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FATS

Forks Area Trail System

 

Type:  Multiple loops

 

Distance:   37 miles

 

Difficulty:   Beginner/Intermediate

 

Directions: Visit our Google Map and get turn-by-turn directions from your front door by clicking here

 

Online Map:  View the trail in Google Maps by clicking here

 

Description:

Nestled in the Long Cane Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest, FATS is the crown jewel of the CSRA trails, and for good reason.  FATS has something for everyone.  Very few technical features make FATS a great place to get beginners hooked on the sport, and the excellent flow, pump track like feel, and high speed sections combined with lots of mileage keeps bringing the seasoned riders back for more time and time again.

 

In 2009 FATS was awarded IMBA Epic status, and in 2010 was the host trail for the annual IMBA World Mountain Bike Summit.  The trails have been highlighted in several magazines, including BIKE, Blue Ridge Outdoors, and a series of web articles for Bicycling just to name a few. 

 

FATS consists of six individual loops, each with their own character and feel.  There are two parking lots, the South Trailhead is the main parking lot, and the North Trailhead is adjacent to Big Rock and Tower.  The southern loops are Brown Wave, Skinny, Great Wall, and Deep Step.  Big Rock and Tower make up the northern loops.  Each loop is explained in more detail below.

 

(Note: the numbers on the map are location markers, NOT mile markers)

 

Brown Wave

 

Distance:   5.8 miles

 

Description:

The Brown Wave gets its name because it feels like surfing on a bike.  Lots of whoop-de-doos and the least climbing of any loop make it one of the most popular.

 

Careful at The Dip down by the river.  When you see the sign that says DANGER - slow down!

 

See what "lots of whoop-de-doos" means in this video on YouTube.

 

Doesn't get much more technical than this on Brown Wave.

 

 

Typical FATS singletrack - fast, and more flow than the Savannah River.  Surf the contour!

 

 

 

That sign aint kidding.

 

 

Skinny

 

Distance:   6 miles

 

Description:

Skinny is best trail for beginners.  Easily accessible from the parking lot, and not much climbing make it a good place to learn.  But, like all of the loops, a rider can very easily get in over their head (literally) in the whoop-de-doos with too much speed.

 

 

Great Wall

 

Distance:   7.5 miles

 

Description:

The Great Wall is the most "well-rounded" trail at FATS, with a little of everything.  Some very fast down hills, tough climbing, plenty of whoop-de-doos, and a very tight and twisty hand built section offer lots of variety.

 

The loop gets it's name from the long section of trail armored with concrete.  While not quite as big as the real Great Wall, it's still an interesting challenge.

 

The rock bridge.

 

Deep Step

 

Distance:   5 miles

 

Description:

Many locals have a love-hate relationship with Deep Step.  It offers more climbing than the other three southern loops, and many of the climbs are steep.  The same whoop-de-doos that are so fun going down become momentum killers while climbing up!

 

However, the blistering fast descents are more than enough of a reward for the climbs.

 

Deep Step gets its name from a popular fishing hole in the nearby Savannah River.

 

 

 

 

 

The trails cross power line clearings in several places.

 

 

A group of riders flying through some whoop-de-doos.

 

Big Rock

 

Distance:   4 miles

 

Description:

Big Rock and Tower both have a different feel than the southern loops.  The terrain is steeper, the ground is rockier, and the trail corridor is narrower. 

 

Highlights of Big Rock is the multiple rock outcroppings the trail winds through, and the bridge made from a cedar tree.  Be sure to stop and check out the carving in the bridge.

 

 

The cedar log bridge is really cool.  It's also a bit narrow.

 

 

Some findings of the trailbuilders.

 

 

No, those are not the big rocks.

 

Tower

 

Distance:   4 miles

 

Description:

Named after the nearby observation tower, this loop has been described as up-hill in both directions.  Steep climbs, switch backs, and plenty of flowing high speed sections are guaranteed to keep any rider entertained.