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Reported: October 2023

Augusta Canal Trail...

Scenic Biking along a Historic Georgia Canal

The Augusta Canal Trail runs on the towpath on the north side of the historic Augusta Canal, paralleling the Savannah River. The trail is popular for biking and hiking, with scenic views and many historic sites. Benches, directional signs, and historic markers are located along the way. Other activities along the river and canal include mountain biking, paddling, and fishing. A boat tour is also offered. (Detailed map and photos below.)

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Biking Map... Augusta Trails
Augusta Canal Trail

View Larger Map external

Location: Martinez to Augusta, GA (See map)
Distance: 7.5 miles (including Mill Village Trail)
Surface: Sand/clay packed dirt, some paved
Trailheads/Parking: Savannah Rapids Park, Savannah Waterworks, Lake Olmstead Trailhead
Nearby Places of Interest: Augusta Canal Discovery Center, Augusta Downtown Historic District, Rae's Creek Aqueduct Park

Support and Advocacy:
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Inc. external
Central Savannah River Land Trust external

Bike Shops/Rentals:
The Bicycle Peddler external (rentals, sales, service)
Andy Jordan's Bicycle Warehouse external (rentals, sales, service)
Outspokin' Bicycles external (sales, service, group rides)

Page Summary:

  1. Biking on the Augusta Canal Trail
    - Trail at Savannah Rapids Park
    - Canal Walk
    - Savannah Rapids Park to the Waterworks
    - Waterworks to Lake Olmstead Trailhead
  2. Mill Village Trail
  3. A Short History
  4. More Information and Resources


Biking on the Augusta Canal Trail

The trail is wide and flat, easy to ride on a packed dirt surface, with paved sections near the Headgates and in more urban areas. Scenic views and historical sites. Assorted wildlife may be seen. our favorite section was the first 4 miles from Savannah Rapids Park to the Augusta Waterworks. Here, the trail runs between the canal and the river, mostly shaded with scenic views including rapids on the river. Past here, the trail continues along the canal but away the river, closer to roadways and a railroad track, with limited shade.

Trail at Savannah Rapids Park - 1 mile

The Headgates of the canal are at Savannah Rapids Park (parking, restrooms, bike and kayak rentals, picnicking, playground, visitor center, convention pavilion). From the parking area, follow the path past the bike shop, with scenic views of the Reed Creek Falls, to the bridge crossing the canal. The trail is paved at the park, unpaved once over the bridge. At the end of the bridge, go left (north) for the Canal Walk or right (south) to continue on the towpath into Augusta.

Savannah Rapids Park

Trail at Park to Towpath

Canal Walk

From the bridge at Savannah Rapids Park, the section of the towpath dubbed the "Canal Walk" runs about 1/3 mile north to the canal's Headgates where a viewing area gives excellent views of the canal, river and rapids. Walk your bike back across the canal on the path along the Headgates, then bike back to start. This is a popular loop for walkers, about 6/10 mile, so bikers should watch for pedestrians.

Savannah Rapids Park to the Waterworks - 3.5 miles

From the bridge at Savannah Rapids Park, the trail continues to the south on the towpath between the canal and the river. This is a very scenic, shaded section. The trail goes under I-20, then at about 2.5 miles The Clearing is a pleasant stopping point with benches, picnic tables, restrooms, and views of the shoals. The tree cover ends at the Augusta Waterworks (a raw water pumping station). Trail parking is located across a bridge over the canal.

Waterworks to Lake Olmstead Trailhead - 1 mile

Leaving the Waterworks, the trail crosses a railroad track. Here, a path to the left leads to the mountain biking north trailhead - continue straight on the towpath trail. After passing under Riverwatch Pkwy. (rte. 104), the trail runs along the railroad track for a short distance before crossing a spillway. Another path to the left leads to the mountain biking south trailhead. The towpath trail becomes more narrow as it runs on an elevated path past Rae's Creek Aqueduct Park (1850 aqueduct and waterfall; bikers can be seen on the park roadway below).

From the Lake Olmstead Trailhead, options are: (1) continue on the Mill Village Trail, or (2) link to the River Levee Trail. While the towpath continues along the canal to Eve St. and the King/Sibley Mills, trail users are directed to Lake Olmstead Trailhead. From there, take the Mill Village Trail to Eve St. and cross the bridge to the historic sites.

Mill Village Trail - 2 miles

Starting from the Lake Olmstead Trailhead (parking, restrooms, picnic), the Mill Village Trail runs along the canal 2 miles to 13th St. We rode the section from the Lake Olmstead Trailhead to the Mill Village Trailhead at Eve St., about 1/2 mile. Across the canal the historic Sibley Mill (1882), can be seen. It was once the site of the Confederate Powder Works - the Powder Works Chimney remains and is open to visitors.

From Eve St., the trail is paved and more urban, with sections running along and on city streets. The Augusta Canal Discovery Center is located along the trail in the old Enterprise Mill. We may visit at a future time.

A Short History

The Augusta Canal is Georgia's first National Heritage Area. The canal, built in 1845 to harness the energy of the Savannah River, was key to the area's industrial growth. Today, none of the many textile mills are still functioning, but the Augusta Canal remains the oldest continuously operating hydropower canal in the United States.

History buffs can read more here. external

More Information and Resources

Nearby Biking:
More Augusta Bike Trails:
- Augusta Riverwalk
- River Levee Trail
North Augusta Greeneway (SC)
Bike-Georgia - More bike trails and information about biking in Georgia

Related Resources:
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area external
National Park Service - Augusta Canal National Heritage Area external
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area - Activities external

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