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Biking along the Augusta Canal

There’s nothing better than being outside in the Springtime in the South.  Recently my 6 year old little boy, Brandon, and I went for a nice, easy bike ride along the tow path of the Augusta Canal.  We parked at the headgates where the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River meet and the Canal begins.  A nice pedestrian bridge let’s you walk your bikes across the canal for easy access to the flat dirt path.  For a while the bike or walking trail runs in between the Savannah River and the Canal, talk about beautiful scenery.   There is so much to see and take in all around you.  It was fun for Brandon and me to spot the yellow-belly sliding turtles sitting on logs as we rode.  Every we time we stopped for a water break we could see those turtles sunning and just hanging out.  There were so many of them it was hard to keep count.

Another beautiful spot that feeds into the Canal is this waterfall; recent renovations to this area have made getting to this spot much easier and it is as picturesque as you can get.  I would have taken a million photos of Brandon here if he would have just stayed still a little longer!

Brandon and I only rode for probably a mile or so before he was ready to call it quits, but the path along the Canal is 8 miles one way, so if you’re up for a nice little jaunt, up and back is a good ride.  And if you’re a cycling enthusiast you can continue to ride from the Canal onto a couple of different cycling trails.  Bike paths in Columbia County, GA actually lead into the headgates and from the downtown Augusta section of the Canal you can easily access North Augusta, South Carolina’s Greenway.

Anyway you choose to explore it or get out and ride in Augusta on the Canal you’re guaranteed to enjoy the warmth of the season, nature, and create great memories along the way.

Mountain Biking Minutes from Downtown Augusta

Situated between the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal Towpath is one of the area’s best kept secrets.  Chances are many have ridden right past it not knowing this hidden gem is awaiting their arrival.  It winds like a serpentine through the dense urban jungle, only 10 minutes away from downtown Augusta.  And just like a serpentine, it will strike if provoked.  It’s the Augusta Canal Singletrack and it’s poised for your tread.

The Canal Singletrack is a 3-mile, well-established trail that surprisingly enough, few people know exist.  Located next to the Pump Station halfway between the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and downtown Augusta, the Canal Singletrack is one of the CSRA’s most convenient trails.  The trail was built in the early nineties by local mountain bikers wanting a place to ride with out the long, pre-ride drive.  This was before FATS so the closest trails were a 30-45 minute drive (still not bad compared to other areas).  The story is that there were some pre-existing deer trails in the woods and the crew simply built more trail off of the deer creations.  And to this day you will see deer using the trails and hear them slicing through the woods.  Being that space was limited due to the surrounding water, they had to really focus on maximizing trail length per square foot.  

In an effort to create as much fun possible in a small area, the Canal Singletrack is one of the tighter, more technical trails.  It’s full of close radius turns, steep descents leading to nearly 180-degree turns, and every other type of turn imaginable to keep riders on their toes (or fingers on the brakes).  It has a several gulleys to ride along the river, including a nearly 8 ft. deep gulley that riders can dive into at speed and shoot out the other side with only a couple pedal strokes.  But the Canal Singletrack is not all tight turns and gulleys.  For the big ring kings, there’s a nice open area along the retention ponds that allows riders to “open it up.”  This is a great section for setting a top speed record.  Just make sure you’re riding the trail in the correct direction, clockwise on odd days and counter-clockwise on even days.

Other highlights of the trail include a 90 ft. long, 3 ft. wide, elevated boardwalk that was built by SORBA-CSRA (the local MTB club) with contributions from Fred Russell, Mulherin Lumber, and the late Dick Fox.  The boardwalk was constructed as a fix for an area riddled with drainage problems and makes for a very unique riding feature.  There is also a tall, steep set of stairs above the trailhead made from old railroad cross ties that riders can bomb down.  If a physical and technical challenge is desired, try riding straight up the middle of the “stairs” without putting a foot down.

It’s easy to see why the Canal Singletrack is still going strong.  It’s well-maintained, super fun, there’s a good chance for wildlife sightings, it’s near the water, and it’s in the middle of downtown Augusta.  Local mountain bikers are very fortunate to have this type of offering in such a convenient location.  Now that the secret is out, go explore one of Augusta’s hidden gems!       

Blog submitted by local cycling enthusiast Drew Jordan. Thank you Drew!

Augusta Canal Boat Tour

It was a foggy October morning in Augusta, Georgia when we decided to take the kids on their first Petersburg Boat Tour along the Augusta Canal. They loved it!

Jake loves the water – although at 1½ years old everything that is water is “boat.” And William the 3 ½ year old got to be the Captain. The tour guide gave plenty of history that was lost on my two kids, but I enjoyed the stories. The boys were entertained with wildlife we saw – birds and turtles. But of course we kept an eye out for alligators.

There are several different types of tours besides the one hour tour we took – like moonlight tour and a music tour. I know groups have even rented the boats for family reunions and office outings. For more info on the boat tours, history and museum visit the Augusta Canal’s website. Because I know I am missing all sorts of important stuff.

But I have to say our tour was just long enough and the photo of Captain William will last forever!

March Survey's from Facebook Fans

Every Monday we survey our Facebook Fans. Here are some of the results of the surveys from this month.

Where can you find the best slice of pizza in Augusta?

Giuseppi’s (2 votes)

Yo, Pizza (2 votes)

Pizza Central

Pizza Joint (2 votes)

Mellow Mushroom

And the winner is Romas Pizza with 3 votes

What do you like to do in Augusta on a beautiful day?

Go outside and soak up the Vitamin D in my beautiful Hometown. If I could I would walk on Riverwalk.

Play Disc Golf

Take a walk on the Augusta Canal

Ride a bike from 5th Street Marina (you can rent one there) to all points Augusta

Trail running!

Where can you find a good sandwich in Augusta?

Panera Bread

Manuel’s Bread Cafe in Hammond’s Ferry

Sub Station

Inner Bean Cafe

Du Jour on Broad Street (3 votes)

Village Deli (3 votes)

Jones Creek Clubhouse

Walton Way Deli

RSVP (3 votes)

Sandwich City

New Moon Cafe (2 votes)

Casa Blanca Cafe

Hildebrandt’s Food Store

Delta Sandwich Shoppe

Baldinos (3 votes)

Sconyers BBQ

Pizza Joint

And the winner is Boll Weevil with 4 votes.

What is your favorite Masters week event?

I’ve had the privilege of going to the Masters several times for the four days of play and so I would say my favorite is all of it! Just to be able to walk the grounds and be there is quite an experience.

Rock Fore Dough!

We have been several times to the Masters. The entire week is great! We rent our home so others may enjoy the Masters. Some times I want to stay, it is such an exciting week!!! Oh, don’t forget to play Jones Creek. Food at the club house is great too

Aerial Adventures Over Augusta

I recently had the opportunity to get a view of Augusta that few others have experienced – from the sky!  If you have a sense of adventure and aren’t afraid of little planes, you really should check out an aerial tour of the city.

We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to see anything since it was a foggy morning, but fortunately it all burned off by late morning and we were set to go. We checked in with Augusta Aviation at Daniel Field, met our pilot, climbed into our Cessna, put on our headphones and were off! 

Now I will say that the plane is only a 4-seater, so it was a little unnerving at first. But once we were in the air it was so exciting to see our beautiful area and get my bearings with landmarks, that I forgot all about the size of the plane. I was so busy concentrating on figuring out where I was and what I was seeing, that my only thought of the plane was the fact that it was so small it allowed me to easily see things on both sides.

We flew at a pretty low altitude, staying at around 1,000 feet up, which made it easy to spot landmarks. Heather, our pilot, took us over Augusta State University and the Augusta Country Club before looping around over the greenest thing in the area this time of year, the Augusta National Golf Club. Preparations are definitely underway for next month’s tournament, and I could see scoreboards and grandstands up and ready. From there we headed towards downtown before following the Savannah River and Augusta Canal north towards Lake Thurmond. We didn’t make it quite to the lake since we had done several loops over the golf course, but did get a good view of the dam. It was a great flight and I gained a new appreciation for the beauty of our waterways. 

The flights are very reasonably priced, and they even have a Sunset Tour that includes wine and cheese along with the flight over the lake, perfect for a special occasion. I definitely recommend taking the opportunity to experience Augusta from the air and I’m looking forward to doing it again once the flowers start blooming.

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