Mudhunny and I finally got a chance to check out the Forks Area Trail System (FATS) just outside Augusta, GA this past weekend and we were seriously impressed. After riding the Stevens Creek and Horn Creek trails for years we didn’t expect to see many (any) riders out at the trailhead on Saturday morning but we were greeted by at least a dozen cars in the parking lot, a good sign for sure.
There are four singletrack loops at FATS (with two more on the way) and we chose to try the Skinny Loop and the Brown Wave. Within a hundred yards of the trailhead we were flying down the smooth and groomed trail trying to keep our wheels on the ground as we hopped over the dips and bumps. The ground at FATS ranges from nice hardpack red clay to dense white sandy soil that’s perfect for fast riding. Banked turns keep you on course and we encountered nary a technical obstacle on our entire 12 mile ride (though I understand the “Great Wall” trail has some tech spots). Anyone can ride these trails and the climbing is pretty minimal for the most part (around 300 feet total per loop).
Speaking with some riders on the trail we found out that it took almost 2 years to complete the 25+ miles of trail (not hard to believe at all, these trails are well designed). We also heard that bike shops as far away as Columbia, SC (about 60-70 miles) were recommending the trails over some of the local picks like Harbison State Forest. With FATS the Sumter National Forest is quickly becoming a riding destination for mountain bikers across the southeast (which, ahem, we’ve been saying for years).
When we returned to the parking lot it was at least 95 degrees and Mudhunny and I were both pretty spent. As we broke down our bikes a woman came over and introduced herself and handed each of us a cold washcloth (awesome idea, by the way). We chatted about SORBA, the bike club that’s responsible for FATS, and all the great work that had been done in the area. SORBA needs support (i.e. dues paying members) and trail work volunteers to open even more great trails like FATS.
FATS is located about an hour’s drive from Columbia, SC and about 2.5 hours from Atlanta, GA and Greenville, SC. If you’re anywhere nearby and enjoy fast flowing singletrack trails, check out FATS–you won’t be disappointed!