Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail

South Carolina

At a Glance

Name: Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail
Length: 19.5 Miles
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking
Counties: Greenville
Surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk
State: South Carolina

A Brief History

The curiously named Swamp Rabbit Trail follows the former right-of-way of what was once the Greenville & Northern Railway, a short line running north from Greenville, South Carolina. The history of the G&N dates back to the late 19th century, and from these early years, it struggled to earn sustained profits. Like most railroads of this period, it had grand visions of running hundreds of miles between Georgia and Tennessee. Lack of funding and financial support ultimately saw fewer than 30 miles completed. Eventually, the G&N settled into moving timber products and later acquired other forms of traffic, but throughout the course of its history, never moved substantial levels of freight. By the 1990s, declining revenue left the railroad with an uncertain future, and the property was officially abandoned during the mid-2000s.

The city of Greenville has held a long history with trains: the large and powerful Southern Railway, Atlantic Coast Line (through subsidiary Charleston & Western Carolina), and profitable interurban Piedmont & Northern (electrically operated) all served the town. And then there was the tiny Greenville & Northern Railway, a humble shortline only a fraction of the size of its counterparts. The system dates to the 1880s as the Carolina, Knoxville & Western Railroad (CK&W), incorporated by a group of investors hoping to connect Augusta, Georgia, with Knoxville, Tennessee, via Greenville. In total, the system would have stretched roughly 300 miles, and such grand hopes were not uncommon during the era of frenzied railroad construction. Hundreds of similar projects all across the country were conceived at that time, many forgotten to history because of the great expense and lack of financial support.

The CW&K began its march north from Greenville, which would have lay roughly along the halfway point of the completed system. However, after only a few years of construction, the rail had reached only River Falls—a logging camp north of Marietta—by early 1899, before funds ran out. Unfortunately, those 23 miles would prove the extent of the railroad’s ultimate goal. With few sources of online freight, it wavered on bankruptcy, finally succumbing when operations were entirely abandoned. In 1907, the property was revived as the Greenville & Knoxville Railroad. Perhaps promoters of the new line again had high hopes of pushing the line into Tennessee, but once more this was not to be. There was no additional expansion, and reorganization came again in 1920 as the Greenville & Northern Railway.

With somewhat stronger backing through the Saluda Land & Lumber Company, the G&N settled into hauling forest-related products and other types of general freight but, interestingly, never carried passengers. By the 1950s, the area’s rich timber tracts had largely been exhausted, and the railroad abandoned the 8 miles north of Marietta, leaving it with about 15 miles still in service. After this time, the G&N relied on a mix of traffic ranging from agriculture to chemicals. In June 1957, it was sold to the Pinsly Railroad Company, which had been in the business of operating shortlines since its founding in 1938; it continues to own and operate small railroads today. Throughout its history, the G&N was a low-key, laidback operation using small locomotives such as 2-8-0 “Consolidation” steam locomotives and 70-ton diesel switchers manufactured by General Electric. In later years a larger, standard diesel road-switcher in the form of GP8 #704 arrived, rebuilt by the Illinois Central some years before from Electro-Motive GP9 #9237.

In April 1997, the system was sold to the Carolina Piedmont Railroad, which continued to operate the 10 miles to Travelers Rest. In May 1999, Greenville Country purchased the property and named an operator. Apparently feeling that remaining traffic was not enough to profitably continue the system, the county abandoned it in 2005. Although rails were left in place for several years, they were later removed, paving the way for the Swam Rabbit Trail’s opening in May 2010.

Railroad attractions in the state include the Lancaster & Chester Railroad & Museum in Lancaster (museum and first-class charters); the South Carolina Railroad Museum in Winnsboro, offering both historical display and excursion rides; and the Museum & Railroad Historical Center in Greenwood, where you can find preserved pieces of rolling stock owned by the Piedmont & Northern, Seaboard Air Line, and 2-8-2 steam locomotive #19.

Do you have Historical Photos of the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail?
Share with TrailLink!

Nearby Trails

Wadsworth Trail

South Carolina - 2.8 miles

The Wadsworth Trail parallels Willis Road from Harmon Drive to Hawk Creek Drive, with a spur heading south along SR 42-4382/Caldwell Drive. The Willis ...

Southport Road Path

South Carolina - 3 miles

This multi-use path follows the south side of Southport Road, from Cedar Springs Road heading west to South Avenue. It passes the 295 Sports Complex, a ...

Duncan Park Trail

South Carolina - 1 miles

The trail extends from the dam at Duncan Park Lake and courses through the park to near Union Street by the baseball stadium. The path is a gradual hill ...

Accordion

SC School for the Deaf and Blind Braille Trail (Palmetto Trail)

South Carolina - 0.75 miles

This unique trail runs through the campus of the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind and features interpretive signs in Braille that teach trail-goers ...

Mary Black Rail Trail

South Carolina - 1.9 miles

The Mary Black Rail Trail is just a short segment of what will eventually become the 12-mile Hub City Connector, which itself will be part of the larger ...

Liberty Trail (Palmetto Trail)

South Carolina - 0.6 miles

In the heart of busy Spartanburg, the Liberty Trail provides a beautiful oasis through a garden, along a tree-lined brook that cascades over a series of ...

Doodle Rail Trail

South Carolina - 7.3 miles

The Doodle Rail Trail connects the towns of Easley and Pickens in the northwestern corner of South Carolina. The paved trail follows the former Doodle ...

Heritage Trail (SC)

South Carolina - 2.5 miles

There's no better place to take in Greenwood's industrial and railroading past than along the aptly named Heritage Trail, which extends more than 2 miles ...

Oklawaha Greenway

North Carolina - 3.25 miles

For lovers of outdoors, the Oklawaha Greenway presents a natural escape in an otherwise suburban setting.  The greenway trails Mud Creek for a big part ...

Forrest Hunt Greenway

North Carolina - 0.8 miles

The Forrest Hunt Greenway connects Forrest Hunt Elementary School with the Alexander Mills section of Forest City, North Carolina. For more information, ...

Thermal Belt Rail-Trail

North Carolina - 8 miles

If you enjoy rail-trails that flaunt their railroading past, you're sure to love the Thermal Belt Rail-Trail. This well-maintained route runs 8 miles from ...

Brevard Bike Path

North Carolina - 5 miles

The Brevard Bike Path is a relatively flat trail, nearly 5 miles long. About 1 mile (northwest end) follows the old Carr Lumber Company railway corridor ...

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews
OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!
OR