Matt Van SwolExplorer

  • Explore Black Sand Beach

    Black Sand Beach offers an expansive view of the ocean and nearby cliffs. It gets its name from the small black pebbles that make up whats known as the "black sand" of the beach. There is a small cafe down by the water with delicious treats. Be ca...

  • Backpack Rose River Loop

    The trail can be found on Skyline Drive.  Though it is a little challenging to locate, you should park at  Fisher’s Gap Overlook (mile marker 49.4), and then walk over across the road and find the trail. You'll spot it by looking over the side of ...

    4 miles 900 ft gain

  • Explore Redcliffe Plantation

    Nestled in between Augusta GA and Aiken SC, Redcliffe Plantation is one of the many large historic plantations in South Carolina. Built in 1859, it was once home to Hames Henry Hammond, an extremely successful businessman, congressman, governor, a...

    2 miles 200 ft gain

  • Swim at Aqueduct Park (Rae's Creek)

    Although it is not heavily advertised, Augusta's Rae Creek Aqueduct Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the area. Located across the bridge from the Lake Olmstead Trailhead, a dirt path leads you to the base of a 35 foot waterfall that flow...

    0.5 miles 50 ft gain

  • Photograph a Sunset at West Dam

    West Dam is located across the road from one of the most prominent structures in area: J. Strom Thurmond Dam. Thurmond Lake is created by the dam and the park is located on this lake. Fishing is extremely popular here, especially for largemouth ba...

  • Explore Hverir Geothermal Field

    Not far from one the more popular hot springs in North Iceland, the Hverir Geothermal Field is one of the most spectacular (and overlooked) places in all of Iceland. The fields consist of mud pots that bubble and produce high temperature steam fro...

  • Explore and Fish at the Savannah River Lock and Dam

    Hidden in the back woods behind Augusta's domestic airport, the New Savannah River Lock and Dam is a favorite fishing spot for locals. Drive through the entrance to the park and you'll find a large selection of pavilions, fishing areas, a boat ram...

  • Kayak Betty's Branch

    Beginning at Riverside Park, put in either at the concrete boat ramp or the beach. Paddle along until you exit the inlet and now you have a decision to make: right or left?Left: Turning left takes you on a longer and more difficult route than turn...

  • Hike Swamp Rabbit Trail to Reedy River Falls

    Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 21 mile-long paved walkway that closely follows the Reedy River in Downtown Greenville. Over a half-a-million people visit the trail each year, but few ever walk the whole thing. What most people don’t know, is that it begi...

    3 miles 100 ft gain

  • Kayak the Augusta Canal

    Out of all the adventures in Augusta, Kayaking the Augusta Canal might be my favorite. Hosted by the Savannah River Rapids Park, single kayaks, tandem, and paddleboards are available for rent ($20-$40) from the Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental Center ...

  • Kayak the Savannah River at Thurmond Dam and Lake

    Starting at Thurmond Dam, drop your kayak in just below the dam and travel down the Savannah River. There are a couple places to you can choose to end your adventure:The first, and closest, is Riverside Park. Around the 7 mile mark downstream, Riv...

  • Bike or Run the Savannah River Rapids Trail

    Easily the most popular outdoor attraction in Augusta, the Savannah River Rapids Park marks the beginning of the Augusta Canal. The walkway flanks both the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal, allowing you to see both waterways from the trail. Re...

    7.8 miles 50 ft gain

  • Hike through Phinizy Swamp

    Phinizy offers miles of nature trails around the swamp and an expansive wooden boardwalk that allows visitors to walk the 100 meters across the swampy water. If you get lucky, you may see some of the resident beavers, alligators, and bobcats in th...

    2 miles 20 ft gain

  • Photograph the Stars Over Clarks Hill Lake

    The Cherokee Boat Ramp is easily my new favorite place for astrophotography in the Augusta area. If you drive around the boat ramp area for awhile, you'll notice plenty of spots to set up your camera and aim it down the beautiful Clarks Hill Lake....

  • Camp Mistletoe State Park

    Mistletoe State Park is located on the beautiful Clark’s Hill Lake created by the J. Strom Thurmond Dam. The park offers an array of hiking trails, but is most well-known for its numerous camping spots and bass fishing. The park offers a whopping ...

  • Hike Cliatt Creek Loop to Rock Dam Trail

    Mistletoe State park encompasses 15 miles of hiking trails that lead both along Clarks Hill Lake and the river adjacent to it. Although not a necessarily strenuous hike, the 3.75-mile Cliatt Creek Nature Loop (white blaze) begins at the park’s nat...

    10 miles 200 ft gain

  • Ramble along the Augusta Riverwalk

    Beginning at the 5th Street Marina, the Riverwalk is two tiered with an upper level and a lower level, closer to the river itself. As you walk north, you’ll reach the 8th street plaza and bulkhead which is home to the Saturday morning market and t...

    3 miles

  • Mountain Bike Bartram Trail

    Bartram trail is one of many mountain biking trails in the Augusta area. It is a favorite among locals due to its views of the lake and relatively low change in elevation. The trail begins in the West Dam Recreational Area  and continues through L...

    18 miles 350 ft gain

  • Mountain Bike FATS (Forks Area Trail System)

    The FATS trail system is one of the best in the United States. In 2010 FATS hosted the IMBA World Mountain Bike Summit and is extremely well rated and known for its range of difficulties and the uniqueness of each of its trails. There are six dif...

  • Wander Hitchcock Woods

    Buried in the middle of Aiken SC, Hitchcock Woods was established in 1939 by the Hitchcock Foundation and has been privately supported by the Aiken community ever since and has been assumed to be the largest privately owned urban forest in the Uni...

  • Camp at Lake Greenwood State Park

    Lake Greenwood Features only one trail: The 1 mile Greenwood Lake Nature trail. Beginning at the Rec building, following the blue blazes along the trail until you reach the camp sites. The trail can often times be confusing, so make sure you are f...

    1 miles 40 ft gain

  • Star Gaze Near Horseshoe Bend

    Horseshoe Bend is one of the most iconic places in Arizona, if not the Western US. If you've ever been, you know it gets very crowded around sunset with everyone trying to take pictures of the sun before it sets behind the row of ridges to the wes...