South Carolina’s Manchester State Forest Offers Off-Road Riding Fun

The Manchester State Forest near Wedgefield in west-central South Carolina offers some great off-road riding on sandy, tree-lined trails.

The forest consists of almost 29,000 acres, with 1,400 acres dedicated to OHV recreation. The Red OHV Trail is 8.6 miles long, while the Blue OHV Trail is 7.8 miles, and the Green OHV Trail is 1.8.

Riders need permits to use the area. Permits are available online at the Manchester State Forest headquarters at state.sc.us/forest/permit or by mail. Annual permits are $25 and are valid for one year from the date of purchase. Daily permits are $5.

The trails, open to motorcycles and ATVs, are marked with directional arrows. Riding is only allowed on designated trails. State Forest access roads are open to licensed and registered vehicles only unless designated as part of the trail. Riders must wear helmets and bikes must be equipped with spark arresters. Riders must ride on the right and in single file.

For motorcyclists, riders 16 and older are required to have a permit in their possession. Riders 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older with a permit.

The trails are open from sunrise to sunset on Sundays only during deer hunting season from September 15 through January 1 and daily from January 2 through September 14. Officials caution that riders should take safety precautions when riding from January 2 through April 30 because of small game and turkey hunting seasons.

Campsites are available at Poinsett State Park, (803) 494-8177, or the Sumter County Recreation Department’s Mill Creek County Park, (803) 436-2248.

Food and water are available at the towns of Wedgefield and Pinewood.

Among those involved in creating the trails are the National Recreational Trails Program, the South Carolina Trails Program, the Federal Highway Administration, the Sumter Enduro Riders Motorcycle Association, South Carolina Off Road Enthusiast and the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

To get to the forest from Columbia, S.C., take U.S. Highway 378 toward Sumter and then turn right on state Highway 261.

For more information, go to state.sc.us/forest/motor or contact Manchester State Forest, 6740 Headquarters Road, Wedgefield, SC 29168. Phone: (803) 494-8196.