Archive for the ‘National Trail’ Category

This weekend, I ventured out on to the trails again. Only this time, I was running.

The 13th Annual Mrs. Smith’s Challenge hosted by the Lancaster Road Runners Club wound its way up and down and around the Lancaster County Central Park. About 200 women scrambled over roots, slid down rocky slopes and squished through some marshy muck, cheering each other on the whole way. I’m not sure that my running mate Annie was as keen on the experience as I was, but even she couldn’t deny the scenic appeal.

“This sucks,” I heard her grunt behind me as we made another ascent. “But it sure is beautiful.”

Now, here’s a little secret. Just between you and me: I don’t run very fast. In fact, Michael equates watching me run with watching an injured animal try to make their way through a mud pit.

Maybe that’s why I’ve got a new crush on trail running – because my stride and my pace fit right in. I don’t get flustered by people passing me on narrow trails – two years of hiking with Michael taught me that. I don’t mind long stretches of just me, my thoughts and the woods either – again, two years with the speed hiker made me appreciate those quiet moments just as much as the friendly chatter that happens when you do come across someone that shares your pace.

During some of those silent moments on the trail this Saturday, of course my mind wandered back to some of my favorite trails from the C2C trip. I wonder what it would have been like to run that one….I wonder which National Park trails are the best ones to run?

I found a special Trails edition of Runner’s World waiting for me at home with some answers. The Spring 2011 RW lists these as its top five (links will take you to our reviews):

  1. Acadia National Park, Maine
  2. Yosemite National Park, California
  3. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  5. Zion National Park, Utah

That’s a pretty good list. But I can think of a few more. What’s your favorite National Park trail to run?

I’ll share mine (or what I think they would be) later this week.


PS – Happy Mother’s Day, moms. Wishing moms of all kinds a peaceful day today.


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Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania
Visited: May 5, 2006
NPS Site Visited: 287 of 353

NPS Website; Local Website;
Another Local Website

Meandering Potomac
The Potomac Heritage NST differs from all the other NPS trail systems in one important and very distinguishable way: its trails do not connect and do not lead to any conscious goal. In fact, there is no published map that shows either the Trail’s course or the land it encompasses.

How do you know you are on the Potomac Heritage NST? You might see a sign or you might run into a National Parks Passport Book stamp at a Visitor Center.

During college, Michael biked portions of the trail (the Mount Vernon Trail, the C&O Canal Towpath and he’s sure others) nearly every day and never knew it. He cherished those easily accessible recreational opportunities as one of the best parts of living in Washington D.C.

The following is a guide as to what trails are a part of the Potomac Heritage NST, links to our reviews of the Sites they pass through as well as which VC’s have a Potomac Heritage NST passport stamp. Enjoy!

Segment 1
The 184.5-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath

Park Sites:
1. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP (D.C. Area)
Potomac Heritage NST Stamps: Great Falls Tavern; Georgetown, D.C. VC
2. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP (Maryland and West Virginia)
Potomac Heritage NST Stamps: Cumberland, Md; Williamsport, Md.; C&O Headquarters, Hagerstown, Md.; Hancock, Md; Ferry Hill, Sharpsburg, Md.
3. Harpers Ferry NHP
Potomac Heritage NST Stamp: Stamp at Harpers Ferry even though the NPS mimeographed pamphlet explicitly states that the Trail does NOT exist in West Virginia.
4. Antietam NB
No Stamp Here

Segments 2 and 3
The 17-mile Mount Vernon Trail and the 10-mile Potomac Heritage Trail in George Washington Memorial Parkway

Park Sites:
1. George Washington MEM PKWY
Potomac Heritage NST Stamp: Stamp at Turkey Run Park
2. LBJ MEM Grove
No Stamp Here
3. Theodore Roosevelt Island
No Stamp Here
4. U.S.M.C. Memorial and Netherlands Carillon
No Stamp Here
5. Great Falls Park
No Stamp Here
6. Claude Moore Colonial Farm
No Stamp Here

Segments 4 and 5
The 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail
and the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage (connecting Cumberland, Md. and Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Park Sites:
1. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP (Maryland and West Virginia)
Potomac Heritage NST Stamp: Cumberland, Md.
The Trail runs nearby but not through these two sites:
2. Friendship Hill NHS
No Stamp Here and
3. Fort Necessity NB
No Stamp Here
4. Potomac Heritage NST Stamps can be found at Ohiopyle SP and Laurel Ridge SP

Segment 6
The 21-mile Potomac Heritage Trail On-Road Bicycling Route in Prince Georges County, Md.

Park Sites:
1. Fort Washington Park
Potomac Heritage NST Stamp: Fort Washington Park VC
2. Piscataway Park
No Stamp Here

Segment 7
A two-mile route in Nanjemoy Natural Resource Management Area, Charles County, Md.

Park Sites:
1. This segment is close to but does not encompass: Thomas Stone NHS
No Stamp Here

Segment 8
A 4.5-mile route in Prince William Forest Park

Park Sites:
1. Prince William Forest Park
Potomac Heritage NST Stamp: Prince William Forest Park VC

Segment 9
7.7 miles of trails within Riverbend Park, Great Falls Park and Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in northern Fairfax County, Va.

Park Site:
1. Great Falls Park
Potomac Heritage NST Stamp: Great Falls Park VC

Segment 10
A 15-mile linear park system in Loudoun County, Va.

Park Sites:
1. None, we think
No Stamps Here

Segment 11
The 23-mile Alexandria Heritage Trail in Alexandria, Va.

Park Sites:
1. None, we think
No Stamps Here

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