Frequently Asked Questions


Where does my group meet Palmetto Outdoors prior to starting our trip?

Unless otherwise specified, all trips begin at the West Columbia Riverwalk and Amphitheater.  The address is:

131 Alexander Road West Columbia SC 29169 

The West Columbia Riverwalk and Amphitheater is located just off of Gervais Street Bridge (Highway 1), on the West Columbia side of the river.

Where should I park?

Parking can be done at the West Columbia Riverwalk, the grass lot on Alexander Road, or at 435 Meeting Street, 29169. None of these places will tow. We are expecting parking conditions to improve by the Spring of 2018.

 

Can I park at Stone River?

There are certain days where Stone River, the venue hall next to our booth, allows our customers to park in their parking lot. It is $10 and it is only available on certain days. If your vehicle is at Stone River on a day the parking lot is not available then there is a chance it may be towed.

Will I have to sign up if I have already reserved online?

Yes, once you have arrived at our booth location you must check in and let our booth attendants know that you have arrived, one person from the group must sign a lease agreement, and one set of keys must be left in exchange for the equipment being rented out.

When are shuttle services offered?

Palmetto Outdoors offers regularly scheduled shuttle services from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  During these dates, shuttle times are as follows:

Monday- Friday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM, shuttle leaves* at the top of the hour

Saturday: 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM, shuttle leaves* at the top of the hour

Sunday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM, shuttle leaves* at the top of the hour

 

For shuttle services before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, please call and check on availability.

 

*= Shuttles leave at the top of the hour and cannot be held for late guests.  Guests who have not completed the necessary sign up information before the top of the hour will be asked to wait for the next shuttle.  Unfortunately, there are no exceptions.

 

What items should I bring for a tubing or kayaking trip with Palmetto Outdoors?

-We suggest wearing anyting you're comfortable getting wet (bathing suit, shorts, t shirt) as well as protective footwear.  It is important to have some type of foot protection for enterting and exiting the river (sandals, crocs, water shoes, flip flops).

-Some type of sun protection is also important, such as sunscreen or a hat.

-Many groups will also bring a cooler with lunch or drinks.  These groups should either bring their own tube to float the cooler down, or rent an extra Deluxe tube to use as a cooler tube.    Palmetto Outdoors does not allow styrofoam coolers or glass bottles on any trips.

What items should not be brought on river trips?

Do not bring anything that you are not okay getting wet or possibly lost.  This includes phones, keys, wallets, etc.

Styrofoam coolers and glass bottles are also not allowed on any river trips.

Palmetto Outdoors is not responsible for lost or damaged items.

Are coolers allowed on river trips?

Yes, coolers are allowed on river trips, with the exception of NO STYROFOAM COOLERS and NO GLASS BOTTLES.  Palmetto Outdoors will not allow any styrofoam coolers on the river due to their fragile nature.  It is recommended to rent an additional Deluxe tube for your cooler to sit in and bring rope to tie it to other tubes.

How long are the river tubing trips?

Tubing trip lengths are greatly affected by several factors such as river levels and the size of your group.  Generally trips are about 3 hours in duration and 2.5 miles in distance.  Please plan accordingly as this time length is just an estimation and may change.

What happens if it starts raining while I am on the river?

If it starts raining while you are on your trip can continue to float through it. If it starts lighting we recommend getting off and waiting for the storm to pass. The trip is two mils and it takes about two and a half to three hours and there are no guides or get off points along the way. 

What if there is bad weather on the day I planned my river trip?

There is no charge for cancelling a trip*.  Just let us know beforehand that you will not be coming for your trip.

If conditions are still safe, Palmetto Outdoors will generally still offer shuttles even if it is raining.

If you are unsure of weather conditions, it's always a good idea to call and confirm that shuttles are being offered.

How long is the walk to the river? 

There is a brief walk from where the shuttle drops you off to the river. It is 200 yards of hills and there are some rocks along the path. 

Is there storage for my personal belongings during my river trip?

Palmetto Outdoors can hold on to car keys, using our key check system.

All other items should be stored in your vehicle.

Are there age limits for children?

Yes there are age limits for children for our tubing trips.  Children must be at least 10 years of age to participate, due to the whitewater rapids on this stretch of river.  For children younger than 10, we suggest renting a tube and floating along Riverwalk where there is calm water.

Do I have to wear my life jacked during my river trip?

Palmetto Outdoors suggest that all guests wear a life jacket at all times.  People who are not wearing their life jacket, or do not have a life jacket with them, are subject to a fine issued by DNR.

What is the average temperature on the Lower Saluda River?

The temperature of the Saluda River varies throughout the year but during the months of May, June, July and August the river will reach its warmest.  During these months the water temperature will average between 65 and 75 degrees which is dependent on the volume of water being released from the Dreher Shoals Dam that supports Lake Murray.  

What is the average temperature on the Broad River?

The temperature of the Broad River varies throughout the year but during the months of April, May, June, July, August and September the river will reach its warmest.  During these months the water temperature will average between 80 and 90 degrees due to miles of unrestricted watershed that has ample time to warm up considerably.

What is the temperature of the Congaree River?

The temperature of the Congaree River varies throughout the year but during the months of May, June, July, August and September when the river will reach its warmest.  During these months the water temperature will average 75 degrees depending on that day's water releases from the Dreher Shoals Dam which supports bothLake Murray and the Lower Saluda River. Inflow from the Saluda River can drastically effect river temperatures due to the strong currents and swift rapids, making it difficult to forecast river conditions downstream on the Congaree.  Typically a river user takes USGS readings from the Broad (02162035) and Saluda (02169000) gage towers, located north and northwest of Columbia, just before meeting at The Three Rivers confluence.  By averaging out the data for both upstream tributaries, a river user will have a much better sense of the temperature in surrounding waterways.

What is the general range for water levels on the Broad, Saluda and Congaree rivers?

Previous Years Streamflow Data for May through August

 USGS Gage   River Name   Lower Level   Higher Level   Average Level   Flood Stage 
02162035

Broad

 200 cfs 

 2,000 cfs  900-1,000 cfs   100k cfs 
02169000

Saluda

 600 cfs   2,000 cfs  800-950 cfs   18k cfs 
02169500

Congaree

 800 cfs   4,000 cfs  1,400 cfs   150k cfs 

* United States Geologic Survey (USGS) real-time streamflow database for South Carolina waterways

What types of rapids are on my trip?

The Lower Saluda River has generally calm water, with sections of Class I and Class II rapids.  A Class II rapid consists of waves 1 foot to 1.5 feet tall, with small whitewater crests on top of the wave.

The Congaree River has calm water for the entire length of the trip.  We oftentimes run this section of river when the water on the Saluda River is too high.

If you'd like to learn more about the classifications of rapids, click on this link for the American Whitewater Organization https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/safety:class1benchmarkrapids?

When does equipment need to be returned by?

All equipment (tubes, kayaks, life jackets, paddles, etc) must be returned to Palmetto Outdoors by 7:00 PM the same day as rented.  A late fee will be issued to EACH piece of equipment that is returned after 7:00 PM.

If we have our own tubes, can we ride the shuttle?

Palmetto Outdoors offers shuttle services for guests who have their own tubes or kayaks.  There is a fee per person and per piece of equipment.  For specific prices, check under the "Shuttle" tab.

There is no public river access at the Riverbanks Zoo.  All people who want to use the Zoo's river access must do so through an outfitter.

Are military discounts offered?

Palmetto Outdoors offers discounts for active military. 

A service member may upgrade from a Standard tube to a Deluxe tube for no extra charge (valid per military ID).

or

A service member may receive one free Deluxe cooler tube for their entire group.

 

Are group rates available?

Group rates are not offered on weekends (Saturday/Sunday).

The specific date and time affect the possibilites of group rates.  Call for additional details.

Which trips include a shuttle service?

Shuttle services are offered on multiple trips.  Standard tube, deluxe tube, Saluda kayak, and Congaree kayak trips all include a shuttle service.  

Can I follow the shuttle with my own tube?

Where the shuttle drops individuals off is private property. Only Palmetto Outdoor volunteers and individuals who are on our shuttle may access it.

If I do a grab and go where can I park up stream?

There is no public parking upstream and where our shuttle parks is private access only. We look forward to conditions improving by 2018.

After my trip is over where will I go to get my keys back?

Once you have completed your trip and turned in ALL of the equipment you can collect your keys at the booth where you dropped them off.

 

Can I bring my dog?

Yes, we do allow dogs to go on our shuttle as long as your provide a life jacket for them and they must get a deluxe tube.