I moved to Columbia County in 1999 because of my husband’s position with Savannah River Site (SRS). I knew no one except him and nothing about my new city. I have now spent the past 18 years of my life making Augusta my home. About 7 years ago, I started 365 Things to Do in Augusta. I was determined to get out and explore. I’ve always loved being outside, whether it was riding my bike, hiking, nature trails, or photo walks. Over time, I’ve come to realize that the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) has some pretty amazing trails and outdoor spaces. Here are a few of the local outdoor spaces that I’ve grown to love in the Augusta area:
- Aqueduct Park at Rae’s Creek – One word: waterfall. This secluded area is not heavily advertised and is quite possibly one of the best-kept secrets in Augusta. Located right on the towpath between the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River, this swimming hole is the perfect spot to cool off during our hot summer months, and the rocks and waterfall are a beautiful surprise tucked right in the middle of town. For closest access, park at the end of Milledge Road at the Lake Olmstead Trailhead. Cross the wooden footbridge over the Augusta Canal, hang a left on the dirt path, and keep to the left. The swimming hole is right around the corner.
- The Augusta Canal and towpath – Two words: unbeatable views. It’s the perfect spot for biking, running, kayaking, frisbee with your dog, picnicking, or taking a photo walk. The possibilities are endless. Favorite access points: Savannah Rapids Park in Columbia, Eisenhower Park in Augusta, and the Lake Olmstead Trailhead behind the old Augusta Greenjackets stadium (see #1).
- Savannah River Bluffs Heritage Preserve – great place for a hike, rarely crowded (unlike Savannah Rapids Park), and you’ll get some great views of the Savannah River and possibly wildlife, too. From I-20, take exit 1 in Aiken County to Martintown Road, right on Old Plantation Road and follow the signs.
- Betty’s Branch at Riverside Park – Easily my favorite spot to start a kayaking adventure. You can launch your kayaks here at the dock and paddle up Betty’s Branch, then float back down the Savannah River to your starting point. No extra car needed for transport. Pro-tip: Bring sunscreen and a water-proof camera and keep your eyes open for the owl perched in the branches creekside.
- Phinizy Swamp – Beautiful hiking spot with nature trails and a boardwalk winding through the trees and man-made swamp areas. Pro-tip: bring your camera and telephoto lens if you have one. Keep an eye out for wildlife including some beautiful birds and an alligator sighting in one of the ponds.
Did I miss your favorite outdoor spot in Augusta? Message me with the details at email@example.com or 706-945-7649. I’ll be happy to share!