season? We have a dedicated team of writers and editors who regularly update our fabulous content to keep it current and relevant for our readers. This team combs lists of events, heads out into the community to experience new Upstate offerings, and communicates with local businesses. Many of our updated articles and event lists, like this one, reflect the contributions and hard work of multiple Kidding Around® team members.

Sign up for our email newsletter.

Comments are closed.