Doodle Rail Trail

South Carolina

47 Reviews

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Doodle Rail Trail Facts

States: South Carolina
Counties: Pickens
Length: 8.5 miles
Trail end points: Railroad Street (Pickens) and NW Main Street (Easley)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7598213

Doodle Rail Trail Description


The Doodle Rail Trail connects the towns of Pickens and Easley in the northwest corner of South Carolina. The paved trail follows a former railbed for 8.5 miles and includes two wooden bridges. The railway began passenger and freight service in 1898 and was called the “Doodle” because it ran backward like a doodlebug between Pickens and Easley due to its inability to turn around.

About the Route

The eastern trailhead is located at Pickens Doodle Park with amenities evoking the area’s railroading history, including a building and shelter styled like a train depot, brightly colored murals of the train, and an actual engine and car that once ran the Doodle line.

From there, trail users will find that the landscape shifts as the trail meanders; sometimes the path runs right alongside a road, while at other times it’s tucked behind the trees. Single-­family homes give way to thickly wooded corridors and lush rolling pastures where cattle languidly pass the time. Remnants of the Upstate’s industrial past are also apparent in the shuttered plants. Painted on the asphalt are 0.1-mile markers to help you track your progress.

At about the halfway mark (near Elljean Road), trail users will come upon a hidden gem—Rotary Park—which was jointly erected by the Rotary Clubs of Pickens and Easley. The small, semicircular space is nestled between the trees and provides seating, a bike repair station, a trail map, and bike parking. If you pause to take in the serenity of the park, you may hear the sounds of birds chirping, leaves rustling, and squirrels and bunnies scurrying in the brush.

While the route does have an abundance of road crossings, they are well-marked with striping, tactile paving, and stop signs for trail users. Even if the road seems fairly empty, do not be tempted to rush across; visibility is sometimes poor, and a car may appear without much warning.

After 8.5 miles of navigating the trail’s gradual inclines, Easley’s Doodle Park comes into sight as the trail emerges onto Fleetwood Drive. Like its counterpart in Pickens, this park also features train cars as decoration. These are also functional, however, with one of them housing the park’s restrooms. 


Parking and Trail Access

The Doodle Rail Trail runs between Railroad Street (Pickens) and NW Main Street (Easley), with parking available at both ends. 

Parking is also available at:

  • Doodle Park, 514 Fleetwood Dr (Easley)

See TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Doodle Rail Trail Reviews

Hilly, not crowded

This was my third ride on the Doodle trail. It is hillier than the Greenville Swamp Rabbit trail, and much less crowded. Good bathrooms at each end, and a nice store at the Pickens end that serves sandwiches and craft beers in cans and bottles.

great trail

Decently maintained. Gorgeous views. There’s a spot with some art work painted on the ground (near the cemetery). Both trailheads have bathrooms and a park. Few bumpy areas where ya definitely want two hands on the “wheel.”

Well maintained & simple rail trail

A pretty straightforward rail trail that is paved, is kept up so there are no unpleasant bumps, and has parking at either end.

Much of it is well-shaded, and the scenery is nice.

It has more road crossings than some others, but there is likely no way to change that. Also 8 miles is not super long compared to some others.

I drove a little out of my way driving from Charlotte to Atlanta & may make the same stop in the future as I drive that regularly.

Loved it

Great ride. Very well maintained trail. Beautiful scenery. There were a couple shady areas that I rode through and felt a little on edge. But could just be me!


Beautiful and filled with hills

I absolutely enjoyed every mile of this trail on my blades. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. There were plenty of bikers and walkers out on a Monday morning 8-9am. As an in-line skater this trail is not for beginners if you’re not comfortable with stopping & navigating debris. I’m no pro myself so it was convenient to have grassy areas to walk in when I wasn’t comfortable to skate.

Bridge out!

We started out in Easley, the parking lot is not very big and we were pulling a trailer which we had to park behind a restaurant across the street. Not a big deal, but just be aware if you are in anything bigger than a car. We came to a dead end at one of the bridges that had huge holes in it. So we never made it to Pickens because of this as we saw no signs to get around this. So I estimate the last 2 miles were not traveled. So we just turned around and returned to the start and started the trail again! Nice city trail except for the bridge out.

Enjoyable and Just Long Enough!

There is parking plenty at both the Easley and the Pickens endpoints. We rode bikes from Pickens to Easley, stopped for some ice cream, and then turned around. Logged 16 total miles. It's rolling for a rail trail, not completely flat. You learn to enjoy the downhills and coast, because you will work out on the uphills! The train cars at both ends are neat to see. This trail needs some economic development at both ends! The ice cream was from a QuickiMart kind of place. How wonderful if a real ice cream shop opened! Or maybe a winery or a brewery.... my mind goes wild!

Parking along the trail

Intersection of Rice Road and West Arial St . Next to Arial Plant.

parking question

Are they road side parking along the trail ? With special needs I can only walk - so I did 1.5 miles from endpoints. I want to do some midsection too.

Local favorite

The Doodle is a beautiful, versatile trail. Challenging hills, sweet slopes to glide down and beautiful vistas make for a pleasant eight mile ride. Sixteen total miles will give you the good cardio workout you are looking for without unpleasant broken pavement.

The Doodle Trail

My wife and I decided to try a new to us trail that we could get to and back in a day from Asheville. The Doodle ended up our destination. We had a great ride. Met friendly people, nice trail had a great lunch in Easley and a good ride back to Pickens. We ride a tandem recumbent bike and had no problems with the hills. We will go back.

pick this one

Have to give the Doodle a 5 due to its varied terrain and smooth surface. Compared to the Swamp Rabbit we rode the day before this was a breath of fresh air. Plenty of amenities at the terminals. Riders and runners were super friendly. Don’t miss this one. May not be as long but I’d say ride it twice or three times if it miles you want but broken pavement you’re looking to miss.

Nice ride

This ride was nice. Some good scenery with farm land. Trail is well maintained and good for biking and walking/jogging. The hills are long and gradual and can be a little difficult at times. All in all a great trail for a good workout.

nice ride

Very easily accessible. Some good scenery with farm land and a few hills. A great ride if you’re looking for a good workout.

good hills

Enjoyed the country setting and the challenge of some hills. Beautiful scenery and marked well once you get on it. Had some trouble finding the start but met some locals so NBD. Fun ride!

Good workout

Excellent scenery and very well maintained. The road crossings are clearly marked but I felt there were quite a few and it somewhat disrupts your momentum. The trail is very well maintained and I thoroughly enjoyed riding it. Will definitely be back. For the mountain bikers, there are some off road areas to explore.

First but not last Trip on the Doodle

Drive two hours from northeast Georgia to give this trail a try this morning. Parked in the Pickens Depot parking area even though it isn’t officially open yet. A nice Pickens official happened to be there and gave me the thumbs up to park otherwise the overflow parking was just behind the depot. Throughly enjoyed the ride to Easley. There are some sustained railroad grades that will get your heart pumping so a cardio workout should be expected. I loved every minute of the ride and plan to go back with my wife over Memorial Day weekend another cities have done a wonderful job with their parks. Great job.

Great Trail !!

We just finished the trail and it was great. This is one trail you should do if you are in the area. Very well maintained. Would be a great trail for road bikes (we rode recumbent trikes). A good many road crossings, but nearly all were vacant of any vehicles. Too bad it's only 7.3 miles. We did the southern part from the park on Fleetwood Drive and added another 2 miles (there and back). The Park on Fleetwood Drive Is a great place to park.

Good Workout

It may only be 7 miles long, but it is mostly ups and downs most of the way. I was in 2nd gear for a couple of the hills. Wide path in good condition. New parking area and restrooms in Easley with plans for a new terminal area in Pickens. Shaded for much of the way. Worth the drive.

Not a destination trail... but definitely worth the ride if you visit the area

I was visiting the area and while I would not make a special trip just to ride this trail, It was definitely worth my time while I was here to ride it. Since this was closer to where I was staying than the longer Swamp Rabbit Trail, and didn't have much time left in the day to ride before dusk anyway I chose to ride this trail instead and wasn't disappointed. I rode from the new Easley Doodle Park out to the other end and back which was a little over 15 miles. If it weren't almost dark by the time I finished I would have happily ridden it again.

The trail surface is new and smooth. Storms had hit the area the night before so there was still some minor tree debris on the path but nothing that affected my ride. The path otherwise is well maintained and kept clean. Hills are long and very gradual and while they gave me a good workout, they shouldn't pose a problem for someone in good physical condition riding a multi-speed bike (if you don't have a multi-speed bike or are just an occasional cyclist they will pose a challenge). The trail joins two small towns so I encountered only a couple of crossings with any traffic to speak of. Since it adjoins some people's back yards the main things I had to watch out for were PETS! Maybe it was as much due to of the time of day as anything else, but I encountered two tiny kittens playing on the path, three full grown cats, and a small dog.

All and all, however, it was a nice ride and was a great way to finish off my visit to the area.

Quiet, smooth ride but hilly

Just rode the Doodle Rail Trail and found it a quiet and smooth ride (nicely paved wide asphalt trail). However, it is hilly whether you go from Easley to Pickens or Pickens to Easley so bikes with gears would be needed. Most of the hills are long and gradual but you need the gears to comfortably ride them. Wooded in places and you pass cows, goats and old train cars.

Beautiful and peacful trail.

The Doodle trail is very well paved and crosses forested areas with streams and bridges. It is very pleasant to walk, run or bike on it between Easley and Pickens. Bring the whole family for a beautiful walk.

Great afternoon Ride

This trail is up and down almost the whole way. There a short breaks both ways but you will need some gears to deal with the long hills. Such a pretty ride and it was not crowded at all. This is a beautiful bike ride. Can't wait till the leaves turn.

Nice wide pavement, but several minor hills

This is a lovely, wide rail trail. It's new enough that there aren't any rough spots in the pavement. There are few road crossings of much significance. There are more hills than typical, but fewer than you'd find on nearby roads. Frequent distance markings add to safety and help pace the rider. A mid-point rest stop was added by local Rotarians. The ride is a more rural experience than the nearby Swamp Rabbit Trail, with less traffic, and more trees. I've ridden trails from Maine to Georgia and this is a good one.

Doodle Rail Trail

While vacationing in nearby North Carolina, I looked up nearby railtrails and found the Doodle trail about an hour away. We were well please with great trail with great asphalt, a lot of split rail fences, benches, air pump station about midway along the trail, and a port-a-john @ the beginning. Once outside the city limits, the trail became rolling thru fields and forest. I believe the trail has been extended about a half a mile through the cemetery in Easley. Nice ride!

Clean and wide

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

Love this trail

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.

Very nice trail

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.

It IS hilly.

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.

beautiful trail

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.

Great Evening Ride

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.

Mike Walsh

Great ride through pastoral settings

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.

Excellent Trail

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.

Scenic Hills

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.

Great start

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.

Fall Color

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.

Walkers/Talkers Hiking Club

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 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!

Not Impressed

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.

Great trail!

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!¿¿

Great way to pick up some SC miles

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.

a great start

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.

Very nice trail

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.

First time and very impressed

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.

Awesome Beginning

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.

good with caveats

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?

South Carolina Casual Biking Surprise

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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