Ride Report, Long Cane Horse Trail- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ride Report, Long Cane Horse Trail

    The multi-use Long Cane Horse trail is within the Sumter National Forest and is quite popular among mountain bikers in the Greenwood/Abbeville SC area. It consists of two connected loops totalling about 26 miles. The northernmost trailhead which is referred to by the locals as the 505/506 parking area is only about 1-1/2 hours from Greenville, SC. Parsons Mountain Recreation area which offers camping is located at the south end of the trail system.

    I pitched my tent on the lake at Parsons Mountain campground and rode the lower loop clockwise from there. Not a single one of the information boards even mentioned the trail so I had to round up the caretaker for directions. Turn left off the main road of the park at the “Camping” sign, head toward the dam and the “I” point of the trail is to the left immediately after passing the “Campsites” sign. The trail sign is up in the woods just beyond a couple of picnic tables.

    Due to the recent wind storms I encountered numerous blow-downs on the western leg of this loop and since that section is mostly used by equestrians, I doubt if they will go to the trouble of cranking up the chainsaws. Some of the trees lying across the trail are small enough for a horse to step over and rather than removing those that are too big they simply ride around them. Even though the blow-downs required about as much walking as riding, I found the “I” to “H” section as well as from there on up to Big Rock to be one of the nicest stretches of the entire north and south loops. It’s worth the effort just to be able to say you have ridden across the drooping steel bridge. A great deal of a section of the trail is known as “Land Of The Double Wide”, not due to the size of the mobile homes in the area but because the trail is wide and covered with a thick layer of gravel. While that gave it an unnatural feel, another section that also has lots of horse traffic but no gravel clearly illustrates why it is necessary. The south loop is not for the mountain biker who prefers to bomb along manicured trails in an effort to see how quickly a ride can be completed. It is for the mountain biker who just loves being in the woods on a spring day.

    On the morning of the second day I drove to the 505/506 parking area (point “E” on the map) and from there I rode the north loop counterclockwise. This is by far the most popular mountain biking launch point of the entire LCHT system. A group of area cyclists depart from there weekly at 6:00 PM on Tuesday and at 2:00 PM on Sunday. To get there from Abbeville, head toward Greenwood on Hwy 72 and turn right at Beulah Baptist Church (6.2 miles from Abbeville). Travel on Beulah Church Rd for 1.7 miles and the parking area is on the right at the intersection of FS505 & FS506. From Greenville, take Hwy 25 to Greenwood, turn right on Hwy 72 toward Abbeville and watch for the church on your left.

    The north loop is really what mountain biking in that part of South Carolina is all about. There were some blow-downs from the recent storm but considering how beautifully the trail is maintained by area cyclists, I doubt if they will be there for very long. The trails were in great shape and obviously drain water quite well. It had rained four or five days before I was there and yet the only wet dirt I encountered was in a few short sections where horses had torn up the trail; otherwise everything was quite dry. Mountain bikers of all skill levels can enjoy this one. No serious technicals to speak of but enough whoops, switchbacks, water crossings and short climbs to keep the intermediate level rider smiling. For the most part it is easy enough for the beginner.

    For a printable map of LCHT go to https://web.mac.com/ashby_stokes/Gre...table_Map.html

    For additional information go to www.greenwoodmtb.com


    The southern loop is accessible from Parsons Mountain but it is about a 10-mile drive to the 505/506 parking area for the north loop.




    I was lucky enough to get one of the few lakeshore campsites.




    The “I” point on the map for the southern loop is located up in the woods beyond a couple of picnic tables, just after passing the “Campsites” sign on the way to the dam.




    Quite a few blow-downs on both loops from the recent storm. The south loop is mostly used by equestrians so it is not likely to be cleared anytime soon.




    Quite scenic, the “I” to “H” section of the southern loop is one of my favorites, despite the blow-downs.




    The southern loop is for mountain bikers who are in no big hurry.




    Due to rains earlier in the week, water was flowing over the top of this droopy steel bridge.




    Yet another of several stream crossings.




    The only wet area I encountered was here where horses had done a lot of damage to the trail. This section was directly across Candy Branch Rd from a heavily graveled section. This short section is easily avoided by turning left on Candy Branch Road and then right on Cedar Springs Rd to the river. Go left immediately after crossing the bridge and you are back on the trail. If riding in the opposite direction, turn right on CSR and cross the bridge, then left on CBR and the continuation of the trail will be on the right.




    Fell Hunt Camp is where all the equestrians gather. This campground is also quite popular with hunters as well as a few mountain bikers.




    The trail runs fairly close behind this beautiful old antebellum mansion which is located a short distance from the Fell Hunt Camp. Called the Frazier-Pressley house, its construction was completed about five years before the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_...toric_District





    The Cedar Springs A.R.P Church is across Cedar Springs Rd from the mansion. Its first building (a log cabin) was built in 1779 and this brick church was built in 1853.




    The 505/506 parking area for the north loop is on the opposite side of the road from this sign.



    Lots of turkey hunters in the woods on the day I rode the north loop so it was camo for them and blaze orange me—until it got so hot I pulled if off .




    First water crossing on the north loop. Upstream of the rocks is smooth sailing.




    The trail passes beneath this train trestle and as luck would have it, moments after I had set up my camera for for a shot of the trestle and me, I heard the train coming.




    Anyone who mountain bikes alone and enjoys shooting photos will find the Gorillapod rather handy.

    https://joby.com/store/gorillapod?gc...FcgZ2godKxfwDQ





    Both loops are signed and blazed (white) so well you’d have to try really hard to become lost.




    How to shoot a photo of yourself when riding solo.
    A. Position bike and camera on opposite sides of stream.
    B. Set camera on 10-second delay and press shutter release.
    C. Race across the stream like a madman, hop aboard bike and start pedaling
    toward camera.
    D. Hope no one is watching.




    This happened a couple of days before the ride.




    Lots of interesting history in the area.




    I cleaned this one but it wasn’t pretty




    This sign is at point “G”, also known as the Big Rock parking area.




    Great job guys and gals.
    Last edited by stumpbumper; 04-19-2011 at 02:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Team Martin
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    Great pics & ride report, stumpbumper! This trail system is on my short list of trails to ride in 2011

  3. #3
    29er zealot
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    cool report, looks like a cool set of trails. There were some trails in Ohio that were beat up from horses like that too...they get real interesting when they dry out. It's like riding on a washboard!

  4. #4
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    This is (was) the best kept secret on the district.

    High quality riding, really.

  5. #5
    Jamin, Applesause, No?
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    Stumpbumper... are you going to put a book together when you are done riding all the trails around here. I think it would be a good idea!

  6. #6
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    Hey Senor StrongBad.

    Thanks for the book suggestion. I might eventually get around to doing just that.

    How did you do at Stump Jump? I had planned to ride it just for fun but a friend talked me into doing a century charity road ride instead.

  7. #7
    Jamin, Applesause, No?
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpbumper
    Hey Senor StrongBad.

    Thanks for the book suggestion. I might eventually get around to doing just that.

    How did you do at Stump Jump? I had planned to ride it just for fun but a friend talked me into doing a century charity road ride instead.

    Stump - It was a fun day with a perfect trail to ride and a great start and finish area. I realized that I need to learn how to start better. I was not warmed up. It was a fast group of guys out there to. Go to the stumpjump website and follow the links to the race results and you can see just how fast they were out there. I think there were some guys finishing a lap in 30 minutes! WOW.

  8. #8
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Great pics and ride report Stumpbumper. I always have a lot of trouble getting the timing right with the gorrilla pod camera set-up; I have a great collection of half bike & rider mounting up shots

  9. #9
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    Yo CraigCreekRider.

    When using the 10-second time delay feature on my camera, I push the button and start counting one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, etc. and when I get to one-thousand-ten I know that's close to when the photo was taken. Even then it usually takes several tries to get it right. On the stream crossing photo I took five shots and two were useable. One of the great things about a digital camera is you can review each shot and go from there.

    I carry my camera inside a mesh pocket on the side of my hydration pack. One important lesson I have learned is to secure the memory card and battery compartment lids with small strips of plastic electrical tape. Sometime back I failed to do that and the lid on the memory card door flipped open while I was riding, ejected the card I never found it. Lost quite a few nice photos.

    Happy trails.
    Last edited by stumpbumper; 04-21-2011 at 03:07 PM.

  10. #10
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    I had to go to Greenwood for work today. I remembered this thread and decided to go check the place out. I rode from the E parking lot counterclockwise. I was going to try to do the whole outer loop, but right after the underwater bridge pictured above, the trail turned into an overgrown goat path with tons of poison ivy. This was between G and H on the map. I took a road detour which eventually put me back on the trail at the J sign. It was about 8 miles from there back to the car. I think I rode somewhere around 20 miles in about 3 hours. There are some really fun sections here. Nothing technical and no big hills. Perfect for fat boys like me.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    I had to go to Greenwood for work today. I remembered this thread and decided to go check the place out. I rode from the E parking lot counterclockwise. I was going to try to do the whole outer loop, but right after the underwater bridge pictured above, the trail turned into an overgrown goat path with tons of poison ivy. This was between G and H on the map. I took a road detour which eventually put me back on the trail at the J sign. It was about 8 miles from there back to the car. I think I rode somewhere around 20 miles in about 3 hours. There are some really fun sections here. Nothing technical and no big hills. Perfect for fat boys like me.
    You found a good route. But the best part of the LCHT is from C-G, the middle part that cuts the outer loop in half. The best route up there is a figure 8 of sorts where you ride the middle section once each direction.

    I've been thru that section from J-H-I twice in last 6 weeks. Lots of ticks, posien ivy and downfalls.

    Those boys take great care of (parts of) that trail, but for reason they don't mow H-I-J and it basically closes itself in the summer.

  12. #12
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    Nice write up and pictures. I have successfully made it across the metal bridge before and I can say that it was definitely an experience.

    My grandparents live in Abbeville so I've ridden this trail on visits 2 or 3 times but I usually choose FATS when I'm in the area. Personally I find the trails there very hard to navigate and parts are pretty overgrown. Unfortunately I've also gotten somewhat lost each time I've been there.

    I think some good signage would make a big difference but it's been about a year or more since I've last been though so I don't know if that's changed. I think I would ride there a lot more if I knew of a consistent route that wouldn't get me turned around.

    I actually just got home from Abbeville about 2 hours ago but again I rode FATS on this trip.

  13. #13
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    I thought the signage was great. There are signs every 2 - 4 miles that show you where you are on the map and tell you how far it is to the next sign. I had never been there before and had no problems. It does help if you print out the map from their web site and take it with you.
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