At Laurel Run there is a gate that may be open or closed (no specific dates or times for closure). If it is closed, park there and run the additional 1.1 miles on Laurel Run Road
. If the gate is open, you may drive all the way to the junction of Laurel Run Spur Trail and Laurel Run Trail
and park there to begin your run, reducing the length of the run by 2.2 miles.
This nine mile circuit will take you along the ridge via the North Mountain Trail
; but before you get to the ridge, you'll pass high meadows and a high elevation pond. The run can be challenging at times, offers gorgeous views, and is a unique wilderness experience.
This trail is a good trail to run in the winter as most views would be blocked by trees in spring or summer.
The Stack Rocks Trail is narrow and consists of several steep switchbacks. Additionally, it is heavily covered in leaves and holes, rocks, and roots are difficult to spot in advance.
The run begins from the parking area by the first gate on Laurel Run Road
and heads 1.1 miles along the road. The property surrounding this road is private, and you'll see "No Trespassing" signs. Do not go off the road during this section. When you reach another gate, to your right is the beginning of the yellow-blazed Laurel Run Trail
Shortly after, there is a split in the trail where you'll stay on the yellow-blazed Laurel Run Trail
. Continue for 2.1 miles. This will be the most challenging portion of the run. The trail steadily climbs and some portions are steeper than others. The trail is mostly wooded but you'll come upon two clearings as you run. Closer to the junction with North Mountain Trail
, you'll pass a pond on your left. Shortly after passing this pond, you'll come upon the North Mountain Trail
junction; turn left onto the orange-blazed North Mountain Trail
After a little under 0.75 mile on the North Mountain Trail
, you'll come upon a white-blazed trail that will take you to a lookout. This is a nice spot in the run to sit and enjoy lunch. It offers the best view that you'll have during the run, so take some time here. After getting back on the trail, you'll continue for another 1.6 miles, with slight ups and downs in in the terrain as you cross over two more knolls. Following the completion of the second knoll, you'll come upon the purple-blazed Stack Rock Trail
. Take a slight left onto this trail to start your descent.
The Stack Rock Trail
follows a series of switchbacks and is quite steep. Watch your footing as leaves can cover holes, rocks, and roots. The trail here is also a bit narrow. Continue down this trail for approximately 1.3 miles until you come upon the blue-blazed trail for Laurel Run Spur Trail, which is also Logger Road 252. Turn left onto this road and follow it back to the junction at which you started your run. Continue on Laurel Run Road
for the 1.1 miles back to the parking area.