Hidden in the quieter North side of Forks Area Trail System (FATS) in Clarks Hill, South Carolina, Big Rock Loop serves as a 4-mile treat for intermediate riders. Markedly different from its southern counterparts, this loop trail offers a balanced cocktail of technical challenges and flowy segments. The lush backdrop of control-burned forests and unique terrain features like the iconic "big rock" make this trail a must-try.
- From I-20: Take SC Exit 1 (SC 230), head north for roughly 5 miles, then turn left on Woodlawn Rd.
- Trailhead Parking: Continue 4 miles until you reach the southern trails' parking lot. For Big Rock Loop specifically, proceed past this lot and turn left onto Deepstep Rd. After about 2-3 miles, FS 661 (a gravel road) will intersect from the left. Park in the lot found here.
Insider Tip: To make your ride more adventurous, you can also reach Big Rock Loop by riding back up Deepstep Rd toward Woodlawn where a connector trail awaits on the left.
What Sets It Apart
The Trail's Character
- More technically demanding than southern trails
- Alternating climbs and descents that keep you engaged
- Notable for narrower trail tread and more controlled burns
- Big Rock: An iconic split rock halfway through the loop
- Bridges: The trail includes three different bridges, with one crafted from a cedar log.
- "Big Rock and Tower make a great 1-2 punch for an 8-mile ride."
- "Swoopy, smooth, and just the right amount of twisting and turning."
- "Feels less like a roller coaster compared to other FATS trails. Punchy climbs and technical spots force you to earn your turns."
- Riding Direction: For a workout, take the trail counterclockwise. For fun, go clockwise.
- Parking: Opt to park at the NW end for direct trail access, bypassing the need for a connector.
- Weather: Be wary of heat, as shade can be sparse in sections.
Big Rock Loop stands out for its uniqueness within the FATS network. It's not just another trail; it's an experience that will challenge your technical skills while rewarding you with thrilling descents and eye-catching natural landmarks. If you're looking to elevate your FATS adventure, this trail should be on your list.Happy Trails!