These three amazing locations are just a road trip away.
Join me as I travel from Hilton Head Island to the mountains of North Carolina for a weekend of single-track riding at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park.
Rocky Knob is a 185-acre park in Boone, N.C. Last year Watauga County, in partnership with the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, received a $500,000 grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to assist with the acquisition and development for Rocky Knob Park.
Each Thursday afternoon a group of dedicated volunteers and staff meet for trail maintenance work to ensure that the trails are in meticulous shape.
The woods here are in full autumn bloom with vibrant reds and oranges punctuating muted yellows and fading summer greens. And as if the ride through the mountains isn’t reward enough, we arrive to a forecast of crisp, clear weather after several days of heavy rain.
This postcard-perfect mountain paradise reminds me of northern New England. There are tough, rugged trails carved out of scarred rock and pencil-thin pine trees that disguise the face of the mountain as far as I can see.
We stow our lunch of high-energy snacks and a first aid kit into our backpacks, top off our water bottles, toe-into our pedal clips and set off on the trail.
The first mile or so is a good warm-up that allows me to work the kinks out of my back and legs from our drive.
Negotiating my way up the rocky climb toward the top I start to appreciate the meticulous details that the trail builders have accomplished. Hand-lain rock pathways double as storm water drainage paths, allowing us to traverse a wet upslope and continue to climb.
We stop for lunch after breaking out of the tree line, and the valley stretches in front of us for a panoramic view. Another 45 minutes of leg-burning climbing and we’re at the top, snapping pictures and laughing and appreciating the view.
Now is why we are here.
I point my front tire downhill, lean my weight back over my rear tire when gravity took over and began rocketing me down the wind-scared face of the mountain.
Flying down the hill is breathtakingly awesome!
It seemed like I had endless line options and the perfectly sculpted trail and berms allowed me to stay off my brakes and really get into the flow of the ride.
Arriving at the bottom of the mountain I already knew that I’d be coming back here more than once. “This place has it all,” I think.
If you’re up for an adventure, Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is a serious, no-joke mountain biker’s playground in the High Country.
For more information, visit www.rockyknob.wordpress.com.
If getting down and dirty is your idea of a good time, a-can’t-miss adventure waits at The Big Nasty ATV Park.
Located just west of Savannah in Brookfield, Ga., The Big Nasty is home to 1,600 acres of motorized fun. With two motocross tracks, several mud pits and 20 miles of 4X4 trails there’s something here for everyone.
We strap on our helmets and set off through the woods on a course that includes several 4-wheeler ponds and a nice big rope swing. Most trails are muddy and some spots look impassible, but the main roads are hard pack and the perfect fall weather has us itching for adventure.
Before I know it, we’re in the middle of the bog covered in peanut butter-colored mud and I’m laughing and grateful for the hot showers that await us when we are through.
I arrive at the main mud pit to find a huge obstacle, 200-feet long and up to 4-feet deep. And although I’ve never learned to ride myself, my favorite part of the day is watching the motocross riders rip across the landscape and tear up the track.
Riders can experience two motocross tracks at The Big Nasty. The first is a mini bike track and is good for beginners. The main track is a 1-mile monster - featuring an 80-foot finish line jump, doubles, tabletops and huge bowl turns.
For more, visit www.thebignasty.com.
Charleston Outdoor Adventures is located on Folly Creek just minutes from Folly Beach and only a short drive from downtown Charleston.
The Folly Creek estuary is a remote wilderness experience winding through the regions barrier island systems, Folly Beach, Morris Island and historic Long Island. Trip Advisor customers have rated the business as rated as the No. 2 tourist destination for the entire region.
Charleston Outdoor Adventures offers a pristine outpost for kayak, paddleboard and private on-water access to the saltwater estuaries.
Folly Creek is locally known as the wildlife “hot spot” of Charleston, where one is almost guaranteed to see Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins either feeding or at play.
For more, visit www.charlestonoutdooradventures.com.