Walking the Doodle Trail

Creek crossing near Wayans Drive
The Doodle Trail is a recently opened paved trail between the cities of Pickens and Easley in Pickens County. From 1898 until 2013, this was the Pickens "Doodle" Railway, a shortline railroad. In 2013, the owner and sole remaining customer of the line, the Pickens Railway Company, moved its locomotive repair operation to Anderson. The cities of Pickens and Easley opted to jointly buy the right of way and convert the railroad into a multi-use trail. The trail opened May 23, 2015 with the usual ceremonies.

I visited the former railroad in August 2013 while the rails were being removed and another visit finally made the top of my to-do list. I noticed one change immediately when I pulled into the Easley trailhead parking area off Fleetwood Drive. This restaurant building, for sale in 2013, had since been torn down...
For sale
to make room for more cars:
Doodle Trail Easley parking lot - 2
Across the street, a map board details the trail and the trail rules.
Doodle Trail map board
While the rails have been removed here and along the line, the crossing signals near the trail head, seen here in this 2013 photo, still remain:
Wilbur Street - 3
The railroad crossing signs have all been removed, like these at Lewis Street,
LEwis Street - 3
... and replaced with new signage.
Lewis Street crossing
I did notice one sign by the highway still remaining:
Leftover railroad sign
The walk between Easley, Pickens, and back was uneventful, but I did see some unusual sights along the way.

I spotted abandoned cars several times.
Abandoned car - 1 Abandoned cars - 2 Abandoned car - 3 Abandoned car - 4
The area between Easley and Pickens is rural, making it natural to see a few tractors.
Old tractor - 1 Old tractor - 2 Old tractor - 3
I found some interesting surprises along the trail, this railroad car for one:
Old railroad car - 3
And this mystery railroad-related structure for another:
Mysterious Pickens Doodle structure  #1- 1 Mysterious Pickens Doodle structure #1 - 2
No journey through a rural country would be complete without a classic red barn:
Red barn
As I entered Pickens, I passed by the abandoned mill:
Abandoned mill - 1
and the mill houses:
Mill houses
A few minutes later I made it to the temporary Pickens trailhead off Railroad Street:
Pickens trailhead - 1 Kiosk at Pickens Trailhead
The old machine shop, once the old depot before remodeling, are still there, but the favored plan as of January 2016, as reported in the Pickens Sentinel, is to tear it down for the new, permanent trailhead.
Old rail
On the way back, I explored a different siding I had spotted on a satellite view and in Google Earth near Elljean Road some time ago:
It's actually two sidings, spaced a several feet apart. I found some railroad ties still in the ground, while other ties were stacked together.
Abandoned Pickens Doodle railroad- 1 Abandoned Pickens Doodle railroad - 3
I've added this information to my map of the Pickens "Doodle" Railway:
My total time was about 6 hours, or about 2.5 hours from Easley to Pickens, a half-hour rest break, then a more leisurely 3 hours back to Easley. I'd like to visit the trail once again after I've bought a bike, but no telling when I'll have the money for this.

Both the city of Pickens and the city of Easley have maps and other information about the trail.

As usual, I've shared my photos to an album on Flickr and an album on Google Photos. My pre-Doodle Trail photos during the rail-removal in 2013 are on another album on Flickr.

Comments

  1. They did a great job on that trail - I hope the Pickens trailhead retains its railroad character. It was interesting to see the photos before the trail was built.

    There's a bike rental shop in Easley, but unfortunately there's no off-road connection from the downtown to trail yet.

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