Marked with yellow blazes along its 27 miles, the Bartram Trail follows the banks of Lake Thurmond on the Georgia side of the GA-SC state line. The southern trailhead is located within the Army Corps of Engineers West Dam Recreation Area, about 20 miles north of Augusta, but the trail can also be reached from various other stops along the water: the Lake Springs Recreation Area, Petersburg Campground, Wildwood Park, and the Keg Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Each trailhead offers primitive toilets and parks offer drinking water, but it's still important to carry plenty of water for your whole pack. Note that gate hours and parking fees may apply at West Dam and Wildwood.
Your fur-babies will enjoy a shady, scenic walk with non-stop views over the 71,000-acre lake. Remaining mostly level as it winds between trees and water, the Bartram Trail is long enough for a serious workout but easy on tender paws and short legs. The trail surface is predominantly packed dirt with a soft carpet of pine needles, though you'll also find occasional gravel and paved sections. Frequent parks and well-packed surface make the southern sections of the trail less daunting than the more rugged northern stretch above the well-named Wildwood Park.
This trail on Lake Thurmond shares its name with another famous hiking trail in the mountains of North Georgia and Western North Carolina. Both trails are named for William Bartram, considered the nation's first native-born naturalist. Bartram was an eighteenth-century writer and artist who famously captured the landscape, flora, and fauna of the southern states. This registered National Recreation Trail commemorates Bartram's journey from Augusta in 1775. Fido and Fifi might be rusty on their natural history, but they'll probably appreciate Bartram's nose for beauty and adventure as they retrace his steps.
This trail cut through old growth pine forest in Bartram's day, but early logging and the damming of the Savannah River to create Lake Thurmond changed the landscape, inviting hardwood trees and water birds to make their home here. You're also likely to spot deer, beaver, and possibly even one of the bald eagles who nest in the area. The Bartram Trail will bring out the wild child in even the tamest pups!