Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Trails


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Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Trails Facts

States: Georgia
Counties: Columbia, Richmond
Length: 7.9 miles
Trail end points: 3300 Evans to Locks Rd (Martinez) and 13th St (Augusta)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt
Trail category: Canal
ID: 6015679

Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Trails Description


Taking a trek through Augusta’s industrial past is as easy as hopping on the towpath and the Mill Village Trail. They form a nearly 8-mile level track nestled between the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal and create a backbone for a network of trails in the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, designated by Congress in 1996.

About the Route

The trail—mostly hard-packed dirt—runs along the old towpath from the canal headgates at Savannah Rapids Park north of Augusta to the Old Turning Basin at 13th St. in the town’s central business district. The trail surface is suitable for bicycles and is wheelchair accessible. Fishing is a popular pastime along the trail, as long as you follow the rules—don’t feed the alligators!

Leaving off from the trail's northern end, trail users will find plenty of parking at the headgates trailhead in Savannah Rapids Park, where bicycle and kayak rentals are available. After crossing the 1875 gatehouse and locks at the head of the canal, the trail heads south on the towpath on a narrow, wooded strip of land between the canal and the river. In about 2.5 miles, a clearing provides a spot to picnic or wade into the river

While Augusta’s skyline emerges as the trail moves south, the first trailside buildings arise in another mile at the pump station, which has been drawing drinking water from the canal since 1899. This is also the junction with the 2.5-mile Mountain Bike Singletrack and a pedestrian bridge crossing the canal to parking and ballfields.

Another 1.3 miles brings trail users to the Lake Olmstead Trailhead, where trail users will cross a bridge to continue on a paved main trail (the Mill Village Trail). Trail users can also continue south for 0.5 miles on the old towpath or take excursions on the Lake Olmstead and River Levee Trails, which meet here.

In 0.6 miles, the trail reaches the Mill Village Trailhead, after which the remaining trail is paved. Just south of the trailhead, the trail crosses the old redbrick Confederate Powder Works chimney and Sibley Mill. In another mile, the trail crosses back to the north side of the canal and passes the Enterprise Mill, a former textile factory that houses historical exhibits in the Discovery Center. The trail reaches its southern end in 0.4 miles at the Old Turning Basin, formerly a wide spot where canal boats could turn around.

Trail History

Completed in 1845, the canal carried commercial traffic and harnessed the river’s energy to power local textile mills, which helped establish the city as one of the South’s few manufacturing centers by the Civil War. Today, the waterway is the nation’s only intact industrial canal still in operation. Along the trail, you’ll view renovated textile mills and the chimney of the Confederate Powder Works, which was operational between 1862 and 1865.

Parking and Trail Access

The Augusta Canal National Heritage Trails runs between 3300 Evans to Locks Rd (Martinez) and 13th St (Augusta), with parking available at both ends.

Parking is also available at:

  • Eisenhower Park, 1488 Eisenhower Dr (Augusta)
  • 1 Milledge Rd (Augusta)

Please see the TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Trails Reviews

great trail

For me a week without doing a double round trip ride from downtown to the falls at least once is incomplete.

Excellent trail

Very nice, well maintained trail. Lots of parking at the north end near the locks beginning the Augusta Canal. The trail is both dirt and paved between the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal. You actually are using the canal's tow path used by animals to pull barges down the canal over 100 years ago. Walk from locks to I-20 underpass and back is 4 miles.

The best in this area!

The canal on one side, continuously, and the Savannah River fall on the other side (off and on some of the way), what could be better. Mostly hard-packed clay and light gravel; some disintegrating asphalt and cinder. Occasional mud ruts after hard rains, but usually repaired quickly. Lush in the spring, and beatiful in the fall. Mostly no grade at all; originally the canal tow path. Two prime and one sub-prime, spots to stop and take a dip, one on the Savannah, the other on a canal offshoot; and one near the canal dam. You could even ride up and kayak down. Seriously. I live here and the paved Noth Augusta Greenway is my second favorite, but go-to ride. Both are about 10-12 miles round trip, depending on add-ones. Great close parking at Lake Olmstead off Broad and Millegeville Rds. Cross the wooden bridge, go left and 5 miles later you're at the Canal dam and north-west end of the trail. Worth a stop and soaking in in God's great scenery (to quote my daughter at age 6; not that we're all that pious, but "out of the mouths of babes..."

nice trail

rode the trail and the scenery was very nice and liked the historical landmarks. plenty of photography opportunities on the savannah river and liked the waterfalls near the bike shop and visitors ctr. the trail also extends 4 miles near Evans ga on Evans to locks Rd. also close to I-20 about 5-10min. close to Washington Rd area


love trail

Nice scenery, friendly people love the change on foliage from spring to summer to autumn. Get to see lots if turtles sunbathing and the occasional beavers. Very good for family outing or by yourself

A real gem

Walking, biking, or running, from the trailhead at the locks down to Lake Olmstead and beyond, this trail is a must visit.

Trail with a view

It is hard to believe you are only a mile and a half off of I 20 when riding this trail. The trail is nice hard packed red clay and asphalted in some areas. Stop and read the placards and learn the history of the area and be sure to go all the way to the head gate where there is still a working hand cranked gate for the canal locks that were built in 1874. The ride is full of stunning beauty of the Savannah river and the canal tow road. If you are on a mountain bike be sure to ride one of the best single tracks I have ever come across. Enjoy the ride and share the info with others.

great trail

I am fron PA, found this trail while spending 3 months in West Columbia.
Great trail.....made me feel like a flatlander....but all in all great scenery, trial had wide girth which I find helpful .....and friendly southern people.

Something new

The start of the trail is at a gated entrance. The first 1/4 is a bit rocky and rough gravel. Then, the newest paved section is reached. Very smooth and pretty ride from there. Wonderful job on the construction of the bridges with terraced sections. There is a nice bathroom house half way through the ride.


I have rode the trail many times over and incorporate the North Augusta Greenway Trail into this ride. I start most times at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and ride into downtown. I then cross in South Carolina and ride the North Augusta Greenway to the end at I 20 and turn to go back to the Pavilion. That ride is 32 miles.

Great Ride

Great trail for fat tire bikes! We thoroughly enjoyed the scenery as we followed the river and rode to the old textile mill for a total of 7.5 miles.

Great Running Trail

Ran the trail today, great trail for both running and biking. Even though it was raining for the first 3 miles, I barely noticed with all the overhead cover, I actually would not have known it was raining if I had not looked over at the canal. This is a very well used trail, lots of families out along with runners and bikers. Highly recommend this for a great outing, I did a total of 7.5 miles.

gorgeous views, lots of activity yet serene

biked the tow path from julian park to the north end of the canal in october. lovely temps, foilage, kayakers in the canal, joggers and cyclists on the tow path. surface changes from hard packed dirt, to pea gravel, to asphalt. one cant just zone out b/c the surface will move around on ya. but city bikes or hybrids have no trouble at all. the view over the retaining wall of the every dropping central savannah river is a photo opp for sure. lovely little bridges, and connectors keep the path rolling for miles. AND the bike peddler is setup at the north end to rent bikes for folks that dont bring theirs.

Great ride

This Augusta Canal Trail is well worth the drive from Atlanta, especially when combined with the North Augusta Greeneway Trail across the Savannah River.

What a way to spend lunch

I work a mile away from Lake Olmstead and try to hit the trail often during lunch. It's 11.8 miles round trip to Savannah Rapids and a GREAT way to spend a lunch hour (OK, an hour and 15 minutes). The red clay section from the canal spillway to the pumping station can be a bit gummy after a rain but other than that it's a wonderful ride.

Fun Ride!! - New access information...

A couple of day trip easily got in the North Augusta Greenway and the Augusta Canal trails. The entrance off Goodrich Street that went to the Pumping Station is blocked at the Sibley Textile Mill. Although there are some unlocked parking areas here, it is pretty isolated so keep your car and your personal safety in mind. Across the canal there currently is construction of a new Kroc Center with some trail paving going on but we felt not a good area to park in so looked elsewhere further north (or west) We also looked at the gravel parking area at the dead end of Millage Road adjacent to Lake Olmsted. Although we chose not to access the train from here, there is a bridge across the canal at this point and you can park and get to the trail very easily. Our choice was the parking lots at Eisenhower Park located on the dead end of Eisenhower Drive off Broad Street. Follow Eisenhower and take a right immediately after crossing the CSX Railroad track. Take this drive to the dead end. You will see a fence across the street, but the Augusta Parks department keeps a path mowed around the gate to the left and a path goes under the bridge for River Watch Parkway. Follow this path to the canal and there is a small bridge which will lead you across the canal where you will now access the Canal Trail at the Augusta Waterworks Pump Station. (Keep in mind this IS an active mainline for the CSX Railroad to keep little ones (and yourself) clear of the track.

Once across the canal, you can go either to the right toward downtown Augusta or left heading to the head of the canal. We were on the trail the day after a deluge rain (see report on North Augusta Greenway Trail) but found very little mud and a very easy ride. There is decent shade heading north or to your left from this point and less tree canopy or shade heading south since you are on the top of the Augusta Levee. There are porta-potties northward from this point but take your own water.

Take a look at the "Birdseye view" on Google Maps where you can easily see the canal and the trails along the former "tow-path" and top of the levee. Helmets on, Kick-stands up... have a great and safe ride!!


My husband and I checked out the Augusta Canal trail this morning and what a workout we got! Not many coasting opportunities which meant constant peddling for nearly the entire route. I clocked 12.83 miles from our start at the Savannah Rapids Park off Evans to Locks Road and Stevens Creek. We parked at the top of the hill and started the trail from atop, which meant we ended the trail atop too...LOL. The scenery is great and the trail is very well maintained. We enjoyed the kayaks and the waterfalls. The narrow bridge crossing was a bit nerve wrecking to me, but my husband loved it. He's quite the daredevil. I'm sure we'll be visiting again!

Additional comments about the trail

There was a gentleman that said about the path that starts at the pavilion. Well that pathway starts at the entrance to the pavilion and ends just past Blue Ridge Dr. I haven't tried the trail yet but from what I got from a taste of it up at the head gates it looks like a pretty good trail. I'll give it a few stars for now until I finally finish it

Great trail !!

My wife and I just "happened" up on this wonderful trail.We had a long weekend and went to Mistletoe State park,about 30 miles away, for some biking. We biked early and later found ourselves doing a canal Boat Tour in Augusta and found out about the old converted towpath along the canal. The next day we opted for the canal trail instead of the state park and were so glad we did. It was pleasureable and relatively easy. We've only been biking about a year now and this is one of the best trails we've done. There's a lot of history that goes along with this path that most would find very interesting.Do a canal boat tour for the history part and a beautiful 7.5 mile ride into town from the Headgates on the Savannah River.
This is not mountain biking but it was good for us and our hybrids. Happy Trails............Mike & jean Whitfield

Easy-going, scenic, and a great ride

Saturday, Sept 27, 2008 was my second trip to the Augusta Canal. Even after raining all of the day before the path was in excellent condition. And, with autumn in the air, it was a delightful day. There were a lot of people (of all ages) bicycling, canoeing, walking, running, and enjoying the day. Everyone was kind and polite, although not everyone knew to "keep to the right." Most of the people on the trail kept between the headgates and the picnic area at "the clearing," which is good for the many youngsters I saw.

Parking and setting off at the headgates is best. There is plenty of parking, restrooms, a visitors' center, playground, and event pavilion. Plus, the scenery here is gorgeous -- a great way to start out. From here, the path is finely crushed, compacted gravel. After about a mile or so, the path changes to either macadam or a sandy surface over a hard clay base. There are areas of asphalt at the I-20 overpass and at the waterworks. The path is about 1/3 tree-covered areas and the rest is open.

The path seems to end once you arrive at the Sibley Mill. Indicator signs are vague, and the designated path seems to take you through some city streets where its best to stay on the street and keep moving (if you know what I mean). But, traffic is not that bad for the few blocks you'll have to ride through. The trail picks up again at 15th Street and Enterprise/Graniteville Mill. Once you get to the end of the path at the 13th Street turning basin, head down 13th Street toward the river.

The Riverwalk is a delightful place. The City has done a nice job with the Riverwalk Park, but unfortunately there is not much there to attract the residents. There's a really good science museum (Fort Discovery) a hotel, and a so-so art museum, but no shops or restaurants -- you know, none of things to keep attracting the locals to make it a "happening place." Too bad, but still worth the trip. If you happen to be there when the outdoor market is occurring, at least you can get lunch.

I made the trip on my mountain bike. One way, I rode to make time at 36 minutes -- headgates to Riverwalk. Allowing an hour for each way will give you plenty of time to stop and enjoy the scenery and take plenty of photos. Hybrid bikes will do just fine. Road bikes will do okay too, but watch for an occasional rut or dip. The path seems to be well-maintained, and it's a nice, level ride.

HIGHLY Recommended -- A+

Great trail

The trail is great and has been extended 2.5 miles to Stevens Creek Elementary School from the headgates at Savannah Rapids Pavilion.

"Great for running, walking or biking"

"While attending a relative's wedding a couple of years ago I was able to enjoy running along this canal trail. It is a beautiful and well maintained site. It is great for running, walking or biking. I am glad that I was able to visit and enjoy this trail while in Augusta. "

A beautiful treat

This very easy flat trail is worth the drive from anywhere in the state. The beauty of riding next to the Savannah river on one side and the canal on the other is a treat that every cyclist should experence.

Absolutely outstanding trail

"This is an absolutely outstanding trail for just about any purpose. It's dirt and some asphalt. Alternately shaded and open. Completely flat. Great for running, walking, birding, etc. Great views of the Savannah River."

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