It started out as a rugged, runnable trail in the Allegheny Mountains. But after about a mile, the terrain became more suited for hiking boots than running shoes. The path began at the Dan Inglass Overpass near Warm Springs and followed the ridge of Warm Springs Mountain for about 1.2 miles, reaching elevations of 3,290 feet.
While I doubled back on the out-and-back route so I could get in a little over three miles, I left out the most treacherous last bit the second time around.
The area is part of 9,000 acres acquired by The Nature Conservatory in 2002. AmeriCorps volunteers created the actual trail on 2004. The first part includes informational signs about the mountains and the plants. The final stretch includes views of the top of nearby smaller mountains.
Warm Springs is in Bath County. The county’s economy feeds off the Homestead, a 483-room resort that was built in 1766 and claims to have hosted 22 U.S. presidents. The complex now includes three championship golf courses, hills for skiing and snowboarding, and an ice skating rink.
I didn’t stay at the Homestead. Instead, I stayed in a small villa across the street from the Jefferson Pools. The pools became a popular destination starting in the mid 1750s. By the early 1800s they were attracting more than 6,000 visitors per year. Thomas Jefferson soaked there for three weeks in 1818 at the age of 75 to ease aching joints. I followed his lead a day after the run.
10 runs down, 124 to go.
View warm springs mountain in a larger map