Trail running? Our top picks

30
May
2017
Author Pamela Merritt

Trail running is popular for many good reasons, like a softer surface to run on, the way it fosters better technique with varying terrain, and the scenic possibilities. The Malone area has some great places to give it a try, as well as all kinds of challenges for the competitive spirit.

A great hiking trail can make a great trail run, but not always. There are differing levels of preference and ability involved that can dictate a choice of surface. "Unpaved" covers a lot of different terrain. The challenges can range from having a run turn into mountain climbing to suddenly negotiating a stream crossing without a bridge.

One of the thrills of trail running is dealing with the unexpected. But just so there isn't too much of the unexpected, here are some top picks to consider for that next trail run... and why.

choice of surface

The Pinnacle Rec Trail has two miles of trail, both paved and on a side loop, unpaved and hilly. This makes it easy to stick to the path if it is wet or to go exploring if you feel like trying something more challenging. The climbs on the rougher trail are considered easy to moderate in terms of steepness.

Or go cross-country on the grassy areas that surround the lake, with lots of scenic interest at every step.

Beautiful scenery is always a plus for any kind of run.

The Malone Rec Park is minutes from downtown, yet has a feel of being very far away from traffic or buildings. One main road goes by, which has houses on it, but from many angles, you would never know. The park is surrounded by hills and forests in enough directions that the park seems even larger than it is.

Part paved, part not, this recreational trail offers fine scenery while still in the heart of Malone.

Advantages of this choice are accessibility, wide variation in surfaces, and known mileage.

once a road

A mile and a half of old road is the warm-up for the climb to the views of Elephant Head. And a glorious stretch it is.

It starts out as a recognizable road with two tracks, and then fades into a single track through meadows of wildflowers and past many streams. It takes a serious turn when it comes to the climbing, which has a lot of rooty stairsteps. Then there is an actual wooden flight of stairs that leads to the ledge with its glorious views of Lake Titus and distant mountains.

Run through lovely flowers, past streams, and then challenge yourself with a climb.

This is a very interesting trail with many dimensions. The first stretch is a simple hike, suitable for even small children, and while the climb is rather steep, it's relatively short.

It's the variety which pulls a runner along, from dense forest, to more sunny stretches, to outright open spaces in the middle. At the end is another heavily wooded last climbing section before the ledge, which leads you to one of the finest views in the area.

If someone designed this trail run, it could not be better.

Advantages of this choice are the flatness and evenness of the former road, the lovely forest and stream scenery, and the option to do some very serious uphill running, or fast walking for conditioning.

sort of road

If you are saying to yourself, "More, more!" then Kushaqua-Mud Pond Road is the one to try. Lake Kushaqua is a 375-acre lake that is almost entirely state-owned, with only occasional glimpses of civilization such as bridges over water sources. The road loop that circles the lake is a seasonal road that is mostly two gravely tracks around the lake.

There are incredible views at every turn along this route.

Lots of views of Lake Kushaqua, which is mostly wild and very lovely.

At one time this lake hosted Stony Wold Sanitarium, built in 1901 to care for underprivileged young women diagnosed with tuberculosis. At its peak during the Great Depression, Stony Wold was twenty buildings, a farm for fresh food, and could generate its own electricity.

Stony Wold Hall, and a couple of cottages, still stands.

The founder, Elizabeth Newcomb, died of tuberculosis in 1938. She asked to be buried between Stony Wold Hall and the lake, fulfilling the lake's name: which is Algonquin for "beautiful resting place."

Despite circling a single lake, the irregular shoreline and equally irregular road contours create a sense of anticipation around the many turns and twists the road takes. Minor elevation and footing changes create a wonderful trail running experience through some of our most gorgeous scenery.

Many streams and bridges provide more scenic interest during the run.

Advantages of this choice are the many views of Lake Kushaqua, the ease of following the route, and the length of the route, which is approximately seven miles around Lake Kushaqua.

This is only the beginning of exploring trail running in the Malone area. Whatever level you are at, or striving for, we have the right levels to keep you on your toes. Literally.

Choose a place to stay. Fuel up with all kinds of dining. Find more trail running with our mountain biking trails.


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