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Posts Tagged ‘bike’

Looking for beautiful fall foliage minutes from downtown? Phinizy Swamp Nature Park has great trails to explore!

From the parking lot, follow the Cattail trail to the Visitor Center where you can find maps of the trails.

Once you’ve picked your route, informative kiosks and signs give you the history of the construction of the wetlands, cells as well as flora and fauna you may encounter in the park.

We enjoyed the Beaver Dam trail that led to a bridge over Butler Creek and a boardwalk over wetlands on the Green trail.

The Butler Creek trail that starts at the opposite end of the parking area offers a beautiful wooded trail, views of the swamp from high on the bluffs and other interesting discoveries.

If you go, here are a few reminders.

  • Bikes are welcome on the gravel roads, but motorized vehicles are not permitted inside the park.
  • Pets are welcome.
  • All plant and animal life is protected in the Nature Park; please do not touch these natural resources. For your own protection, do not feed any of the Nature Park’s wildlife.
  • Fishing is not permitted.

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
1858 Lock & Dam Road
Augusta, GA 30906
(706)828-2109

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Several friends and I kayaked down a creek just a mile or two downstream of downtown Augusta on the Savannah River.  What a gorgeous time of year to be out enjoying nature.  The colors were vibrant and nature still full of life.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Around each twist and turn of the creek, we came across new discoveries. 

We hoped we didn’t disturb this fisherman where the creek met the Savannah River.

It was a good workout paddling back upstream to the boat house, but the good company and warm weather helped it fly by.

If you’d like to rent a canoe or kayak and go on your own adventures, you’ve got options!

American Wilderness Outdoors Limited (AWOL) and the 5th Street Marina both rent kayaks and canoes and will even provide drop off / pick up at locations of your choice.  Both businesses have knowledgeable staff who can recommend the best routes for your interests and skill level.  The Savannah River, Strom Thurmond Lake and Bettys Branch are all popular choices. AWOL will also provide guides for groups or you can join their Thursday Night Twilight Paddles in the warmer months. Be safe and have fun exploring Augusta by water!

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The Augusta Canal is one of the most interesting historic landmarks in Augusta. It was created in 1845 to use water power from the Savannah River to power textile mills.  It is the only canal in North America still in use for its original purpose, and there are still buildings in Augusta that use hydropower from the canal.  The tow paths that run parallel to the canal used to be for mules and horses that would pull boats up or down the canal.  Now those paths are used for recreation.  You can hike, jog, or bike the canal trail and experience part of the historic beauty that is still a part of Augusta today.

The trail runs about 7 miles long altogether and has several different points of entry if you would like to take a shorter ride or walk beside the canal.  If you decide to take the trail all the way up to the headgates you will see the Savannah River and other scenic spots! You can even paddle the canal yourself if you have your own canoe or kayak, or you can rent one from American Wilderness Outfitters Limited (AWOL). To learn more about the canal and its history check out the Augusta Canal’s website. If you would like more information on the trails and how to enjoy the canal on your bike or in your own boat, click here.

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What a gorgeous season to be outside enjoying Augusta!  Saturday my girlfriend Stacey and I rode along the Augusta Canal to explore downtown Augusta.  The Augusta Canal Heritage Area has a path you can follow all the way from the Savannah Rapids Pavilion straight into the downtown area. 

Along the way, there were all sorts of things to see. 

The trees are all turning beautiful colors.

As we got closer to town, we passed some of the old mills and historical buildings close by.  Here is Sibley Mill and the Ezekiel Harris House.

We went by a Petersburg Boat tour in progress – they’re a lot of fun too. 

They start at the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center located in Enterprise Mill.  The regular hour-long tours are narrated by story-telling guides who share all sorts of information about history, nature and wildlife. 

Once downtown, we crossed over the Butt Bridge and made our way to Springfield Village Park.

Chicago artist Richard Hunt sculpted the Tower of Aspiration that reaches to the skies above the park.

Just down Broad Street a little ways, another well-known artist, I.M. Pei, designed the pyramid-shaped structure atop this building downtown. 

And of course, no visit to downtown is complete without visiting the James Brown statue!  Here he is all decorated for the Christmas season.

We rode a little further to the Marina to check out the Head of the South Regatta with teams coming to compete from all over the east coast.

While we were down there, we also noticed you can rent bicycles and canoes at the Marina.  That means when you visit Augusta, you can ride bikes and follow our steps or create your own tour of downtown Augusta!

Afterwards, we hopped back on our bikes, totally satisfied by a beautiful morning exploring our hometown.

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