The Upstate has the trails to challenge you.
The challenge of mountain biking involves following a rugged path up inclines and down hills — which is why they call it mountain biking. No one goes to Charleston, South Carolina, on a mountain biking adventure. That would be like traveling all the way to Kansas City for lobster.
But Upstate South Carolina offers trails and tribulations for even the most thrill-crazy mountain biker. At the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the Upstate often gets overlooked in favor of the better-known trails in nearby North Carolina. To keep that from happening to you, presented here are some of the best rides in South Carolina.
This 20-mile trail traverses Croft State Park, which is just south of Spartanburg. A difficult trail — in some reports, the most difficult in the state — Croft Passage is a hilly single-track path that rises 2400 feet during the journey. Riding it, you’ll encounter your share of jumps and log obstacles. A guide or a GPS is recommended, as signs pointing the way are few and far between.
Another single-track trail in Croft State Park, this one is a 12-mile loop of various difficulties. It rises 2100 feet along the way, giving you a workout. You’ll find a few technical climbs and several tight corners. This trail is a local favorite despite not having big climbs or airborne downhills. It’s a well-developed trail that offers great views.
Technically, Horse Pasture Road and Bootleg Road are forest service roads and not mountain bike trails, but the climbs up to 3500 feet are not for sissies or newbies. You’ll find up to 12 miles of scenic hills to conquer. Start at Lake Jocassee, northwest of Greenville, and climb until you can’t go further. The views of the lake make the journey worthwhile, as do the airborne downhills on the way back.
Paris Mountain State Park
Just north of Greenville lies an 11-mile path with some steep climbs. This trail consists of several loops, once you get in a couple miles. This single-track path climbs up to 1900 feet. To get to the hub, take Mountain Creek Trail to Sulphur Springs Trail to the Archery Range Trailhead. From there, several loops provide technical climbs and downhills, surfing downhills and big ramps. Sulphur Springs down to the bottom is the steepest technical downhill in the park.
Issaqueena Lake is due north of Clemson and features 40 miles of single-track trails. While it’s mostly flat and fast, you can find some jumps and ramps if you pick the right trail. One local rider claimed he’s still finding new trails after 20 years. If you’re looking for great technical climbs and downhills, bike elsewhere. But if you want to be continually entertained and occasionally challenged, give Issaqueena Lake a try.
Double Fork Tree/Hunting Arrow
Part of the Issaqueena Lake network of trails, this single-track, 11-mile loop runs from Doyle Bottom Road (a logging road) to the Double Fork Trail. It follows the contour of the lake to Hunting Arrow Trail. It has no prodigious climbs or downhills, but it’s rarely flat and the views of the lake keep your spirits high. The path does gradually rise 1300 feet.
Photo credits: swnewsmedia.com, cyclingworldonline.com, rockyknob.wordpress.com