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Mountain Biking in Augusta

Mountain biking is a great activity to explore the area around Augusta.  With over 100 miles of single track, you can take your pick from all sorts of trail options.  This weekend we decided to check out a new section of Bartram trail that connects two parks at Lake Thurmond.  The new section extends the length of the original trail to 18 ½ miles one way from West Dam Park to Wildwood Park while passing by Spring Lakes and Petersburg Campground.  Depending how far you want to ride on this in and out style of trail, you can start at any of the four trailheads.  We met up with friends at the trailhead just outside the Petersburg Campground to ride the new section that extends towards Wildwood Park.

The new trail is considered intermediate level and was designed with exciting banked turns, dips, and jumps.

With all those fun features and the occasional beautiful view of the lake while meandering through the woods, this trail could easily become a favorite of mine!

If you’d like to ride Bartram Trail or explore some of the other trails in the area check out SORBA-CSRA, our local mountain biking club. Their website  and forum are great resources for biking information and directions.

If you need to rent a mountain bike during your visit, contact Chain Reaction Bicycle Shop at (706) 855-2024.

See you on the trails!

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!

Camping in Augusta

There are so many places in and around Augusta to experience the great outdoors. One of my favorite places is Lake Thurmond at Clark’s Hill. It is only about 25 minutes from downtown Augusta. We went camping there towards the end of October this year and the weather was fantastic! Our campsites were at the Petersburg Campground which is run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The campground has a lot of facilities available to campers, like laundry rooms. It also has access to the William Bartram Trail which is great for hiking and mountain biking. The campsites are huge, leaving plenty of room for multiple tents or a medium sized camper. We picked a really nice time of year to camp since it was pleasant during the day and chilly enough to enjoy a campfire at night. Many of the sites are right on the water, so you can really enjoy the view and all the fall colors. The best part is that you aren’t far from civilization, so if you forget any essentials or need anything you can take a quick trip to town and get anything you might need.

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