This beautiful run makes a great spring or summer outing to recharge your batteries with some quality time in the woods. Overall, the terrain isn't too demanding, but the rolling elevation and nearly six miles of trails will leave you with a nice feeling of accomplishment at the end.
The run begins at the parking area at the southern end of Little Beaver Lake. Start in on the rhododendron-lined Beaver Creek Trail
, if you're lucky, it will be dotted with beautiful blooms. After a quarter-mile, keep straight onto Rhododendron Run
to continue paralleling Little Beaver Creek. Eventually, you reach the eastern park boundary, which comes very close to the edge of a private country club.
After a short jaunt past some rocks, in fairly open woods, the trail goes uphill and you cut back to the west. For the next 0.5 to 0.75 miles, the route is fairly up and down. Rhododendron Run
ends on a road where a turn to the right takes runners past a private home and then around a farm.
Keep on the road past a pond and then look for the trailhead for Weaver Way
and Laurel Creek
on the left. Here the path is pretty straight and easygoing as it travels uphill from a creek bed. Take the left onto Weaver Way
until it connects back with Laurel Creek
just before a small pond. The pond makes for a good break spot and there are some neat frogs carrying on with a small symphony.
Next, follow the Deer Trail
away from the pond, down to a clearing and then across a road. On the other side, it goes between two sets of camping sites. There are a number of branching trails, but if you turn left onto the unmarked Nature Ridge
trail, it leads to an abandoned RV camping site arranged around a looped road. The running is easy along this stretch.
After you've passed both ends of Easy Street
, look for the Nature Ridge Connector
to return to the same dirt road from earlier. Turn right to follow the rolling terrain of Creek Bed
back down to the Beaver Creek Trail
. From there, turn right and make the final quarter-mile run back to the parking area.
There are lots of rhododendron at the start of the run, as it follows Little Beaver Creek. It reminded me a lot of the rhododendron thickets common in Western North Carolina.