Moss Rock Preserve, also popular with hikers and climbers, is an excellent destination for running trails. Nearly 12 miles of trails wind through the park to form a loop except for a few cases of washed-out bridges on the east side. A creek (which can easily be crossed in times of low water), two-story-high boulders, and rolling hills provide runners a range of scenic views and terrain to cover.To warm up, start on the west side of the park at the Sulphur Springs trailhead and head south toward Patriotic Junction. Then follow the Red Trail, which is mostly flat and excellent for loosening muscles and increasing heart rate. When the Red Trail ends, runners looking for a moderate run should follow signs for the Blue Trail, which consists of rolling hills that alternate with flat terrain. For a more challenging run, follow signs for the White Trail, which is slightly rockier and quite challenging in the park’s northeast corner.Runners looking for a quick challenge should start on the east side of the park at the Orange Trail, accessible from the Simmons Middle School trailhead. The Orange Trail is an out-and-back trail, so for longer runs, runners will want to take a right onto the Powerline Trail when the two trails connect. For an even bigger challenge, follow signs for the White Trail, known as the “cardio trail,” among locals.
What Makes It Great
Moss Rock’s trails are, for the most part, smooth and spacious, giving runners easy terrain to navigate as you traverse hills large and small. Trails are mostly shaded (except for the Powerline Trail, which is in full sun), so running is comfortable year-round. Moss Rock also provides runners with a mix of scenic views and attention-worthy stopping points such as waterfalls, sandstone glades, and eye-catching boulders along the way.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners wanting to test their fitness on a range of hills and trails. Most of Moss Rock’s trails have both hilly and flat sections, so runners can easily challenge themselves knowing that a flatter section soon awaits. Connecting trails also provide runners the option of repeating shorter loops or taking advantage of the park’s length and running for lengths of 10 miles or more.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking is free at all trailheads. Although the most-used trailhead lies midway through the park, the best trailheads for runners are on the west and east sides of the park. On the west side, the Sulphur Springs trailhead can be accessed by taking a left from Preserve Parkway onto Sulphur Springs Road. The runner-friendly Blue Trail and the more challenging Powerline Trail are both accessible from Sulphur Springs.To start on the east side of the park, take Preserve Parkway past Boulder Field, then take a left onto Patton Chapel Road. The Simmons Middle School Trailhead and parking area will be on your left by the tennis courts. Accessible from Simmons is the Orange Trail, which connects to the Powerline Trail and the most challenging section of the White Trail. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and pets are allowed on leashes.