Walking Along the Augusta Canal Trail

This trail of nearly 8 miles is an exceptional natural and historic landscape in the heart of Augusta. It was first constructed in 1845. The waterway is the only intact easily accessible canal for industrial use that runs through the South. The textile heritage of the area can be seen in the many existing buildings from the past, such as the elaborate Sibley Mill and a Confederate-era parapet. This trail forms part of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area that is centered around the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center.

The trail made of packed dirt is sturdy enough for people to ride an e-bike on it, and is accessible to wheelchairs, unless there is an occurrence of rain, when the trail might be muddy in a few spots. The trail runs along an area of green that runs between the river and the Savannah River, where there are small waves of water flowing across granite ledges that separate the plain of the coast from the plateau of the piedmont.

Beginning from the suburbs in downtown path traverses Sibley Mill, go through a relatively undeveloped neighborhood, and then becomes a swansong through a tree-canopied section that extends beyond and an I-20 underpass. You’d never realize that you’re just a stone’s distance away from downtown. The lush, shady forest as well as the cool waters offer relief in the summer heat.

Activities on the trails include boat trips on Savannah River, mountain biking along trails that run parallel to the main trail, kayaking along the canal as well as fishing (of course with a permit to fish). The northern part of the trail offers entry to the beautiful Savannah Rapids Park, where canoe, bicycle rental or kayak for hire is readily available.

Near the southernmost point on the path, near the Lake Olmstead Trailhead, you can walk across the Augusta Canal bridge to go on your bike or stroll for another two miles along the Trail that is concrete River Levee Trail with stunning perspectives of Savannah River and to the downtown skyline.

Trail Access and Parking

You can find the trail at the northern part of the path, bathrooms, parking and potable water are accessible within Savannah Rapids Park.

At the southernmost point to the hike, one could also go south on Broad Street from downtown of Augusta west to Goodrich Street and then turn right. Take a little less than 1 mile to the parking area next to The King as well as Sibley mills.

Another popular stopping or starting place for travelers is Lake Olmstead Trailhead (1 Milledge Road) because it has toilets, parking, drinking fountains, as well as a picnic building.

Trails

The Augusta Canal is a National Heritage Area which showcases the canal constructed around 1845 in order to control the force from the Savannah River. It’s now a sprawling recreation area, and Augusta’s most famous running trail. It comprises four main trails that run through the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal. Its Map of the Trail Map is an excellent overview.

Main Towpath

The main towpath runs along a 7 miles (one-way) gravel path that connects Columbia County Visitors Center in the north and the University Hospital in the south. (The portion of the trail along the west bank is called Mill Village Trail).

River Levee Trail

The trail runs for four miles from Aqueduct Park as well as Olde Town, mainly along the Savannah River. Beginning at Aqueduct Park, the trail stretches for 2 miles through the 104 and Savannah River until 13th Street and then it turns into the Augusta Riverwalk/New Bartram Trail in Oglethorpe Park. The runners can continue for another 2 miles, until the concrete/brick trail turns into dirt on Reynolds Street.

Third Level Trail

The 3rd Level Trail is a somewhat less picturesque, but a practical .8-mile trail made of concrete that runs between 12th Street and 7th Street.

The runners will also be able to find other tracks along the route like The Old Fish Camp Path, River Shoals Nature Trail, Mountain Bike Singletrack, as well as Lake Olmstead Trail.

Trail Activities:

  • Mountain Biking
  • Fishing
  • Walking

Protocols for Trail Walking

To ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment, please:

  • Be polite and a great patron of the Canal
  • Admire wildlife and historical structures, but do not disrupt them.
  • Remember, the trail acts similar to a road. Stay right and then go left.
  • The groups should not occupy the entire width of a trail.
  • Users with faster speeds are more likely to yield to slower users.
  • Don’t litter. Bring your trash along after you go home.
  • Maintain animals in a leash in a controlled manner at all times. Get rid of and clean up animal waste. Remind others to do the same.

The RULES

  • Don’t feed the alligators, or other wildlife around.
  • No horses, off-road motor vehicles (ATVs).
  • Alcoholic beverages are not allowed.
  • No discharging of firearms, arrows or bows.
  • Camping, hunting or burning are not permitted.
  • No loud radios or music.
  • A note about motorized vehicles only authorized City and Canal Authority motorized traffic is permitted. All pedestrians must be on the lookout for these vehicles.
  • Don’t jump off docks, bridges, bulkheads or any other forms.

You can visit also The Harlem Museum and Welcome Center, Home of the Laurel & Hardy Museum or Sikes Pressure Washing!