With an abundance of natural resources, Columbia County, Augusta Georgia’s neighbor to the west, is an outstanding local destination for outdoor recreation. Positioned along the shores of the 77,000-acre Clark’s Hill Lake and bordered by the Savannah River, the community is a favored destination for myriad sports enthusiasts. Including its excellent park system and miles of biking and hiking trails, Columbia County is a well-rounded outdoor sports location.
Mountain biking, hiking, and trail running are among the most popular activities in Columbia County. The Bartram Trail, a well-groomed trail with stunning views of Clark’s Hill Lake, is regularly teeming with two-wheel and two-feet aficionados seeking an aerobic fix. The intermediate-level trail offers several access points allowing users to go for a quick jaunt or take in a day’s adventure. The most popular stretch of trail is the 15.5 segment between the US Army Corps’ West Dam Recreation Area and Wildwood Park. More advanced riders will also enjoy the Keg Creek trail located across Washington Road from Wildwood Park and/or the trails at Mistletoe State Park with its challenging climbs, creek crossings, and “rooty” and rocky terrain.
All the action, however, is not confined to the rural area. Blanchard Woods Park in Columbia County’s town center of Evans offers great appeal. The beautiful Blanchard Woods Cross Country Course is mostly wooded alongside a picturesque creek, passing through a large meadow and over two separate hills. Blanchard Woods Cross Country Course serves as the home track for Augusta University's cross country team, and has been mapped for 3K, 5K, 6K, 8K, and 10K courses. According to former high school and college coaches, this course will be sure to challenge any cross country runner, whether male or female. The Augusta Canal Singletrack in Martinez is another must-visit trail. This three mile loop is located between the Augusta Canal tow path and the Savannah River and is described as short, tight and twisty.
Located 5 miles from Columbia County (and just over the Georgia/ South Carolina state line) is the Fork Area Trail System (FATS) which was awarded IMBA Epic status in 2009. Located in the Long Cane Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest, FATS offers 37 miles of trails and multiple loops. FATS consists of six individual loops, each with their own character and feel. The southern loops are Brown Wave, Skinny, Great Wall, and Deep Step. Big Rock and Tower make up the northern loops. This trail system ranges from beginner to intermediate and truly offers something for everyone.