Trail runners should be advised that this is a narrow, rugged trail, with roots - be careful with your footing!
Deer Run Trail follows *dark* blue blazes off River Walk Trail
, which follows lighter blue and continues along the river. It'll be fairly clear which is which—if you're concerned about ending up on the wrong trail, River Walk Trail
is wider, and continues to parallel the river. Take the fork that leads you up the hill and you've reached Deer Run.
This trail isn't truly "rugged," but it is narrower, and the ground does have a number of roots along the way. If you're comfortable running in the woods, it should not be difficult, just be aware of your footing. When you hit the first fork, it doesn't particularly matter which way you loop. It can be a little difficult to tell, though, exactly which part is the trail here! Keep looking for the blazes, and you'll find the path, though. They're doing construction to expand the park between 2018 and 2019, so maintenance is ongoing.
Once you reach that fork, I recommend going right (which is more northeast than east, and closer to "straight ahead"). This will let you climb and then descend around the hill, ascending back to this fork on the other side. Either way works. Again, be aware of roots and rocks, and keep an eye out for the blazes.
Either way you loop, you'll pass Palmer's Pond
on the way. It's a pretty little spot, and in late May you can hear either toads or frogs (not toadally sure) croaking. There'll be a wooden bridge leading across the stream that you don't have to cross as part of Deer Run, but if you choose to take the Palmer's Pond
connector back to Old Salem Turnpike, it'll take you across this bridge, past the pond, up the hill (steep!) and back to the road.
At the apex of this trail, you can spot the orange blazes that mark the trailhead of Turkey Scratch Loop
. Turkey Scratch is a short loop, and even more rugged than Deer Run. You could complete the two at once and it'll be nearly (not quite) a mile all together.