Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

Fall Trail Running

I would have liked to do more trail running this fall (although I realize fall is not over yet). But since I have been training for the Marine Corps Marathon since the summer, I have shied away from trails. I did not want to increase the risk of rolling an ankle, since I’m already pretty good at doing that on a flat, paved trail. But this past Saturday I couldn’t resist, since the leaves seem to be at their peak. So I headed down to Marion for a 6 mile run at Hungry Mother State Park.

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

I took a lot of photos during this run since the trail and surrounding views were so pretty! Some parts of the trail were fairly dark due to the cloudy day and the abundance of mountain laurels:

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

There were a lot of nice views of the lake and surrounding mountains along the way:

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

Most of the trail was covered in a thick coating of fallen leaves. It made the hidden roots and rocks a bit more precarious, so I had to be cautious. But I also enjoyed the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet the whole way.Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail
Can you spot the bridge?

Other sections of the trail hadn’t been covered with leaves, yet.

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

During the second half of my run I ran past a campground that was packed full of people. I also ran past the beach/swimming area which was not packed full of people. In fact, the beach is closed for the year now. It definitely wasn’t a good day for swimming, as the wind was blustery and the “feels like” temperature was around 47 degrees.

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail

The last part of the trail took me back through some tree lined areas before dropping me back off at my starting point.

Hungry Mother State Park Lake Loop Trail
One last hurrah of fall foliage.

I’m really glad I took the time to drive down to Hungry Mother this weekend. It was really enjoyable being out on the trail in the woods, and taking in all of the fall foliage. The fallen leaves add an extra challenge, but I think fall may be my favorite trail running season. Summer is a very close second.

What’s your favorite season?
If you run trails, what is your favorite trail running season?
Are you seeing lots of colors on the trees lately?

15 thoughts on “Fall Trail Running”

  1. Stunning!! You are wise to choose the trails–they are definitely amazing this time of year. I had the same issue w/ a thick bed of leaves today. It’s so hard to know what’s under there! But, like you, I also had some packed sections of bare dirt too. Glad you made it through w/out getting hurt!

    1. You definitely have to be careful of the leaves on the ground! Especially since the leaves on the trees are so pretty, so you’re more tempted to look up ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Beautiful photos! I love fall (when it’s not raining..), colorful leaves and the freshness of the air are just the best. My favorite trail running season must be summer, I would say fall but er get so much rain here which makes it an impossible task – unless you enjoy slipping, falling and struggeling around in the mud haha! Late summer/early fall is my fave – you Get some of the fall-feeling without the slippery trails ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You definitely can’t beat an early morning long run in the crisp, cool fall air. It smells so good, too! It would be tough running trails during a rainy fall. The leaves are definitely slick when they get wet!

  3. Bill and I ran on the Hungry Mother trails on Friday. We started where you and I stared, and then ran up to Molly’s Knob along the CCC Trail (different trail up, than you and I took). We then ran back to the parking lot without running around the lake. About 1/4 mile from the parking lot, I stepped on a leaf-covered rock and rolled my foot. So glad something like that didn’t happen to you a week before the MCM!

    1. Glad y’all were able to get out for some trail running! I’m sorry to hear about your foot, though. Was it the same one you hurt earlier this fall? I was super, super careful when I ran at Hungry Mother the weekend before MCM. It may have been asking for trouble, but I really just wanted to see the leaves.

      1. Yes, it was the same foot, but I hurt it at a different place. Last time I sort of jammed it so it hurt at the front of the metatarsals where the toes join the foot. This time it was on the lateral most metatarsal toward the back. I now have a pretty little purple bruise the length of that bone, but it’s feeling great. Whew!

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