George Poston Park - Trail Running

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About

Summary

Tight, twisty single track, areas of rock and root, and some elevation that makes good use the local topography. The multi-use trails at George Poston Park in Gastonia are great for a cardio workout and working those stabilizer muscles.

Written by

Rob Glover

Distance

7.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

16.7 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Topographical Map

George Poston Park Map

Land Website

George Poston Park

Review

Intro

The trail system at George Poston Park has one of the more interesting layouts in the Charlotte area. The system is comprised of a series of interconnecting loop trails, each one with its own personality. Beginning with the Lake Loop, a general less technical trail but with lots of tight turns, and continuing through to the Spencer Mountain Loop, with its strong uphill climb, George Poston holds a variety of difficulty.

What Makes It Great

Running through the tight, twisting single track, around the lake and through dense woods, makes for one of the most interesting trail workouts in Charlotte. The turns, hill climbs, and bumpy sections of path at George Poston Park seem to make some of the best use of local topography.

Set up like links of a chain, the five loop trails at Poston connect to create a series of trail around eight miles long.  The first in the series, the Lake Loop, undulates along the small lake, twisting its way up the bank. The topography and views make it one of the prettiest sections of trail at Poston.

The next in the series of loops is Laurel Hill. Short gains and losses of elevation are punctuated with plenty of rocks. The Laural Loop is reserved enough for any level of trail runner.

The third and fourth link in the loop chain are Big Leaf and Soccer Loops. This is where things get a bit cardio, with longer stretches of uphill (on the way out) heading towards the Spencer Mountain Loop. Not as twisty or as rocky, the challenge in these sections lies in the climb. Luckily, what goes up also comes down. The return run on these loops is a fast section of downhill.

The Spencer Mountain loop is the finale in the park. Some down and uphill culminates in a choice of a several foot ledge or a super-fast downhill and wide ledge jump for the mountain bike riders. You can basically return via the backside of each loop, adding multiple runs for additional distance.

Who is Going to Love It

While only 30 minutes west of Charlotte, the trails at George Poston Park are sometimes overlooked by area runners. That’s changing with new races being held in the Park. Given the genius layout, a chain of loops building from easiest to most difficult, this park holds something for any level of runner.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The suggested parking area, and the one that leads to the Lake Loop, is near the entrance to the park at Shelter 1.There’s a second parking lot further on the entrance road that brings you to the connection of the Soccer and Big Leaf Loop trails. The sprawling facility has a dog park, several sports fields, and water and bathroom facilities. Since mountain bike riders also use these trails, it’s important to be mindful of typical trail etiquette – announce your approach and give way to faster movers.

Location

George Poston State Park

1101 Lowell Spencer Mountain Rd
Gastonia, NC, 28056
35.285652, -81.109832

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