Trail Training: Red Top Mountain State Park

We went up to Red Top Mountain Saturday morning for a nice long run. I always love driving up 75 and seeing the fog from Lake Allatoona as a nice cool welcome for a morning run. We planned to arrive and start running by 8am, as the park gets crowded on nice weekends. We paid the $5 parking fee and used the open and clean restrooms at the Visitor Center on the main road. There is a park office and huge parking lot further toward the lake that connects to the trail system there as well in case there’s no parking at the Visitor Center.

The trails here are well maintained and have a soft padding of pine needles on them at this point in the year. The views of the lake are lovely and there’s not a lot of underbrush, so the views through the valleys of trees are also beautiful (even in the winter). Most of the trails are wide enough for two people to run side by side.

We ran on the Homestead Trail which looks a bit like a lollipop. The non-loop part starts at the Visitor Center which is why we parked here instead of at the park office. We ran the loop part of the trail twice in a counter-clockwise direction and then headed back to the parking lot to round out our 8 mile run. Both directions of the loop are equally hilly, but the counter-clockwise direction gives some time to adjust before the first climb. That being said, the loop part of the trail is rather hilly. There aren’t many long climbs, but there also aren’t many flat sections. No chance of getting bored here.

By 9 am we were starting to see increased traffic on the trails and by 9:30 am we had our masks out to cover up as we were passing people frequently. Again the trails are wide, but better safe than sorry!

It was a lovely morning and well worth the longer drive, although I would recommend checking for highway projects before leaving. There has been a lot of construction on 75 recently (like the last 5 years!) and we ended up taking backroads home because there was a 20 min delay on 75 south. Next time we’ll make sure to bring snacks for immediately after our run in case we run into delays again.

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