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This nearly 8-mile trail occupies a unique historic and natural setting in the heart of Augusta. Originally constructed in 1845, the waterway itself is the only unbroken, accessible industrial canal in the South. Its textile heritage is preserved in several existing period structures, including the ornate Sibley Mill and a Confederate-era parapet. The trail is part of the larger Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, which centers on the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center.
The packed-dirt trail is firm enough that travelers could take a road bike on it and it is largely wheelchair accessible, except after a rain when the trail may get muddy in spots. The pathway runs along a strip of green between the canal and the Savannah River, where small rapids cascade over granite ledges separating the coastal plain from the piedmont plateau.
Starting from the outskirts of downtown, the trail passes Sibley Mill, enters a lightly developed neighborhood then really turns on the charm along a tree-canopied segment beyond an I-20 underpass. You would never know you're just a stone's throw from downtown. The shady forest and adjacent cool waterways offer relief in the steamy summer months.
Trailside activities include boat tours of the Savannah River, kayaking on the canal, mountain biking on trails that parallel the main route, and fishing (with a Georgia fishing license). The northern end of the trail provides access to the scenic Savannah Rapids Park, where bike, canoe, and kayak rentals are available.
Near the southern end of the trail, at the Lake Olmstead Trailhead, you can cross the Augusta Canal bridge to continue your stroll or bike ride for another 2 miles on the paved River Levee Trail, which offers lovely views of the Savannah River and the downtown skyline.
At the north end of the trail, parking, restrooms, and drinking water are available in Savannah Rapids Park (3300 Evans to Locks Rd., Martinez).
Near the southern end of the trail, you can also take Broad Street from downtown Augusta west to Goodrich Street and turn right. Continue just under a mile to a parking lot at the pumping station adjacent to the King and Sibley mills.
Another popular starting or stopping point is the Lake Olmstead Trailhead (1 Milledge Road) as it offers parking, restrooms, drinking fountains, and a picnic pavilion.
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