Nestled just three miles northwest of Broad River Road, Harbison State Forest offers an intricate network of trails that beckon both novice and advanced cyclists alike. Stretching over 20 miles, this South Carolina gem combines the thrill of switchbacks, single tracks, and steep climbs with the serenity of its natural forest setting. Here's the lowdown on what to expect when you hit the trails at Harbison State Forest.
The forest houses an array of trails, ranging from the beginner level to more technical tracks like "Spiderwoman" and "The Bluffs". As you delve deeper into the forest, prepare to encounter features like skinny's, drops, and rocky bits that truly test your mettle. Moreover, portions of the trail like Spiderwoman II come laden with rock gardens and narrow paths, making it a true technical challenge.
From fast tracks to XC trails, there's something for everyone at Harbison. Cyclists praise the trail network for its versatility and strong local biking community. On weekends, you'll find the park teeming with bikers, hikers, and runners, providing a lively, albeit sometimes crowded, atmosphere.
Most of the trails are well-marked, although some cyclists recommend updates to weather-beaten signs in remote areas. Maps are available at the parking area to aid navigation, but first-timers are advised to be cautious as some trails lack adequate signage, making it easy to get lost.
To reach the forest, take Exit #65 from Broad River Road and drive north for about 3 miles. Look out for the Smokey the Bear sign on the right; the parking lot is adjacent to it.
With its intricate trail design, variety in terrain, and the added bonus of a lively community, Harbison State Forest stands out as an intermediate cyclist's sanctuary. Whether you're local to Columbia or visiting from afar, it's well worth the $5 entry fee—or even the $25 annual permit—to experience this biking haven in the heart of South Carolina.Happy Riding!