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Biking on the Trails at Harbison State Forest the


photo by
Russell Hubright

Trail Guide
SC Trails Trail Map
Trail Rules
Topo Map
Aerial Photo
Tiger Map
Firebreak Trail
The Firebreak Trail provides the refreshing experience above! Firebreak is THE core trail as it is the link to and from the other trails when you begin at the front parking lot. It is divided by the forest road into East and West sections for a total of 4 miles of delightful biking, hiking or running.
Stewardship Trail
The Stewardship trail is so named because it was designed to demonstrate what Forest Stewardship means. Besides running through some of the most beautiful sections of Harbison State Forest, the 3 mile Stewardship loop trail has many delightful features:
  • frequent sightings of a variety of wildlife including deer, rabbits, squirrels and a great variety of birds
  • a short spur leading to a view of the Broad River complete with benches
  • a canoe/kayak access point on the Broad River
  • for adventurous mountain bikers, hikers or trail runners, there is an alternative very challenging spur which rejoins the main trail but only after a strenuous workout
The Stewardship trail can be entered from many points:
  • from the Connector Trail leading to/from Firebreak
  • from the Middle Connector Trail leading to/from Midlands Mountain
  • from the Stewardship parking lot
Have a wonderful hiking/biking/running time on the Stewardship Trail!
Midlands Mountain
a hiker's perspective...
There is a short quarter-mile section of the Midlands Mountain trail that goes through the greenest part of the Forest in the summertime. This is known as the Bottomland. From the thick green ground cover to the tops of the trees, there is no other section of the Forest like it. It is lush! During the heavy spring rains, the Broad River floods over its banks and covers the bottomland area in several feet of water. After the water recedes, the vegetation shows how beneficial all that water was. You find many types of plants growing in this area that do not grow in other areas of the Forest. I always seem to see and hear the most birds down there also.

This part of the Midlands Mountain Trail goes closest to the Broad River. The trail is primarily for foot traffic as the bikers are routed to the drier, higher section of the trail (as noted in the Trail Guide--see above). This part of the trail is usually passable for hikers and runners except during the spring floods and after heavy rains. For hikers and runners there is also a minimally cleared passage that connects the bottomland trail section to the Broad River Rapids at Spider Woman. You'll find this connector near the blue trail marker sign at the north end of the bottomland section. Just stay on it as it follows the Broad River all the way to the Rapids.

Spider Woman
a hiker's perspective...
Spider Woman is one of the shortest trails, the most challenging trail for bikers and hikers and one of the most scenic in the Forest. There are many creeks in Harbison State Forest, but one found along the Spider Woman Trail is the closest one to a mountain stream I've found. It has some large rock formations and the water generally runs fairly clear through here--when there is some! The creek is only a 5 minute hike from the Midlands Mountain parking lot (number 5 on the Trail Guide-- see above) if you take advantage of a "hiker's shortcut". To use this shortcut, after you cross the large bridge take a left right after you pass the large pine tree which is also on the left. Go along the creek for about 100 feet until it connects with Spider Woman and you are there!
If you keep hiking on Spider Woman following the creek downstream, you will be able to get to the Broad River Rapids and the Rock Garden within about 20 minutes. This hike goes through some of the most scenic areas of the Forest. The creek provides a good environment for hardwood growth and there are many hillside sections that are full of ferns. Be on the lookout for one more "hiker's shortcut" that saves about 15 minutes. As the trail heads away from the creek, the shortcut follows the creek and reconnects with Spider Woman after only about 40 feet. (If you have to jump a VERY narrow little ditch, you found it.) When you get to the Broad River, follow the hikers' trail that stays along the river to get to the Broad River Rapids or stay on Spider Woman to go to the Rock Garden.

The Rock Garden has "Rocks Everywhere!"...including in the middle of the trail. For the bikers, this area is one of the most technical sections of trail in the Forest. Hikers need to be careful going through here also. While the scenery is unique and attention grabbing, watch out for those rocks on the trail of you may be falling on them! It is a very short section so enjoy it while you are there.

There is a view on Spider Woman overlooking the Broad River that many of the bikers may not notice since they're probably paying close attention to the trail right in here. It's a nice section of Spider Woman that overlooks the rapids at the Broad River. It's a great view if you are hiking and is similar to the view at Harbison Bluffs.

The Broad River Rapids
a hiker's perspective...
Come and listen to the soothing sound of the river. The Broad River isn't known for its rapids but there is a nice one here. The ridge of rocks goes all the way across the river. Varying amounts of rock are exposed depending on water levels. When the water is low you can go out to an island in the middle of the river.

From what I've seen I'll have to say: "Happy is the dog that gets to take a cool-down swim in here." (I've seen a few happy kids in here too.) The banks of the Broad River are fairly steep in most places with poor access to the water but there are a few access spots near the rapids. The rocks allow for entry into the water without getting muddy. As inviting as the water may look, however, please use caution. The current is very swift during high water levels.

For those interested in paddling the Broad River despite the rapids, the river is generally considered to be an easy river for beginners. Although the rapids are just downstream from the canoe landing, they can usually be navigated fairly easily and then it's smooth sailing from there all the way to the pick-up point near I-20. Along that stretch of river, there's a large patch of the rare Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies that you can see blooming around Memorial Day. Often the current is slow and you can avoid the rapids altogether, paddle upstream and return to the Forest landing. The fishing is good for bass, bream and catfish.

If you are adventurous and the water is low, you can follow the creek upstream just a little until you find a spot to cross and get to the other side where the canoe landing is. From there, you can pick up the Stewardship Trail.

Lost Creek Trail
Crooked Pine Trail
Discovery Trail
Eagle Trail
Learning Trail
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