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Top 10 Places to Cycle in South Carolina

Whether you want to bike along the coastline, take in a fantastic cityscape while you ride, or adventure through one of the many scenic wildlife areas of South Carolina, the Palmetto State is an excellent place to bike. Before you get out there, take a look at our top picks for some of the best places to cycle in the state.

1. North Augusta Greeneway – North Augusta, SC

VIew of female cyclist on paved path on a greenway.

The North Augusta Greeneway is a relatively flat rail trail that winds its way through the community of North Augusta for 7 miles. Although it’s in a dense suburban setting, you might be surprised at how quiet and serene the ride is. A natural landscape surrounds the trail with beautiful views and abundant wildlife as it meanders through neighborhoods and thickly wooded areas. Bridges and tunnels divert cyclists around the busy roadways that intersect with the North Augusta Greeneway, making it a great way to explore the area by bike.

For convenient parking and easy access to the Greeneway, head to Riverview Park, where you can leave your car in the amenities center parking lot and head to the trail from there. Or, you can park off Riverside Boulevard, opposite the entrance to the River Golf Club.

Tips: Don’t forget to check out the 1.5-mile Hammond’s Ferry Loop, an extension of the Greeneway that winds through the forest and follows the Savannah River before rejoining the main trail at Georgia Ave and Riverside Blvd.

2. Spanish Moss Trail – Port Royal and Beaufort, SC

View of river front path with river and rivermoss.

The Spanish Moss Trail offers 10 miles of scenic, paved trail in the heart of Northern Beaufort County, South Carolina. Once completed, this path will span a full 16 miles. It follows the route of the old Magnolia railroad line through a marsh, past historical buildings, moss-covered trees (hence the trail’s name), and through tree-lined neighborhoods. Along the way, you’ll also pass several areas with fishing access and enjoy plenty of coastal wildlife viewing. Pets are also welcome on this trail, and pet waste stations are all along the route for your convenience.

The Spanish Moss Trail’s route features six trailheads with parking, so it’s easy to park and access the trail from multiple areas.

Tips: While you ride, look for beautiful wading birds like kingfishers hunting for their next meal on the water.

3. Three Rivers Greenway – Columbia, SC

Two cyclists biking on paved bike path.

The Three Rivers Greenway is a 12.5-mile linear park in Columbia. It features a series of riverfront paths where the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers meet, which explains the name! In addition to offering fantastic views of the city skyline, this trail also features lighted trails, boardwalks, outdoor amphitheaters, and conveniently-located restrooms. If you’re interested in learning about the history and natural habitat of the area, you can stop to read the informational signage along the route. The Three Rivers Greenway is also popular among walkers, runners, and families, so watch for pedestrians while riding this route!

Parking and trail access is available in the cities of Columbia, West Columbia, and Cayce.

Tips: You can also explore this area another way via canoe or kayak! With several access points along the rivers, it’s easy to hop in and enjoy the water.

4. Paris Mountain State Park – Greenville, SC

VIew of Paris Mountain State Park lake with a few people in the lake.

Paris Mountain State Park is home to 15 miles of biking trails that attract mountain bikers from all over the country. Just 7 miles north of the bustling downtown Greenville, you can escape into this gorgeous slice of nature for some lengthy climbs that give way to stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The park offers a variety of trails for cyclists of all experience levels, with plenty of wildlife to see along the way. For a short and easy out and back ride, try the 1-mile Pipsissewa Trail. Or, if you’re up for the challenge, check out the strenuous 3.6-mile Sulphur Springs Trail, featuring a narrow, steep, and rugged route that’s not for the faint of heart.

Paris Mountain State Park is at 2401 State Park Road in Greenville. In addition to having fantastic biking trails, it’s also known for its top-notch camping facilities, making it an excellent option for a weekend trip.

Tips: There is a $6 entry fee for adults and a $3.50 entrance fee for kids. You can bring your pets, but they’re not permitted in or around the cabins or lodging facilities if you plan to stay overnight.

5. Waccamaw Neck Bikeway – Murrells Inlet to Pawleys Island, SC

Close up of pier on lake Waccamaw Neck.

The Waccamaw Neck is a long, narrow peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Waccamaw River, just south of Myrtle Beach. The developing Waccamaw Neck Bikeway currently runs for 6 miles alongside U.S. 17 on the Waccamaw Neck, although the plan is to expand it further. As it stands, the trail winds through the 2,500-acre Huntington Beach State Park, and part of the trail also passes through Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, so you can expect to see lots of local wildlife when you ride this route! Brookgreen Gardens, a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, is another top Myrtle Beach-area attraction worth a side trip.

To access the trail, you can park at Morse Park Landing in Murrells Inlet or Huntington Beach State Park (although you’ll have to pay an admission fee).

Tips: The Waccamaw Neck Bikeway is also a part of the East Coast Greenway, a developing 3,000-mile trail system stretching along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida.

6. Hilton Head Island

Beach at sunset on Hilton Head Island.

Even though Hilton Head Island is only 12 miles long, it boasts more than 100 miles of flat and well-maintained hike and bike trails that crisscross the island. If you don’t prefer the paved pathways, you can explore the island’s many scenic trails through wooded preserves, home to birds, alligators, and other local wildlife. The extensive trail system across Hilton Head Island leaves nothing to be desired, and it’s a fun way to explore the area while you check out other popular attractions, including the Coastal Discovery Museum, Coligny Beach Park, and of course, the endless beaches! Once you spend some time biking here, you’ll immediately understand why the League of American Bicyclists awarded Hilton Head Island its gold status as a “Bicycle Friendly Community.”

You can access the biking trails around the island from various locations. Download a printable map here.

Tips: If you can’t bring your bike or don’t want to, thousands of bikes are available for rent on the island!

7. Anne Springs Close Greenway – Fort Mill, SC

A mother and daughter biking on covered bike path.

Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill is one of South Carolina’s most popular mountain biking locations. This 2,100-acre nature preserve is home to a 40-mile network of scenic trails just minutes south of Charlotte. Most of Anne Springs Close Greenway’s trails are beginner-friendly and fun for new and experienced cyclists. The routes are well-marked, and a color-coded system tells you which trails are open for mountain biking versus horseback riding or hiking. All cyclists must wear helmets on these trails, and there’s a hydration station and bike wash stations near the parking lot at the entrance. If you want to experience the thriving community of cyclists here, join one of the group rides hosted at Anne Springs Close Greenway!

The address for Anne Springs Close Greenway is 2573 Lake Haigler Drive in Fort Mill. You can download a trail map here.

Tips: There’s a daily admission fee of $12 per adult and $6 per child. Anne Springs Close Greenway also hosts MTB clinics for beginners and intermediate mountain bikers, youth programs, and private lessons.

8. Ravenel Bridge – Charleston, SC

View of Ravenel Bridget at night.

The Ravenel Bridge is an iconic structure and one of the main elements of the Charleston skyline. The 2.7-mile bridge connects the historic downtown district to the town of Mount Pleasant and makes for a 5.4-mile round trip bike ride with fantastic views of the Charleston Harbor. There’s a 12-foot-wide pedestrian walkway that spans the entire length of the bridge. One lane is for bikers, and another is for walkers, so you don’t have to worry about a ton of pedestrian traffic on the bridge, even though it’s a popular spot for walking and cycling. The sidewalk is also separated from the road with a concrete barrier, so you’re safe and protected from traffic.

The easiest way to access the pedestrian path for Ravenel Bridge is to park at Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant and pick up the trail from there. The park features bridge access, but it’s also home to Mount Pleasant Pier, a 1,250-foot-long pier that runs under the bridge.

Tips: Dogs are not allowed on the Ravenel Bridge’s pedestrian path.

9. Peak to Prosperity Passage – Alston, SC

Path of Palmetto Trail.

The Peak to Prosperity Passage is a part of the Palmetto Trail, a developing statewide trail spanning 500 miles. The 11-mile trail follows a former railroad line that runs through the area commonly known as Dutch Fork. The main highlight of this route is its historic wooden trestles, which offer incredible creek views. As the trail passes over the bridges, it remains an easy, flat route, making it a scenic and enjoyable ride for cyclists of all skill levels. Along this quiet and relaxing route, you’ll also enjoy the local wildlife and natural scenery.

You can park your car at the Alston Trailhead at the east end or the Pomaria Trailhead in the center of the route.

Tips: If you’re visiting the area, campsites are available at the Alston Trailhead.

10. Poinsett State Park – Wedgefield, SC

View of lake at Poinsett State Park.

Poinsett State Park is another fantastic area for mountain biking in South Carolina. The 1,000-acre park is a scenic place to bike with a beautiful 10-acre lake, which is a great way to cool down after your ride. Located in the High Hills of Santee, this state park features 25.6 miles of well-maintained mountain biking trails, ideal for beginners and experienced bikers alike. Locals highly recommend the challenging Knot Loop, which features plenty of climbing drop-offs to test your abilities. You can also access sections of the Palmetto Trail from Poinsett State Park, including the Santee Passage and the Wateree Passage.

Tips: There is an entrance fee of $3 for adults and $1 for children to enter the park.

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References:

  1. https://discoversouthcarolina.com/products/2598
  2. https://www.northaugusta.net/government/city-departments/parks-recreation-tourism/greeneway-trail
  3. https://www.spanishmosstrail.com/services
  4. https://www.traillink.com/trail/spanish-moss-trail/
  5. https://riveralliance.org/project/three-rivers-greenway/
  6. https://discoversouthcarolina.com/products/25772
  7. https://southcarolinaparks.com/paris-mountain/trails#jump
  8. https://southcarolinaparks.com/paris-mountain
  9. https://discoversouthcarolina.com/articles/bike-the-waccamaw-neck-bikeway
  10. http://www.georgetowncountysc.org/389/Waccamaw-Bikeway
  11. https://discoversouthcarolina.com/articles/explore-hilton-head-islands-great-outdoors-by-foot-boat-bike-or-horseback
  12. https://www.ascgreenway.org/play/mountain-biking/
  13. https://www.visit-historic-charleston.com/arthur-ravenel-bridge.html 
  14. https://www.traillink.com/trail/peak-to-prosperity-passage-(palmetto-trail)/
  15. https://palmettoconservation.org/palmetto-trail/
  16. https://southcarolinaparks.com/poinsett/things-to-do 

Photo Sources:

Thomson200, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pollinator at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Lee Coursey, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Juliancolton, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Daniel Barcelona, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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