The Sesquicentennial Park near downtown Columbia features a very nice 4 miles long mountain bike trail that both beginners and seasoned bikers can equally enjoy. The serene, peaceful and mostly single track trail will take you through the park’s dense longleaf pine and turkey oak trees. The trail has a sandy surface that sometimes is inches deep and makes the ride quite challenging even for more experienced bicyclists.
If you go during the week there is hardly a soul around: just you, the bike and the forest. No matter the skill level, everyone will find something interesting along the trail: from wide smooth paths to rough root and stone covered patches to longleaf pine trees, so dense you can barely squeeze through, to desert like hills.
Tips to know before you go
1. Play it safe. Wear your helmet and know your limits. When in doubt just carry the bike till you feel comfortable riding again.
2. Stay on trail and follow the signs. The mountain bike trail is marked with a blue diamond and between each marker you will see the trees painted blue. It’s very easy to get disoriented and at times you feel like you’re going in circles; just follow the signs and you’ll be OK. There are no maps along the trail to tell you where you are, how far you still have to go and what’s noteworthy to see in the surrounding areas. Pretty much you’re on your own.
3. This can be a great family weekend gateway. If you go alone tell someone when and where you are going. Bring your cell-phone; there is very good signal throughout the park.
4. Carry plenty of water since there is no drinking water along the trail; I didn’t see any water fountain at the park’s facilities. The restrooms by the picnic and boat area were closed during the week. Put on sunscreen and wear long sleeves it can get really hot out there.
6. Watch out for deep patches of sand especially when going downhill. You can easily lose control; keep the bike straight and break on smoothly, same as when you’re driving the car on icy roads.
7. Uphill roots provide good grasping for tires, yet avoid the bigger ones that can kill your momentum or worse make you tip over.
8. Besides some birds I didn’t run into any wildlife.
9. To find out what other activities you can enjoy at the Sesquicentennial park see my previous post.
This is a great exercise that will you test you physically and mentally. You will enjoy fresh air and mountain like outdoors just minutes from the noisy downtown city traffic. All in all, biking at the Sesquicentennial Park it’s a guaranteed family fun activity. For only $2 per vehicle it qualifies for a “free thing to do” in Columbia.
To get a better idea of what you might run into on the mountain bike trail take a look at this slideshow:
If you’re ready to take it to the next level test your skills and nerves on the Spider Woman II or Lost Creek trails in beautiful Harbison State Forest park also close to downtown Columbia.
Keep on biking through beautiful South Carolina parks!
Filed under: Biking, Columbia, Free Things to Do, Sesquicentennial Park | Tagged: best outdoor recreation parks capitol city, Biking family trails downtown Columbia, cheap Carolina vacation, Columbia activities under $5, Columbia mountain bike trails, Harbison Forest, Outdoor Carolina, SC family fun activities, Sesquicentennial Park, weekend fun things to do with kids in Columbia |