What does a cyclist dream of? A trail that feels like a roller coaster on wheels, where you can get airtime at will, while smoothly navigating a variety of terrains. Welcome to the Skinny Loop in the iconic FATS (Forks Area Trail System) at Clarks Hill, South Carolina. This trail is for anyone who believes mountain biking should be both exhilarating and flowy.
Easy access is another of this loop's charms. Take SC Exit 1 (SC 230) from I-20 near Augusta, GA. Travel 5 miles north, then make a left onto Woodlawn Rd. Approximately 4 miles later, you'll find the trailhead parking area on the left.
While Skinny Loop offers a straightforward ride for seasoned cyclists, it can provide a dose of adrenaline for beginners. Riders rave about the high-speed sections that come upon you quickly—this is not the place to lose focus. And for those seeking a bit of air, opportunities for "airtime" are scattered generously along the path.
It's essential to note the condition of the trail, as it can get sloppy after heavy rainfall. If you’re planning a trip after a wet period, be prepared for muddy terrain.
High speeds are easily attainable here, but newcomers should temper their enthusiasm to avoid any unplanned meetings with the local flora. Wearing glasses is advisable, especially when riding through the pine forest areas. Also, for an optimal experience, a bike with at least fork suspension is recommended, given the few technical sections.
Whether you're driving from Florida or Maryland, cyclists agree that this trail is worth the journey. It serves as a warm-up before tackling other loops like Great Wall or Brown Wave, or stands on its own for a quick and fulfilling ride. Reviews point out its popularity—often considered the most frequented loop at FATS—for good reason.
Skinny Loop offers a sublime blend of speed, flow, and minimal technical challenge, making it one of the go-to trails in the FATS system. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a pumped-up beginner, this trail has something for everyone. Just remember, moderation is key for first-timers. Skinny Loop dares you not to smile—it's that kind of trail.