South Carolina is in many ways the definition of the Southern US. It was the first state to vote to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860, and the cotton heritage still looms large with expansive fields, rural communities, and sprawling plantation houses from the 1800s (source).
While one might think that all there is to South Carolina are fields and Confederate flags, one would also be totally wrong. Thanks to rolling hills and deep forests, mainly in the Sumter National Forest in the west/northwest portion of the state, South Carolina is home to a substantial stronghold of mountain bike trails ranging from endless miles of XC to technical DH.
The Forks Area Trail System, affectionately known as FATS, is considered by many to be the crowning jewel of South Carolina mountain biking–if not the entire Southeast. With almost 40 miles of fast, swooping, flowing cross country trails, this IMBA epic draws riders from all over the nation to experience its machine-cut goodness.
The Knot is located in Poinsett State Park inside Manchester State Forest, located roughly in the center of the state. This trail has grown over the years thanks to the efforts of local advocates, and now totals at least 10 miles. With beautiful views of Poinsett Park Lake and the local forest, this trail provides a wilderness escape in the heart of the South.
While Paris Mountain is also home to some great cross country riding, it’s long been known as one of the primary bastions of technical downhill riding in the Southeast. The long-standing downhill race is still going on, and while the vertical might not be what it is in the Rocky Mountains, riders flock from all over the Southeast to actually use the full suspension travel on their dual-crowned rigs.
While Paris Mountain has kept the DH flag flying over the years here in South Carolina, new gravity-oriented venues like Hilltop Bike Park and Gateway Mountain Bike Park have joined the revolution recently.
While Issaqueena is home to gravity-oriented courses such as dual slalom and a freeride track, with over 40 miles of trails there’s plenty of rolling, flowy, western SC goodness to be had here. If you’re competing in any sort of southeastern race series, chances are you’ll race at Issaqueena at some point.
Horry County Bike Run Park is proof that you can build a decent mountain bike trail just about anywhere in the world. This tightly-wound 7-mile trail is located in the coastal flatlands, but built features such as bridges and berms keep the trail entertaining and the local riders coming back for more.
Your Turn: Looking for nearby mountain bike trails, or for your next MTB destination? Be sure to run a search in our massive trail database!