From the Nancytown Lake Trailhead, the Lake Russell Trail technically descends from the end of the parking lot along steep steps to cross below the Nancytown Lake Dam. Once you get this out of the way, the trail will now wind through pines and hardwoods along the shores of the lake. Although there are only a couple of difficult grades, the narrow, root-laden tread and proximity to the water in many places will keep you on your toes. This is old-school singletrack with sharp turns and lots of short ups and downs. There are a couple of bridges that are in need of repair.
You'll continue to wind along the lake shore and around the coves for a couple of miles. A short downhill dumps you out on the dam. At the end of the dam, there is a spillway and the trail descends to the left to a footbridge. When the water is down, some people opt to run across the dry lake bed, but this is not suggested.
Once on the other side of the spillway, the trail continues on a gated gravel road for about 0.5 mile. When you reach a paved road, the trail continues directly across the road with a short, steep downhill. Continue to wind along drainages with several bridges. As you approach the lakeshore, there will be a short series of three or four concrete steps.
You'll continue along the edge of a campground area then into the developed swimming area. Follow the sidewalk in front of the bathhouse (yield to pedestrians). Continue to follow the trail along the picnic area up a short climb until the trail turns right into the woods along the lake. After some nice singletrack, the trail will arrive at the FS road. Just a ways further down the road, look for the Lake Russell Connector
to return runners back to the parking area.