South Carolina is George Hincapie’s home state and home to some of the best road bike trails, in our opinion. We may be a little biased, but for good reason. South Carolina has a little of everything cyclists love–long, flat, paved trails for distance rides, mountainous scenic routes with great hill climbs, and breathtaking beach paths for East Coast tours–all within a few hours or less from each other. It wasn’t easy, but we narrowed our list to 10 of our favorite road bike trails in South Carolina for cyclists of all skill levels. Our best bike trail picks are scattered throughout the state, from Greenville to Columbia to Myrtle Beach, so you have a great place to cycle wherever you find yourself in the Palmetto State.
What makes South Carolina a great place for cyclists?
South Carolina is an active and developing cycling state with strong cycling communities. South Carolinians are quickly falling in love with the sport as cities and surrounding areas become increasingly bicycle-friendly and accommodating. Some bike routes are new and expanding, while others were carved and popularized by cyclists a long time ago. Our hometown, Greenville, SC, has been described as a “cycling mecca” and twice earned the name “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Cyclists. South Carolina is sunny, green, charming, and friendly–where beginner and professional cyclists alike can find their “happy place.”
11 best road bike trails
Location: Greenville, SC
Distance: 22 miles
The Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail is a paved railway, sponsored by the Greenville Health System, that extends from downtown Greenville to the small but lively town of Travelers Rest. The trail is full of fun stops throughout the entire 22-mile ride. You start in downtown Greenville, ranked the #3 of the small cities in Conde Nast’s U.S. Reader’s Choice Awards and #5 in USA Today’s Best Cycling Towns. You’ll cycle by many shops and restaurants, Falls Park with the Reedy River and Liberty Bridge, the Greenville Zoo, the beautiful Furman University Campus, and much more. You’ll find many great rest spots for a photo or picnic to refresh, refuel, have fun, and enjoy the scenery.
Location: Hilton Head, SC
Distance: 60+ miles
Hilton Head Island is one of the twenty-one communities (and the only community in the Southeast) to earn the award of Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists. After you get on the island, you’ll not need your car. The entire island is one breathtaking bike trail, shaded by large live oak trees shrouded in Spanish moss. Of course, there are also miles of sunny beach cycling. At many points, you can stop and enjoy SC’s Lowcountry seafood or admire alligators and white Great Egret birds.
Location: Port Royal, SC
Distance: 10 miles
The Spanish Moss Trail is located in the quaint, coastal town of Port Royal in Beaufort County. The trail was once part of the Magnolia Line Railroad. It’s the perfect trail for history-loving cyclists, extending past the location of the Battle of Port Royal Island during the Revolutionary War and Pick Pocket Plantation. You’ll ride over marshes full of wildlife and under the Spanish moss-draped branches that characterize this trail.
Location: Greenville County, SC
Distance: 11.5 miles
Just outside Greenville, SC, you’ll find Paris Mountain State Park, the popular local hiking and mountain biking hub. The mountain bike trails are fun and technically challenging. They’re steep and rugged, full of steep climbs, rocky terrain, and exhilarating downhills. There are several different MTB paths in the park, but starting at Mountain Creek Trailhead and taking the Sulphur Springs Trail is one of the best. If you’re a cyclist who seeking a challenge, you can ride the roads in the park, like this Paris Moutain Park route by George Hincapie with serious climbs. Keep in mind that because Paris Mountain is such a popular hiking destination, the trails are closed to mountain bikers on Saturdays.
Location: Cayce, SC
Distance: 12 miles
The Cayce Riverwalk in West Columbia along the Congaree River makes the perfect oasis from the busy city. It’s a great route for beginner cyclists and is also attached to more rugged trails for experienced cyclists. As part of the Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve, the riverwalk is like stepping out of the bustling state capital and into another world of shady forests with animals carved into trees and logs by local artists. You’ll cycle over historical bridges and boardwalks and can continue cycling beyond the riverwalk to the 3.5-mile Timmerman Trail.
Location: North Augusta, SC
Distance: 7+ miles
The North Augusta Greeneway is a paved bike trail through a nature preserve. The trail is well environmentally preserved and recognized as a National Recreational Trail. It’s an under-recognized jewel of SC. As you ride the trail, you’ll ride through tunnels and by water and can stop in the shops on Pisgah Road or admire the trail’s bluebird houses.
Location: Murrells Inlet, SC
Distance: 3-mile loop
Huntington Beach State Park is one of many places to ride bikes in Myrtle Beach. Bike riding in Myrtle beach is busy but so fun for the whole family. You’ll pass over saltwater marsh and lagoons with Loggerhead turtles in the state park. You can also bike the Boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, and amusements, like a colossal Ferris wheel. Cycling on the beach from the Boardwalk to the Pier is a 10-mile ride next to the Atlantic Ocean.
Location: Charleston, SC
Distance: 8 miles
The West Ashley Greenway is part of the East Coast Greenway, connecting Charleston, Beaufort, Georgetown, and Myrtle Beach. On this ride, you’ll experience the small rural community of Johns Island, known for its tomato crops. The part paved, part gravel trail is best for gravel or mountain bikes, this leisurely ride takes you through various communities and past civil war historic sites.
9. Doodle Trail
Location: Easley, SC
Distance: 7.5 miles
The Doodle Trail is a quiet ride through the rural countryside of farmland and pastures on the old Pickens rail line. The rail line closed in 2013, and the Doodle trail opened in 2015 and is still a hidden gem. The historic Pickens and Easley downtowns are two quaint Mayberry-like towns from yesteryear. You’ll start your ride in downtown Easley through the local cemetery next to Old Market Square or in Doodle Park featuring an old railcar that kids can explore.
Location: Spartanburg, SC
Distance: 9.7 miles
Croft Park is an old army base and WWII training facilities repurposed into cycling and hiking trails. The trails feature impressive hardwood trees and old farmsteads, as well as the remaining foundation of a once 4-story hotel. The bike trails are strenuous and technically challenging but also great fun. You’ll experience both smooth and rugged surfaces on this trail. The Southside Loop is the more popular bike trail in the park, but you can also ride the Palmetto Trail for a slightly longer ride of 12 miles.
Location: Greenville, SC
Distance: 99.6 miles
The Skyuka Mountain and White Oak Mountain ride is a breathtaking scenic route on windy mountain roads. The route is challenging and for experienced cyclists only. Stretches of the ride cover George Hincapie’s training routes and feature a climb that is one of the Gran Fondo Hincapie’s signature challenges. The mountain’s descents require careful control and advanced technical skill from riders.
George Hincapie bike routes in SC
Strengthening the cycling community is a part of our mission, and we’re proud of our thriving and fast-growing community of bike-riding enthusiasts in SC. George spent much of his time training for the Tour de France in South Carolina on his custom cycling routes that are now part of our Gran Fondo Greenville, where we connect cyclists from all over to our beautiful state.
George Hincapie’s training routes include:
- Skyuka Mountain–4 miles with 1,813 ft. elevation gain
- Green River Cove Switchbacks–2.4 miles with 917 ft. elevation gain
- Saluda Grade–4 miles at 1,404 elevation gain
Cycling the bike trails in South Carolina is great preparation for a Gran Fondo. If you’re new to cycling or not-so-new but have never done a Fondo, you can use our 4, 8, and 12-week cycling training plans for beginners to help you reach your goals. Then you’ll be ready for the Gran Fondo Hincapie or one of our list of 20 best Gran Fondos in the U.S.
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