Explore the Lake Murray Country region on Two Wheels

June 7, 2022

According to AdventureCycling.org, bicycling is one of the fastest growing types of outdoor recreation and tourism nationwide. It’s estimated that 48 million people bicycle recreationally per year.  If bicycle touring interests you, then pack up your gear and head to Lake Murray Country.

The Cola Town Bike Collective, a nonprofit bike shop in Columbia, SC, developed a web app called Sprocket that helps unfamiliar visitors identify the best routes to safely ride a bicycle between the great attractions in the downtown Columbia area. The Sprocket app also has information on where bikes can be rented, where bike rack locations are and where you can repair your bike.  So, now that you know that there’s a bike app…let’s talk about the trails.

Columbia’s oldest trail is the Columbia Canal in Riverfront Park. This flat trail is 4 miles long and is located along the Congaree and Broad rivers. The views are amazing and it doesn’t feel like you’re biking in the middle of a city. Just across the river in West Columbia, is the Cayce/West Columbia Riverwalk. This is a well shaded trail for walkers and bikers. Bring your camera or binoculars so you can stop at the lookout points and get an up-close shot of the wildlife.

The Timmerman Trail in Cayce begins just west of the 12th Street Extension. At several points along the way you can see nice views of the Congaree Creek. The trail is paved with concrete and is great for pedestrians, bicycles and strollers.

In Northeast Columbia, Sesquicentennial State Park has a 5.9 mile loop trail that is moderately difficult and takes about 2 hours to complete. This is a popular park for mountain bikers as the trail has some steep and sandy spots.

Harbison State Forest has trails for beginners and experienced riders and is known as a mountain biking destination. There are 9 trails that range in difficulty.  Just to name a few…there’s the Midlands Mountain, Spider Woman III and the Lost Creek trail. Here’s a trail guide with the trail descriptions and levels of difficulty.

Saluda Shoals Park, in the Irmo area, offers a series of paved and dirt connecting walkways within the park that are perfect for biking. The Greenway Trail, which runs the length of the park, is the featured trail in the park. There are trails that run close to the Saluda River offering beautiful views of the rolling river.

The Peak to Prosperity Passage segment of the Palmetto Trail, in South Carolina, is located in the Lake Murray Country region. This is a flat 12-mile route. The views from the bridges are stunning and there’s many opportunities for wildlife sightings.

In Newberry County, Lynches Woods Park has been named one of South Carolina’s 10 best bike trails. This park offers 276 acres of old growth hardwood trees and it’s the perfect place for bike lovers. Mountain bikers will find plenty of challenges here including twisting turns, short hills and a few creek crossings.

Did you know? Columbia has a bike share program in which residents and visitors can rent regular and electric assisted pedal bikes at various stations around downtown Columbia. The program is great because the profits go back to the city to use for bicycle infrastructure improvement. Click here to find out more.