Pipestem Resort State Park - Trail Running

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About

Summary

Wide trails, gentle ascents with quick descents, and tranquil scenery make this trail running spot a local favorite for beginner and intermediate runners.

Written by

Neil Humphrey

Distance

18.0 miles

There are 16 trails that range from less than a mile to 5.25 miles. Since you can connect multiple trails to create loops, you can easily customize your route.

Destination Distance From Downtown

65.6 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Pipestem's gentle ascents, quick descents, rolling terrain, and beautiful views are easy enough for most trail runners.

Time To Complete

1 hours

This is a great spot to go out for a quick run, or combine trails to run for several hours. Take the the Law Hollow Trail to the Lake Shore Trail for a great loop with scenic views that can be finished in roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Pipestem is open year-round and impressive in all seasons.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Most trails are very narrow and have large drop-offs, so while the park is technically dog friendly it might be best to take them just around the camping areas and not on the trails.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Pipestem Resort State Park has a wide range of activities, from trail running, mountain biking and hiking to golfing and horseback riding. With 16 trails totaling nearly 19 miles, they have one of the largest trail systems of any state park in West Virginia. The trails come in all shapes, sizes, and combinations of terrain, and are sure to please any trail runner, beginner or expert, who makes the trip.

What Makes It Great

The wide trails, gentle ascents with quick descents, and tranquil scenery make running here very popular. The 0.5-mile Law Hollow Trail is a great place to start, because it links to many other trails on the right side of Pipestem. Law Hollow’s long opening descent lets you pick up considerable speed along the hard-packed dirt path, but be sure to stay to either side of the trail because the middle is heavily rutted out. Once the trail levels, it remains flat until it intersects with the Lake Shore Trail or the Den Tree Trail. Take the 2.2-mile Lake Shore Trail, a smooth, wide trail with rolling hills, for a wonderful run around Long Branch Lake.

If you are looking for singletrack, try the 1.9-mile County Line Trail, which is just less than 4 miles round-trip. This narrow trail, scattered with rocks and roots, winds it way through valleys and over hills. For a rocky climb, try the .4-mile Turkey Spur Trail that, after a flat start, climbs a steep singletrack hill with many exposed rocks. It links directly into the super-short Cottage Trail for the descent down the pine-covered hilltop to Long Branch Lake. The trail is hard-packed dirt with a moderate amount of roots and rocks.

Who is Going to Love It

Beginner and intermediate runners will love the trails at Pipestem. Clusters of roots and rocks appear sporadically on the way up most trails, so you can practice maneuvering obstacles in preparation for more technical trails. While experienced trail runners will no doubt have fun running at Pipestem, the trails aren’t very technical and are on the easier side.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To reach Pipestem State park, take Exit 14 on I-77. When you exit the ramp in either direction, follow the arrow for the town of Athens. Continue straight for 14 miles, and you’ll see a large triangular stone column on the left that marks the entrance to the park. There is plenty of parking near the trailheads.

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Location

Pipestem Resort State Park

3405 Pipestem Drive
Pipestem, WV, 25979
37.5324, -80.994

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