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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 Line railroad for just over 7 miles and includes two wooden bridges. The railway began passenger and freight service in 1898 and was called the “Doodle” because it ran backwards like a doodlebug between Pickens and Easley due to its inability to turn around.
A trailhead is provided at each end of the trail with parking and portable toilets.
In Pickens, the trailhead is located at State 8 and East Cedar Rock Road, just a block from downtown. It sits where the Pickens Depot once stood and, in the future, may include an information center, railroad museum, and plaza.
In Easley, the trailhead is located at Fleetwood Drive, about a half mile from downtown. Future plans call for the trailhead to include a park and picnic area.
I parked on fleetwood entrance and ran 5 miles on the trail and 5 miles back. The trail was very clean and looks very new. The scenery was okay. Mostly backyards of people's homes or businesses. I went at 7am on a Sunday so it was very peaceful and quiet. there were some slight elevations throughout the trail but manageable
As an inline-skater, runner and cyclist, I use this trail at least once a week and I love it.
Just focusing on inline-skating. The trail is wider than the Swamp Rabbit and the paving is new and pretty solid. I find that the trail itself is kept pretty clean throughout the year (thank you to the caretakers). For non-skaters, a trail covered in leaves, twigs and stones is almost impossible to use on skates.
The hills are tough. There are long gradual gradients and shorter sharper gradients. The ups are a great workout, and the downs require the ability to control yourself on skates, and to slow and stop yourself safely.
There are road crossings. Some of these roads are busy and for some you don't have visibility until you hit the crossing. Again, knowing how to stop quickly and safely is needed.
Because of these challenging aspects of the trail, I don't go out without my helmet and wrist, elbow and knee guards. I have tumbled twice (slipped and quick stopped) and, thankfully, only have a couple scratches to show for it (knock on wood).
Comparing the three parking lots, Alice's Manufacturing and Easley are slightly off the trail, while Pickens isn't. You may need to put your skates on at the trail if you don't chose Pickens. For me, the easiest full ride starts at Alice's (heading toward Easley initially), followed by Easley end, then Pickens end. This is due to how tired I am when I hit the final hills.
When I started inline-skating last year (2015), I had previously hardly ever tried inline-skating and was not in great shape. It took me about 1 hr 50 min to complete the full 15+ miles (I worked up to the full distance). Now, a year later, it takes me less than 1 hr 20 min at my fastest. What this means to me is, I can probably skate the trail and keep up with my casual cyclist friends as they bike it, making inline skating a viable option for a group outing.
Following the former rail line, the asphalt surface is very comfortable to ride, with some sections in the shade. There are gentle but very noticeable slopes. The endpoints of Pickens and Easley are about the same height, and there is about 400 feet of climb each way. It might be a workout on a single speed bike but easy to ride through on a multi speed bike.
One year on, the trail is still beautiful and well maintained. Also, they have added 3 Dero Fixit bike repair stations with air pumps and tools. So even if you forget a tool, you won't be completely stranded if something goes wrong.
There are some decent restaurants in both Easley and Pickens, with 1 restaurant (Auntie Ann's) not far from the Pickens end.
A lot of people say its an easy ride. Thats because they probably have bikes with 21 or more speeds. Try this on a regular simple beach cruiser and you wont be saying how "easy" it is to ride. I encountered numerous people pushing bikes and complaining about the long hard grades.I would never go back there. I like to pleasure ride not work my butt off praying to see the end.You can actually leave the Pickins parking area and coast a loooong way before slowing down. If thats not hilly I dont know what is.
Yes, there are some long stretches that were going uphill ( or downhill depending on direction ). For example, it is uphill from the 6.4 mile marker to the peak at the 7.3 mile marker. Likewise, it is uphill from the 7.9 mile marker to the peak at the 7.3 mile marker. But the elevation gain is only a few hundred feet. Still a very enjoyable ride. More interesting for the first time traveller will be the location of the parking at 514 Fleetwood Drive, Easley SC 29640. Currently ( June 2016 ), the parking is a gravel lot with a port-a-potty. It is across the street from a gas station, and across the trail from a liquor store with bars on the windows! I didn't have any problems, but I road on a Sunday morning, when the store was closed, and there were *no* loitering pedestrians nearby. I don't know about other times of day. However, this Easley trail head has a map and a air/tools station. Very nice.
Someone complained in their review of how uphill this trail is. Granted, there are some grades, but none are terribly long, and, yes, it IS a little bit of a workout, but not too bad. My friend and I, without killing ourselves, made the 15.3 mile round trip in just under 90 minutes last week. I highly recommend it and look forward to going back soon.
Due to the more rural setting of this trail compared with the Swamp Rabbit Trail between Greenville and Travelers Rest, the Doodle Trail has much less traffic. Also, the paved surface is wider and smoother than the SRT. I did this ride today with fellow seniors, and none of us had any difficulty with heat or hills.
It's a railroad grade, so there is nothing steeper than a 3% grade. Our oldest rider, who is 81, did this ride without over exerting himself. Anyone who would skip this ride because of hills would have to be a total wimp. Just to emphasize the point, we saw a 5 year old girl on a little bicycle with training wheels do this entire ride round trip with her parents.
Take plenty of water. There is none on the trail. And the only restrooms are porta-potties at each end of the trail - nothing in between.
This review is in rebuttal to the "not impressed" review from 2015. The reviewer states, "Starting from the Easley end is almost all a steady uphill climb". The reviewer all states the return trip from Pickens to Easley is 75% downhill. That information is totally incorrect.
The elevation of the Pickens trailhead is 1102. The elevation of the Easley trailhead is 1061. A forty feet elevation difference does not equate to a steady uphill climb from Easley to Pickens. Please note this trail is not flat, but the hills are only moderate in difficulty.
I rode this trail for the first time yesterday and I enjoyed it a lot. There are a lot of scenic vistas along the trail, although it also has a lot of hills. My only issue is the lack of water fountains anywhere along the trail, but this trail still isn't complete so hopefully they'll install water fountains at some point in the future.
Ive rode it a few times, its an great start .some of the things like watering station, permanent bathroom are in the works im sure. More events aimed at walkers,runners cycling,will bring more interest. More involvement. And of course local involvement will bring more revenue.
My husband and I rode this trail on a cool fall day. It was a beautiful ride. Workers had been out to clear the trail of leaves, so the ride was very pleasant. We were impressed with the overall condition of the trail asphalt and split rail fencing where necessary. The trail head parking at Easley, is just at the side of the road. The restroom facility is a port-o-let.
During this outing we also rode the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is one of our favorites. Both are great in the fall, when the leaves are changing.
Last week, a group of 10 seniors (various shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities),"hiked" the Doodle Trail. We were a little hesitant, as we had read some of the reviews that stated that the trail was difficult. We must be in better shape than we thought...or we were fueled by all the left over Halloween candy we had consumed...as the trail was delightful,and not at all difficult.
We always end our hikes with a shared meal at a local restaurant, and found the Starving Artist Cafe, in Easley, to be welcoming and delicious!
Go take a hike, y'all!
First off this trail is VERY hilly . Starting from the Easley end is almost all a steady uphill climb. Starting at the Pickins end tho you nearly coast 75 percent of the way. Many riders were pushing their bikes and complaining about the terrain. This is a ONE WAY trail for bike riders. Walking may not be too bad but you better have Supermans legs if you wanna pedal from the Easley end. Remember I warned you.
I rode the trail recently. Very nice! Being new, the pavement is perfect. Businesses will be attracted and I'll be in trouble when a brewery opens nearby!¿¿
We rode the trail from Pickens to Easley and back on an October Tuesday morning. There were a few people, pleasant to visit with, but not enough to interrupt the pace of the ride.
The aforementioned Auntie Ann's is a block off the trail more visible south bound than north. We missed it from the trail coming back, so packed up the bikes and drove over for a quite enjoyable diner style lunch.
Brand new, smooth pavement. No place to make a wrong turn. Straightforward out and back 15 miler.
From either end, you start off downhill to a stream in the middle, then climb gently up to the other end.
Rode the trail today, a Sunday morning, the weather was cool and drizzling. There's a nice size parking lot on the Easley end. The trail has long low grade hills which provide for a good workout. Beautifully new smooth pavement, fairly straight and along rural roads. Great opportunities for local business.
I set out at 7:30 AM. There was very little traffic on the trail at that hour. The trail is perfectly paved. There are no issues with the trail surface. It is hillier than I expected but still quite manageable. There is not much to see as I think this is more of a trail to get some exercise as opposed to sight seeing. In Pickens, currently the trail ends before the old railroad shops and before the street heading directly into town.
We rode this trail today and we were very impressed with the care and attention they have put into this trail. The condition of the trail is excellent. The surface is asphalt and very smooth. There are many areas with new split rail fence barriers and two new bridges.
There very many bikers, joggers, and walkers on the trail. Several families had parents and children biking the trail today. It was busy but not too congested.
There are many side road crossings and bikers need to be aware of traffic as the locals haven't quite gotten used to slowing down or stopping to check for bikers or joggers. It will take time for those using the cross roads to learn to share the crossing.
There are portable toilets on both ends of the trail but no place other than that to change. both parking lots hold about 20 vehicles. There is a small restaurant about 1 mile from the Pickens end of the trail, called Auntie Anne's, that has food and drink. we didn't try it on our ride, but we hear good things about it.The Easley trail head is across the street from a small gas station/convenience store. Perfect place for water or food.
Others have commented about the trail going through industrial areas, but that is where rail systems have always ran. Most of the industrial businesses have closed since the rail system closed. These may improve as the recreational use improves and increases. There are older homes along the trail and everyone we met were friendly.
We spoke with a police officer on the Pickens end who explained plans to extend the trail through Pickens to the park adding about another mile or so. He was also getting ready to do his routine patrol of the trail on a golf cart. It was impressive to know that the trail is being patrolled on a regular basis.
The trail was pretty easy for us, but might be a bit challenging for a novice biker of someone with an older heavy bike. The trail has a pretty even number of hill in both directions. Most grades are long with about a 1%-2% grade. There are a few short stretches that have 3%+ grade.
Overall, we were very impressed with how much attention and detail they have put into the Doodle Trail. Hopefully, vendors and businesses will start to locate on the trail heads and along the trail to make the experience more enjoyable.
Well worth the visit. We recommend this trail.
Recently opened, this trail has fabulous potential. Right now it is a no nonsense trail from start to finish. Hopefully plans for the future will include bench seats along the way where walkers could sit and rest a spell.
Firstly, the trail is nicely paved and the wooden bridge structures are nice. Love the surrounding countryside. Several shady patches were welcome on the 90 plus day we rode. That's the good stuff... The not so good stuff might have to do with its newness. There is essentially NOTHING at either end of the trail that could be considered charming or useful to the trail user. We had trouble on the Pickens end even finding tire air. Run-down properties with neglected dogs in pens, etc. along the way. I'm sure this is a characteristic of early rail trails. Wonder if they will step up their acts. On the Easley end, as the previous reviewer said, there was almost nada. A religiously-themed restaurant that was not open on Sunday was right across from the trail head. We found it by noticing other bike riders there. The Easley end of the trail goes by a blue warehouse building type of place. As my husband noted, some signage might be helpful to let folks know when they are back at the trail head. A hint is that to find it on the Pickens end, it is not far from (I assume) the only Arby's in town. Just behind it. Perhaps as far as constructive criticism, they could install a few stopping points such as benches or little pull-off areas. There was a family selling water and gatorade out of their drive-way. Maybe that's a promise of things to come. On the Pickens end there was a charming little junk shop of some type that was, yet again, closed on Sunday. Maybe they will wise up... The big question is whether Easley and Pickens will develop some charming and useful infrastructure such as Traveler's Rest has with the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Why am I doubtful?
The Pickens County Doodle Trail opened Memorial Day weekend 2015. What a gift this is to the citizens of the South Carolina piedmont region. The current eight mile paved trail between Easley and Pickens meanders through the countryside along pastures, former historic industrial sites and pine forests. This new beautifully landscaped trail is lined with handsome cedar railings placed in all appropriate areas and two old rail trestles are now architecturally enhanced for safe passage. The Doodle Trail can be leisurely biked in 45 minutes or less one way. Porta potties are installed at both ends of the trail. No waste cans or water spigots are available along this new travel venture, so bring your own supplies as needed. Be aware that there are several nice local restaurants in Easley, but are not directly connected to the trail head at this time. The only restaurant on the trail is a full menu Auntie Ann's at mile marker 1.8 (ginormous pecan waffles).
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