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Go Play in the Dirt- Mountain Bike Trails
By Vance Rowland
Posted on 12/3/2014 5:39 AM

 Go Play in the Dirt!

Mountain Bike Trails in our area




Upstate South Carolina is blessed with some fantastic mountain biking opportunities. No matter your skill level, you can escape from the asphalt and traffic to enjoy nature on a bicycle.  Below are 4 locations convenient to our area. 

  1. Sadlers Creek State Park.

    The trails at Sadlers are a great place to try your first trail ride. There is very little climbing and no technical features to intimidate first time users. The well groomed singletrack twists through hardwood ridges and pine forest along the shore of Hartwell. Keep an eye out for deer, turkeys, and the unusual fox squirrels as you ride. The ride is kid friendly and the park offers other amenities for a fun family outing. A copy of the trail map can be found here:


  2. Paynes Creek, GA.

    Although the Corps site above has not been updated to include the trails, Paynes Creek is becoming a very popular mountain bike location. While intermediate or advanced riders may find Sadlers Creek a bit boring, all skill levels have fun at Paynes. The trail is meticulously groomed and flows extremely well. Your speed determines the level of difficulty. You can roll comfortably on a cross bike or cruiser or you can rail the corners and launch the hills on a mountain bike. Got a pontoon or large boat? Load your bikes on the boat and drive there by water. It’s faster than the highway and a lot more fun. 

    Trial map here:


  3. Issaqueena Trails, Clemson Forest.

    The Experimental Forests of Clemson contain some of the premier riding in the Southeast. Issaqueena is home to over 45 miles of trails and gravel roads. Although several of the trails contain technical features, beginners can find something to ride as well. Dirt fire roads like Dalton Road, E. Dam Road and Issaqueena Lake Road provide several miles of riding with challenging climbs and some great views of the lake and forest. The singletrack trails intersect the fire roads in several places. Although many of the trails are now marked, navigation in the forest can be difficult for newcomers. Be sure to print out a map to take with you before exploring. You can also check with the guys at the local shops in Anderson or Clemson for ride ideas and guidance on trails to suit your skill level. Issaqueena is home to an Xterra off road triathlon and Southeastern Regional Championship mountain bike race each year.

    This is the best map online, but it does not include the newer sections of the Xterra Course.


  4. Fant’s Grove, Clemson Forest. (scroll to bottom for Fants)

Like Issaqueena, Fant’s contains several miles of gravel roads as well as singletrack trails. A favorite of horseback riders, Fants sees a lot of horse traffic, especially on weekends. Week days are generally better for bikes at Fants.( Always remember to yield to horses on the trail). During damp seasons the horse traffic can keep the trails pretty churned up. Wait for a long dry spell before riding there. Being closest to Anderson, Fants provides a good opportunity for evening rides. Great views of the lake and countryside are available from several places on the trails. Although the trails are marked, the markings are confusing and navigation can be difficult. Be sure to take a friend if exploring Fants for the first time.  The right loop from Seed Orchard Trailhead is a good introductory trail for what Fant’s has to offer. There are several access points for the trails throughout the Fant’s Grove area. The grass field behind Garrison Arena is the most centrally located trailhead.

I could not get links on Clemson’s sites to work. Here is the best map I could find compliments of Brad Allen.


The Clemson map is supposed to be here:


Yours to explore, right in your back yard! Hours spent on a mountain bike add hours to your life. Get out and take advantage of these opportunities! 

Jerry McClung