Hungry Mother State Park Lake Vista

Running at Hungry Mother State Park

This past Saturday, Barry and I headed down to Hungry Mother State Park in Marion for a trail run. We ran separately, since we had different distances in mind. Plus, our paces are dramatically different on trails (he’s a much better climber than me). I chose to run the 5.7 mile long trail that goes around the lake.

Hungry Mother State ParkI hadn’t ever run here before, and I really enjoyed exploring some new trails. As per usual, the trail started off with a challenging hill and I was amazed at how quickly trail running can make my heart rate skyrocket, so early on.

Hungry Mother State Park Trails

My legs were feeling kind of tired and heavy, but I just focused on enjoying the scenery of the lake and woods around me. Eventually, after mile 2, they started to feel better. The trail wasn’t very technical, so I was able to look at my surroundings more than usual.

Hungry Mother State Park Trails

It was mostly shaded the whole way around the lake, which was nice. The temperature was in the low-60’s at the start of my run, but warming up quickly. Once again I ran with my Nathan hydration vest, so I had plenty of water.

Hungry Mother State Park Trails

The trail had rolling hills, with only one climb before mile 2 that I had to hike up. There were a lot of signs saying there was a beach overlook coming up around mile 3.6, so I focused on getting to that. But then I found myself at mile 4. I thought there would be a sign, but I guess they thought the overlook was obvious, so I totally missed it.

At this point, the trail spit me out onto a paved road and I got very confused about where to go. I came to a big parking lot a little ways down the road and saw a trail map at the end of it. It looked like I may have been on the trail the whole time, and possibly would have missed getting back on it if I hadn’t run down through the parking lot. It was very confusing, and I’m still not sure if I followed the trail correctly or not. I followed the paved path, which was marked with the navy blue blazes I had been following the whole way, over to the beach area.

Hungry Mother State Park beach

The swimming area officially opened this past Memorial Day weekend. It looks like it would be a fun place to swim! And I would love to jump off of that tower. I bet the water was pretty chilly on Saturday, though.

Hungry Mother State Park beach

I continued on, with about 1.5 miles left to go. I cursed myself for running counterclockwise and hitting this part of the trail at the end of my run, because there was very little shade. At least there was a pretty view.

Hungry Mother State Park Trails

I broke the last mile down into quarter mile chunks, taking a sip of water each quarter, until I found my way back where I started at the spillway.

Hungry Mother State Park Trails

Since I wasn’t quite at 6 miles yet, I did a brief out and back on the part of the trail I had started my run on. Of course, this added two extra hills right at the end of my run. Overall, this run was a good confidence boost for me and was much tamer than last week.

5-24-14 elevation

Once I finished my run, I headed up to the lot where we parked. I was done running (or so I thought…), but had plans to hike up to a “lake vista” I had seen advertised on a trailhead marker. I wanted to see this vista! (side note: Barry wasn’t back at the car, yet, so I knew he was still out on his run)

Hungry Mother State Park Trails

It was quite the hike to the top, but what else do you expect when you’re doing a 1 mile climb to a lake vista and the trail starts at the same level as the lake? The hike felt tough since my legs were already tired from running. But, as usual, the climb was worth it.

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Vista

I really enjoyed getting a birds eye view of the lake I had just run around! I had planned on hiking up and then hiking back down, but instead I decided to run back down the trail. It was a net downhill, anyway, with just a few small climbs along the way.

5-24-14 elevation2

When I got back to the parking lot, I found that Barry was back at the car as well. He hadn’t been waiting long, which was good! We got cleaned up at the campground bath house (we had both brought shower stuff and a change of clothes). Then we headed down to Chilhowie to meet up with Barry’s parents since we were in their neck of the woods.

Riverfront Restaurant Chilhowie

We ate at The Riverfront, which is one of my favorite local/non-chain restaurants. After some good food with good company, Barry and I hit the road home. We avoided the interstate for the most part, and enjoyed driving through all of the towns and countryside along the way. It was a gorgeous day!

What did you do this past Memorial Day weekend?

20 thoughts on “Running at Hungry Mother State Park”

  1. Looks like a nice trail run.

    Memorial Day weekend? Some biking, walking, the Vienna Fair and BBQ. Ribs and pulled pork. Just a good weekend to fire up the grill and drink something cold.


    1. It was. Definitely a place I want to go run again!

      Your Memorial Day weekend sounds like fun – I missed out on grilling this year.

  2. Awesome re-cap! I love that you hiked after your run! Such a good way to cool down and walk off the run. I hate going on new trails myself and never knowing where I am or should be going. After one time there, I love it since I know the trail. And that is great you were able to shower to meet up with B’s parents 🙂 Way to multi-task.

    1. I enjoyed hiking after the run, although next time I think I will hike somewhere other than up a mountain 🙂 I like knowing a trail, too! It’s no fun running along and being unsure of whether or not you’re still following the correct trail, or any trail for that matter.

  3. Looks like another great place to run! There is something so satisfying about running completely around a lake. Or, is that just me?
    I wouldn’t have been able to resist jumping in the lake! Running to (or near)a body of water and jumping in is one of my favorite things 🙂

    1. I agree with you, it’s fulfilling to run all the way around something. I was close to jumping in the lake at the beach, and probably would have if I hadn’t had over a mile left to go! My race this weekend finishes at a lake, and I’ll probably be taking a dip/ice bath in it afterwards!

  4. Great trail run. Missing parts of the trail is to be expected when you are on a new trail but you did a great job of getting back on track. The views are amazing and it’s awesome that you hiked after your run, that view was totally worth it.

    Memorial Day was great, started by remembering those serving and those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. Then a buddy and I headed to a 5k fun run with a local running group, everyone was dressed in red white and blue, totally cool. Then we had the family over for a nice bbq.

  5. Of course you celebrated your holiday with a run! 🙂 Glad you and your hubby are able to share this love. Looks like a gorgeous trail!

    1. What else would I do? 🙂 It’s great to share something like running with each other, but I also like that we don’t always run together. I like knowing he’s out there, too, and then swapping trail stories after our runs.

  6. We haven’t been to Hungry Mother, even though it’s not too far from us. After reading about you and Debbie running there, it’s on the list. You need to let me know when you’re down this way. I’d love to meet up with you and go for a trail run sometime!!

    1. I didn’t realize it was relatively close to you! How long a drive is it? I think your family would have a good time there. They’ve got a nice little beach area and some playgrounds and stuff, in addition to the trails, campgrounds, and cabins. I’d love to meet up sometime for a run! I need to know what the definition of “down this way” is, though 🙂

    1. I’m sorry to hear you don’t have many trails around you. I started running in 2007, but only started running trails this year. It’s still very new to me.

  7. Hi Meagan,
    I work at Hungry Mother and found your site thru google alerts. I run the lake trail a lot also, usually start at the beach so I have a mile warm up before hitting the hills. You followed the right path when you hit the road on the back side of the lake; when the trail meets the road you run down past the cabin, turn into that parking lot and follow the paved trail thru the picnic area, behind the restaurant and back to the beach. The beach overlook signs you saw actually refer to the paved overlook you can drive to which is above the trail before it comes out on the road. If you want to do a good hill run the other trail you hiked up can be a tough 6+ mile loop. Glad you enjoyed the run and park, hope to see you out here some time!

    1. Hi Nate, thanks for commenting! I really enjoyed the lake trail loop, and I’m glad to hear I managed to follow it correctly. I will definitely be back sometime to try out that 6+ mile loop!

  8. Awesome recap, Meagan! As a little girl we drove past Hungry Mother every time we went into town to shop. Did you hike all of the way up to Molly’s Knob or just part way? I’ll be down that way June 28… Hmmm… I feel the need to tweet you and Nicole! 🙂

    1. I didn’t go on Molly’s Knob at all. I just ran the loop around the lake (Lake Trail Loop), and then hiked up Clyburn Ridge and Clyburn Hollow Trails to get to the lake vista.

Leave a Reply to Meagan Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s