Monday, October 28, 2013

Trail Running Turkey Run Loop

We had a perfectly crisp day to do a little trail running yesterday, so I thought we'd give Turkey Run Loop a try. Turkey Run is connected to my favorite trail of late: the Potomac Heritage Trail (PHT). Though the loop we were going to attempt didn't cover all that much ground on the PHT, I was still glad to be running on a section of it.

As for Turkey Run Loop, we attempted to follow the instructions on localhikes.com. Things started off clearly enough, with clear signage and nice yellow blazes. However, as we made our way up Dead Run things got a bit hazy. Specifically, we got to the following line in the instructions:

Just after passing under the GW parkway bridge, turn left, cross the run and follow the yellow markers southeast until you reach Turkey Run again.

We had no problem finding the GW Parkway Bridge. And once we crossed under it we found a yellow'ish blazed trail. But it didn't head off in a Southeast direction. We took the trail, and continued to follow the bright yellow-green markers until we came across some dog-walkers. They explained to us that we were outside the park and nowhere near Turkey Run. We made our way back, found the GW Bridge again, but for the life of us couldn't find the trail turn off.

It turns out that that according to the map we inspected after the fact, we needed to turn left *before* not after the GW Parkway Bridge. D'oh. Note to self: bring a map, and don't just rely on a narrative and trail markings.

We backtracked to the PHT, and then ran Southeast. We did this until we picked up a sign for Parkway Headquarters. We then took that trail back to Parking Lot C, where we started.

While I was disappointed that we couldn't do the loop as described, what we did end up doing was terrific. Most of it was quite runnable with some fun hills. Parts of the PHT continue to be really rocky and less than ideal for trail running. But views of the Potomac more than make up for it.

Here's a useful map of the area, which I didn't have with me. And here's the Yelp review page, which I'm not entirely sure does the area justice.

And of course, here are some photos:

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