Ready for some biking fun under the sun? At Harbison State Forest park there is a trail for everyone from the novice to the occasional bicyclist to the passionate mountain biker.
Things to know before you go
1. If this is your first visit start your biking adventure at the Education Center on the versatile 4 miles easy to moderately difficult Firebreak Trail. Pay your biking permit (I recommend getting an annual pass which pays for itself after 5 visits), get a folding biking and hiking trail map, fill up with water, use the restroom and ask the park rangers questions (they are there for a reason!). As you get more comfortable on the trail you can connect to the more difficult 3.7 miles Midlands Mtn Trail; from here you have several choices: a) do the rugged loop on Harbison Bluffs and come back to the center, or b) connect to Spider Woman II, the most difficult trail in the park, and run down to Broad River or c) connect and stroll down scenic Stewardship Trail (easier in difficulty). This trail allows you to get back to Firebreak Trail later on and return to the Education Center after you have experienced three different trails along varied terrains. I did just that and took me 2.5 hours - I stopped frequently to take these awesome pictures
2. The park provides extremely easy trail access:
You can drive and park your car to most of the biking and hiking trails; there are 6 parking lots in the park; each biking trail has multiple entrance points and connections to other trails; this way you can combine sections from different trails, with varied levels of difficulty, to make your trip to the park more interesting.
4. Each trail is color-coded and has corresponding signs throughout its course. Further each trail is divided into alphabetical sections with their distance clearly marked on the map. To make things even easier, there are overall maps at most connection points to tell you where you are inside the park and how much distance is still left. This makes it very convenient to orient yourself and to plan your time and next move as you go along.
5. Unlike the mountain bike trail at the Sesquicentennial Park (another great family outdoor getaway near downtown Columbia) you don’t have to put up with the inches deep sand patches. Don’t worry there are plenty other obstacles for you to conquer! For one, there are chunky stubborn tree roots everywhere; river stones, especially on Midlands Mtn and Spider Woman II trails will keep you on your toes; the trails are steeper (both uphill and downhill) and with sharper turns peppered with big logs, hidden bridges, or rocks just to make it more interesting…
6. Safety first. Wear your helmet, carry water (there is only one drinking water fountain at the Education Center), put on sunscreen and bug spray, bring your cell-phone (there is strong signal throughout the park) and travel with someone (or at least let your family and friends know your trip plans for the day).
7. Best time to ride is in the morning and if you can make it during the week. I went Friday afternoon and during my 2.5 hours adventure on 3 different trails I ran into 3 bikers, 2 joggers and one lady walking her dog.
If you want more details about fun things to do with kids while at the Harbison Forest park check this post.
Ready to upgrade to 4 ATV wheels ride and adrenaline pumping canopy zip-line? Then go visit Carolina Adventure World, just half an hour drive from Columbia off of I-77.
Happy Riding in the South Carolina Outdoors!
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Filed Under: Biking, Columbia, Fun Carolina Outdoor Recreation, Harbison State Forest
Tags: activities under $5, Biking, Carolina Adventure World, Columbia family attractions, Columbia fun kids activities, Columbia fun things to do, Columbia mountain bike trails, Columbia photos, Columbia weekend fun, Harbison Forest, mountain bike trail photos, Outdoor Carolina, Parks in Carolina, SC family fun activities, Sesquicentennial Park