Greenville’s Wonderful Swamp Rabbit Trail
The Swamp Rabbit Trail is my favorite thing about Greenville, South Carolina. My family loves to get out on a bike, and this is an easy trail to do it. Start your trip from downtown Greenville in the morning, so you can bike to the small town of Travelers Rest in time for lunch.
Along this 10 mile route, you can explore Linky Stone Park, grab an ice cream at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery, linger at the lake at Furman University, and reward yourself with a nice lunch in Travelers Rest. With several stops, even younger kids will have no problem on this scenic trail.
Swamp Rabbit Trail Description
The Swamp Rabbit Trail, a rails to trails project, is mostly tucked away from major roads and runs through downtown Greenville, along the Reedy River, to the quaint town of Travelers Rest. Gaining only 200 feet in the 10 miles between downtown Greenville and Travelers Rest, it can be biked by just about anyone and takes about an hour and 15 minutes to bike each way at a leisurely pace. See this interactive map for more info.
From Reedy Rides in downtown Greenville, it is 0.25 miles to join the Swamp Rabbit Trail as it crosses under River Street. Turn right towards Linky Stone Park (under the overpass) and then follow the signs north to Travelers Rest. The trail is wide, nicely paved, and after a few miles, leaves the city buildings behind and becomes mostly forested. The trail does cross a few 2 and 4 lane roads but the crossings are well marked.
Public bathrooms are located along the trail but not very frequently. They are marked on the official website's map but basically you'll find them at: Falls Park on the Reedy, at Swamp Rabbit Grocery and Cafe, Furman University, and at the public park in Traveler's Rest.
A bike fix station can be found at the Swamp Rabbit Station near Sulphur Springs Road in case you need to pump up the tires mid-trip.
Linky Stone Park
You’ll find your first potential stop on the trail at Linky Stone Park, at the underpass of Academy Street along the Reedy River. The park is about a quarter of a mile from the Falls Park along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The park doesn't have a playground per say, but it is labeled as a kids discovery park. Younger kids can explore some sculptures, a small rock garden, and some giant percussion instruments. Probably not that fun for kids over 10, but the flowers and pretty setting along the river still make it a nice excursion.
Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery
About 2 miles north of River Street where you started, you will see the Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery on your left. This eclectic place has a bit of everything: a grocery store that focuses on local meat, produce and beer, a cafe with fresh sandwiches and baked goods, and a wood-fired pizza place open on weekends.
If you have toddlers, you will love it as they have a large fenced area filled with toys just for them. For a shorter bike ride, you could just bike here, stop for awhile, enjoy an ice cream or cookie at their picnic tables, and call it a day.
About 6.5 miles from where you started on River Street, you will see an entrance for Furman University on your right.
You can detour down to the path by the lake to get a better look at the beautiful campus, or simply stop for a water break in the shade.
Keep in mind that the path along the lake does not connect back to the bike trail. If you take it, you can either back track to your entry point or off-road it a bit across a grassy section to cut back to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
About 9 miles after you started on the Swamp Rabbit Trail on River Street, you will enter Travelers Rest, SC. Named because of its history as a stopping place for drovers after they crossed their cattle over the mountains, it is now a popular place for tourists and locals biking or driving from Greenville.
You’ll find several restaurants, cafes, a brewery, and a few stores along its Main Street, which runs parallel to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
All the Travelers Rest restaurants listed here are easily accessed from the bike trail.
Whistle Stop at the American Cafe
Whistle Stop at the American Cafe has been around since 1945 and is so named because the conductor would whistle for a stop at the American Cafe as the train came through Travelers Rest. It has been owned by the same family since then.
The restaurant has a great rooftop area, a miniature train that chugs around the interior, and a red caboose out back (right next to the Swamp Rabbit Trail) that serves ice cream and milkshakes. This place is very kid-friendly with a nice kids menu offering meals served in a paper train.
Sidewall Pizza is another fantastic option. Sidewall has 2 other locations in Greenville and is a local’s favorite. Yummy pizzas, good craft beer selection, and huge salads hit the spot after a morning bike. If the weather is nice, enjoy their large, covered area with picnic tables.
Swamp Rabbit Brewery
Swamp Rabbit Brewery usually has a food truck starting around noon on Saturdays (and often on Sundays as well--check their website) and the beer is cold and tasty.
Even More Restaurants
If you didn’t bring your own bikes, rent bikes in Greenville at Reedy Rides, just off of Main Street on McBee Ave. This super friendly shop rents bikes for adults and kids for a reasonable $20 for 4 hours.
They even have electric bikes if you just want to cruise your way to lunch. They also rent trailers in case you have a kid who just wants to cruise. Reserve ahead of time for weekends or during the summer.
If Reedy Rides is booked, you’ll find several other rental places in or near downtown Greenville: Bike The Rabbit, Pedal Chic, and SRT Bike Shop.
Hampton Inn & Suites Greenville Downtown @ RiverPlace. This hotel is right downtown along the Reedy River. Breakfast included. The location is terrific with the Reedy River Walk right out the door. The only negative (particularly for our children) was that it has no swimming pool.
Swamp Rabbit Inn. This bed and breakfast also rents a variety of trailside cottages. Check out their trailside cottage with pool. I haven’t had a chance to stay here but it is at the top of my list for next time. It gets very high reviews on Tripadvisor and they have a super fun Instagram.
If you decide to rent an apartment in downtown Greenville, we found an absolute winner in Stylish Downtown House Near Fluor Field Suite B. The apartment is spacious and clean, within walking distance of Falls Park on the Reedy (0.5 miles), and 1 block off of Main Street in the trendy West End of Greenville. It rents for an average of $150 a night.