While Plum Orchard Wildlife Management Area is mainly for anglers looking to fish in nonmotorized boats, it's also a peaceful spot for trail running, hiking, and family picnics. The park’s 2 trails total only about 4 miles, but have stunning views, and throughout the run, you can see the seldom-visited lake covered with lily pads. Runs here are relaxing and beautiful.
What Makes It Great
With its secluded setting and sweeping views, Plum Orchard Wildlife Management Area is a great place to get in a quick trail run. The only fully off-road trail in this park has no name or designated parking area, so it’s easy to miss. To find the trailhead, drive along the left side of the lake and look for a small wooden sign saying motorized vehicles are forbidden. The trail begins here with a short climb to the top of a ridge. Once you get up to the ridge, the wide trail flattens out as it weaves through a hilltop forest.
Continue along a gently inclining ridge as you duck under trees and maneuver around branches. The trail splits near its end, but the left path takes you close to the park’s shooting range. Turn right to go to the top of Haystack Mountain for some incredible views of the lake below.
On the opposite side of the lake is a dirt road that leads to 2 put-ins for kayakers and fishermen. This short path, roughly 1 mile out and back, is hard-packed dirt with gravel and has a series of level switchbacks and some picturesque lakeside views.
Who is Going to Love It
Beginner trail runners will enjoy the 2 trails at Plum Orchard. Both are wide, with hard-packed dirt and grass surfaces that have very few exposed rocks or roots. Many trees have fallen across the longer of the 2 trails, but they are easy to duck under or skirt around. Neither trail is steep. Even though intermediate and advanced runners won’t be challenged on these trails, everyone will enjoy the views!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To reach Plum Orchard WMA, take Exit 54 at Pax off of I-64/I-77. Turn towards the town of Pax, and then turn left when the road splits just ahead. Continue for about 3 miles until the road splits again; this time turn right. Keep straight and you will arrive at the park shortly.