Got a little time to diddle away? Take a bicycle ride on the Doodle Trail, the Upstate’s answer to the classic country drive.
The paved multi-use pathway winds 7.5 miles through the South Carolina foothills, passing rolling farmland and scenic pastures with the Blue Ridge Mountains in view in the distance. Opened in 2015, it’s quickly becoming a recreational destination for biking, walking, running and rollerblading.
The Doodle Trail’s whimsical moniker is taken from the nickname of a railroad line that was built in the late 19th century. The train hauled goods between the thriving textile town of Easley and Oolenoy Gap along the same route. Because the freight engine couldn’t be turned around and had to run in reverse from Easley to Pickens, local residents affectionately called it the “Pickens Doodle” line after doodlebugs, which only crawl backwards.
After 115 years of carrying textiles, food and miscellaneous freight to and from the two towns, the historic railway closed in 2013.
While much of the rail-to-trail is flat, sections of it traverse gently sloping terrain, meaning you’ll be pedaling or hoofing it uphill in both directions. Mercifully, the grade is so low even a child can manage it.
Mileage is marked on the asphalt pathway every tenth of a mile. As you make your way, you’ll go over two wooden bridges, cross through the woods, pass residential neighborhoods, cow pastures and farms and enjoy views of the surrounding mountains.
The Easley trailhead is located at 514 Fleetwood Drive, about a half-mile from downtown. It features a kiosk with a bicycle service station that includes an air pump and tools for quick repairs.
At the other end, the trail starts where the Pickens Depot once stood at 409 E. Cedar Rock St. It’s just a block from Main Street. Both trailhead parking areas are free and offer portable toilets.
The Doodle Trail is open daily from dawn to dusk. Download a map of the pathway at cityofpickens.com.