For the past several weeks, I've been doing two laps around the 4.3 mile Terrace Pond Loop. This is a great trail with a lot of variety and about 500 feet of climbing on each lap.
I'm planning on heading up there this Sunday at 11 AM. I'm trying to get myself worked up mentally to do 3 laps which is almost exactly a half marathon distance.
If anyone would like to join, that'd be great.
I'm very new to trail running, but have been hiking these trails for years. I'm not particularly fast either. Last week, my mile splits ranged from 10:40 on the relatively flat portions to 20:00 on the climbs up to the ridge. I ended up averaging 14:58 for both laps.To give an idea of the level of difficulty, I would run the same distance at 8:45 or so on the flats.
The trail is quite technical in places with several all-fours scrambles and a good portion which runs atop a very rocky ridge.
On my first lap last week I encountered a healthy looking black bear walking across the ridge about 30 feet ahead of me. We regarded one another and I gently backed away to let him pass.
Here is a map of the trail. I start from the parking area (Area 7) on Clinton Road (about 7 miles north of Rt 23), which you can see at the upper left of the map, and go counterclockwise along the route shown in red.
The 'destination' of the loop is a very cool secluded pond which is a pretty popular destination in the summer. The one downside of this trail is the possibility of the presence of people consuming too much alcohol and getting a little rowdy, at the pond.
The trail starts with a beautiful and fairly flat section through a forest with a lot of mountain laurel around the trail. Then it meets an old grassy road-width trail for a while until it comes to a marshy lake with several active beaver dams. After this, you enter the woods again and start to climb gently. Then you make a hard left turn and begin a much steeper climb up to a rocky ridge. Running along the top of the Ridge is a lot of fun and then you descend down to Terrace Pond itself and come out at the popular swimming spot. The run back sees some more ridge running and some descents requiring care and all fours. After this you come out onto a big gas line clearing and run/slide down this rocky slope. Entering the woods again, there is another beautiful section with more pine trees and several brooks to hop across rock-to-rock, before arriving back at the parking lot and getting the chance to decide whether to do it all again.