August 11, 2020
Gorgeous Trail Run Trail Review
Gorgeous Trail Run Trail Review
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The New River Gorgeous Trail Run at ACE Adventure Resort is happening Saturday, August 22nd. Choose between three different race options including a half marathon, 10K run, or 5-mile mountain hike. These beautiful race routes will take you into the New River Gorge past scenic overlooks, cascading waterfalls, and abandoned coal towns. Folks who have participated in this run tell us it one of their favorites and return year after year while first-timers are certain to fall in love with these West Virginia trails. Run wild with us this summer and let’s have some fun on the trails!
The run will kick off with a rolling start to ensure proper social distancing at Wonderland Waterpark. Half marathoners, 10K runners, and hikers will be following the same exact route at the start. A nice open road section allows the group to thin out a little bit before dropping into the woods and following the Oather Trail along the rim of Arbuckle Creek Canyon. This nice one-mile trail runs along the base of a spectacular sandstone cliff taking racers out to the rim of the New River Gorge. Here, runners are treated with magnificent views of the New River along with the town of Thurmond. Many participants can’t help but stop here to snap a quick selfie on the deck before continuing along the racecourse. Concho overlook is also the location for your first water station.
Leaving the Concho Overlook, racers will dip back into the woods and climb a short elevation change to get to the Thurmond Mountain Trail at the 2-mile mark. Heading down this 2.5-mile trail takes participants around Thurmond Mountain, allowing for a good time through this section. Walkers will bypass this section of the course by following a marked cutoff trail.
After hydrating at your second water station and making it to the 4.5-mile point, you are ready to head down onto the Froghopper Trail. About 1 mile into this section you will run past the aqua blue pond. This pond’s coloring is due to limestone in the water and is a unique marker during the race. Here, our 10K runners will break off the main trail and make their final .75-mile push downhill to the finish. The half-marathoners and walkers will continue down Froghopper Trail where you will encounter many short ups and downs as you traverse the south side of Wonderland Mountain.
The third water station will be found just past the half marathon 7-mile marker where the walkers will follow the paved road down the mountain and to the finish line while half marathoners will carry on to the Froghopper North Trail. Here, racers will follow a bench cut into the steep hillside along the top of Wonderland Mountain. Moving along, you will pop out into the paintball field woods course and up a short hill to the disc golf course. Here, you will make your away across the open grass field to Buck Trail taking runners back into the woods. Once back in the woods you will begin losing elevation as you drop halfway into the New River Gorge.
Just one-half mile down Buck Trail racers will turn onto Vulture’s Roost Trail. Here you will be treated to a phenomenal view of the forest as you run along the top of a 50-foot cliff hence the name Vulture’s Roost. The next few miles of the course are hands down the most beautiful part of the course as you wind your way through the rhododendron thickets and along the cliff-line that defines the rim of the New River Gorge. Half marathoners will hit the fourth water station amongst this incredible section of the race route.
Once you hit the gravel road you can sprint down to the next trail intersection at Erskine Trail and onto some electrifying vistas into the New River Gorge. Keep your eyes peeled, as you will be running right past the old mine entrances to the Erskine coal mine that operated from 1890 – 1936. The trail again stays fairly flat as you follow the same elevation contour through the gorge and into the canyon of Arbuckle Creek. Here, participants will face the final push in this mountain challenge as they climb up Arbuckle Creek past waterfalls and tumbling whitewater. Once you hit the road it is only a short .25-mile sprint to the finish.
Cool off by jumping into the lake, plunging down the slide, or blob your running partner sky high! All finishers will receive a 2020 New River Gorgeous Trail Run race medal, plus a free burrito buffet is provided for all runners along with cash prizes for the overall winners of the half marathon and 10K run. Stick around and have dinner, have some drinks at The Lost Paddle, and take advantage of the free Saturday night camping for all racers. Get signed up now and run wild with ACE Adventure Resort on August 22 nd.
Chris Colin is a raft guide, whitewater kayaker, active caver, and as Special Events Coordinator at ACE he manages, promotes, and executes special events like the Mountain Music Festival.