There’s nothing more soothing for the soul than spending some time outdoors. Take advantage of the scenery the South has to offer via bike with these amazing bike trails.
One of the U.S.’ premier bike trails, Greenbrier River Trail runs predominantly through a river valley. It is traversed by what was once one of the many West Virginia railroads. Nowhere is this more evident than Clover Lick, a historic Appalachian town that houses the remains of the old railway depot. If planning for a longer excursion, check out the West Fork Trail which works its way northward for about 22 miles. The West Virginia State Parks that maintains the trail offers overnight campsites as well as restrooms and water facilities along the way. One of the many attractions of the Greenbrier River Trail is the abundance of historic railway memorabilia. Make sure to stop in Marlinton to view the town’s old train station, and continue on past the many whistle-stops on the way to Beard. Just beyond the town, cyclists are also able to view two spectacular tunnels; the Droop Mountain Tunnel and the Sharps Tunnel.
For lovers of the U.S.’ historic railways, check out the North Augusta Greeneway. It follows an abandoned right-of-way of the former Central Georgia Railway. The trail meanders through some suburban areas and is close to the I-20 interstate. However it has been well preserved and offers cyclists the chance to view native birds, deer and other wildlife in their natural habitat. If in town for a while, do as the locals do and use the Greeneway as a travel corridor to get from one area to the other. For more relaxing pursuits, take the trail south of Riverview Park to check out the fishing pier located on the majestic Savannah River.
Mississippi’s longest trail, the Tanglefoot Trail stretches 43.6 miles, meandering along the foothills of the soulful Appalachian Mountains. The trail offers a variety of scenic views along the way, ranging from hardwood forests to cotton fields through to pastures and wetlands. As you cycle past birds and deer in their native habitat, also watch out for Kudzu covered trees. This is a rapidly growing vine which is said to have eaten the South.
Not only is there ample natural beauty on offer, but the trail allows bikers to re-live literary and historical moments too. The Tanglefoot trail follows the old railroad line built in the late 1800s by Colonel William C. Faulkner, the great-grandfather of renowned author William Faulkner. The Tanglefoot Trail passes through three separate counties; Chickasaw, Pontotoc and Union, starting in the historic downtown of New Albany. Stop by Sugaree’s Bakery (just steps from the trailhead) and enjoy a thick slice of their world famous caramel cake before you set off.
Located along the Georgia/Alabama state line, the Silver Comet Trail takes its name from the Silver Comet passenger trail. This once provided luxury rail services for passengers between New York and Birmingham from 1947 until 1969. Today, the trail stretches 61.5 miles, is about 12 feet wide, and now offers a fully paved route throughout. Nature enthusiasts should head to the western section of the trail. This area offers a mixed landscape of pine forests and farmlands, and make sure to take a dip at Coots Lake Beach. After crossing over the Georgia/Alabama state line, end your adventure through the leafy green at Cedartown. Explore the Sterling Holloway Museum (known for his voice as Winnie the Pooh.)
It’s easy to see why cyclists and equestrians enjoy the Virginia Creeper Trail. From dense forests to pasture land and fresh waterways, the Virginia Creeper Trail offers outdoors enthusiasts the opportunity to exercise surrounded by unparalleled nature. The trail officially begins at the Virginia/North Carolina border and continues to intertwine with the old Appalachian Trail as it makes its way. Continue on down the trail to reach the Laurel and Green Cover creeks before coming to a resting stop in the town of Damascus. Dubbed the ‘friendliest town on the trail,’ Damascus offers an old train caboose serving as an information center, parking, restrooms and numerous lunch spots. Once at the South Fork of the Holston River you’ll begin to notice the appearance of cattle gates running across the expanse of the trail. These signal that you’re heading into the expansive and tranquil farmlands that flank the trail for the majority of the remaining journey. Prepare for a serene and dreamy ride.