ATVer’s Six Flags Over South Carolina
Carolina Adventure World has awesome woods riding, motocross tracks, and non-riding activities including a cable-slide canopy tour of the forest. Jumping the bridge is frowned on, though.
When we tested the new Honda Rancher 420ES 4×4 in February 2006, it was like four treats in one. We got to tour Honda’s Timmonsville, South Carolina, ATV factory and see Ranchers being built from raw materials. Not only that, but we were also the first journalists to ride on Honda’s Proving Grounds and in the woods surrounding the factory. Those three thrills (the third being the Rancher 420) pale in comparison, though, compared to being among the first to ride ATVs at Carolina Adventure World. This facility could well surpass Durhamtown Plantation, Georgia, (reviewed in September, 2006) as the Disneyland of OHVing, as the terrain is more challenging with much taller hills, and the people at Carolina Adventure World (CAW) have big plans to match.
WELCOME TO NASCAR COUNTRY
This 2600-acre facility is just minutes from the famous Darlington International Speedway, so race-gas is in everyone’s blood. When we visited CAW, there were already a hundred miles of trails, and more are being cut every week. Trails are well-marked and color-coded, with Green being easy nature trails, Blue being intermediate, and Black Diamond for experts. Huge, technical hills litter these expert trails, and all levels cross and run beside streams.
If sinking quads is your gig, CAW won’t disappoint.
Dirt Wurx, the builders of AMA Supercross tracks, was hired to lay in an awesome motocross course in a big valley, so it’s like Unadilla South. There’s also an ATV and Vintage dirt bike MX course, and CAW will apply for ATV and dirt bike nationals. The week before we were at CAW, Jeff Russell scoped out the site for a possible 2008 Suzuki GNCC round. CAW is also planning on being part of the Southern National series as well as putting on championship mud bogs, ATV drags, Endurocross and more. The extensive trail network is a natural for cross-country and hare scrambles racing.
There’ll also be a Carolina Gauntlet, which has to be seen to be believed. This trail has a huge sand pit, then a mud bog, then a slick, red-clay section; while you’re negotiating all of that, people on the surrounding ridges are shooting at you with water cannons!
(Left) Lots of water crossings and hills challenge CAW visitors, so bring your wet-weather gear. (Right) South Carolina terrain is hilly with pine-hickory forests and moss-covered limestone ledges, which makes for some slick trails.
FUN OUT OF THE SADDLE
Once the riding is done, there are a lot of other activities for the whole family. You can hike or bike in a nature preserve or rent golf karts and cruise the Green trails. There are even go-kart rentals and a track, and phase-two plans will include horseback riding and an extreme “canopy tour.” Conceived in Costa Rica, a canopy tour is a huge cable slide that takes enthusiasts on a tour of the forest canopy instead of the ground. It’ll go from the “Top of the World,” the highest point in Fairfield County, South Carolina, over the motocross track and into the pine-hickory forest. Strap into the harness and hang on!
There are also more casual activities like fishing, picnics and camping. CAW is building 40 RV sites with full hook-ups, tent-camping sites with showers, and rustic cabins that will house from four to 12 people, and there’s a beaver pond, lake, waterfalls and lots of pristine streams. Children have their own playground with rock climbing and proving grounds for electric mini-ATVs.
While we were there, the CAW folks were breaking ground on a service center and storage facility, so pass-holders can call ahead and have their ATVs fully prepped and waiting for the ride. Phase 2 will also have a restaurant and 60-room lodge perched on Top of the World. CAW had just put in the Welcome Center when we were there with Honda; it has two restaurants inside. We’re sure a bunch of motorsports fans will plan family OHV-vacations around the Darlington race-dates as well as CAW’s competition weekends.
Day passes are $25 for adults and $15 for children, and weekend passes (Friday p.m. to Sunday p.m) are $35/15. Individual annual passes are $350, while families of four or less can get a yearly pass for $500. Camping is $10, but RV and cabin prices weren’t set at presstime. Local dealerships will also have promotional specials on annual memberships, so check it out at www.carolinaadventureworld.com.
Carolina Adventure World is located 30 minutes north of Columbia, South Carolina, and 50 minutes south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Take I-77 to Exit 46, turn east to Camp Welfare Road, then turn south and go 2.7 miles on Camp Welfare Road. CAW is on the right.
Carolina Adventure World
P.O. Box 471517 Charlotte, NC 28247 (803) 482-3534