Explore Articles

Spotlight: Bartram Trail at Thurmond Lake in Georgia and South Carolina

Spotlight: Bartram Trail at Thurmond Lake in Georgia and South Carolina

Hikers, cyclists and strollers all find something to like on this National Recreation Trail

Bartram Trail Easy-going walkers or thrill-seeking mountain cyclists—each have their own sections of the Bartram Trail, a National Recreation Trail at Thurmond Lake in northeast Georgia.

What You Will Find

The Bartram Trail is a wooded, picturesque, 27-mile long trail along the shore of J. Strom Thurmond Lake on the South Carolina-Georgia border. The trail features three distinct sections serving different types of users. The Corps of Engineers collaborated with SORBA, the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, to design the trail. The partners and local Boy Scouts together maintain the trail.

Getting There

Take Interstate 20 to Georgia Highway 28 near Augusta and head north to J. Strom Thurmond Lake. Take a left on US Highway 221 and travel over the Strom Thurmond Dam. Pick up a map at The West Dam day use park to learn more about the different sections of the trail, or download maps of each trail section that also show parking and other amenities.

Stay Here

Two campgrounds along the Bartram Trail provide shaded, quiet campsites for weary hikers and cyclists. The Petersburg campground provides showers and restrooms, campsites with or without electrical hookups, a boat launch, a swimming area and other amenities. Further west along the more challenging section of the trail, the Columbia County, Georgia Recreation Department manages Wildwood Park, popular with cyclists and fishing enthusiasts alike and offering similar camping amenities.

Make Sure You

Check the stunning views of the lake as you travel the trail! J. Strom Thurmond Lake is the largest Corps of Engineers lake east of the Mississippi, with 70,000 acres of water, 80,000 acres of land and a host of recreational opportunities including camping, boating, swimming, fishing and other activities. It is one of the most frequently visited Corps properties in the United States.

Try This

Walkers enjoy beautiful views of the lake and an easy six and a half mile winding trail through the woods starting at the West Dam day use area.

Mountain bikers looking for a more demanding trail, head west from the Petersburg Campground toward Wildwood Park (the section of the trail west of the Petersburg campground has an “intermediate” rating). Riders seeking more technical trails, continue on to Keg Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Did You Know?

The trail’s namesake, William Bartram, was an 18th century American naturalist, artist and writer from Philadelphia who explored the eight Southeast states extensively from 1773 to 1777. He is widely recognized for adding his personal observations about nature to his scientific writings, pioneering a writing style still practiced today. His 1791 book "Travels" became an instant classic. Read more about William Bartram and the Bartram Trail Conference established in his honor.