North Park Trail Runners
Glossary of terms
- Baker Ultra
A 50-mile race (solo or relay) on the Baker Trail, held every August, extremely popular among NPTR runners.
- Bathtub/Bathtub Trail
Why is it called the bathtub trail? Because there’s a bathtub on it! Why is there a bathtub? Does it matter? This is an unblazed trail between Pigeon and the Ice Rink.
Markings on trees or other structures indicating which way to go to follow a trail. North Park has over 40 miles of blazed trails: red, yellow, orange, green, purple and white.
- Blue Mist Trail
A mostly flat, double track trail at the end of Irwin Road. Rumored to be haunted. Best accessed from the spillway lot. Start at the spillway going away from the lake on Babcock Blvd, and turn left on Irwin Road. Follow the paved road for ½ mile, trail starts at the guard rail. From the spillway lot to the 2nd guardrail and back is 4 miles. You’ll also pass two trails on your left that climb up to the north ridge, where you can access the Red/Rachel Carson Trail.
The stone building at the edge of the lake, home of the restaurant OTB at the Bicycle Cafe as well as canoe/kayak rentals.
- Church lot
The large parking lot across from the church on Walter Road. Runs often start here, easy access to the orange and green trails. The shelter here is called Roosevelt.
The initials of David A. Dames, a beloved member of NPTR, perhaps best known for his love of the purple trail. Also for frequently reminding runners that “hills pay the bills” and to “treasure every run.”
- Devil’s Elbow
A pavilion near the south ridge off of Hemlock Drive, runs often start here.
- Dirt Monster
A 5-mile November race in North Park, mostly on white and white dot trails on the south ridge. Begins and ends near Grant shelter on Wildwood Road, across from Kool Cones.
- Druid Run.
Runs that begin ridiculously early in the morning, usually 5:15am. Typically 4-6 miles, fast-paced, unpredictable, with occasional forays onto trails that “used to be clearer.” Headlamps are necessary. These are secular runs that do not, in fact, contain any rituals, sacrifices or robes.
- Friday Morning Run
5-ish miles on Friday mornings. Start time varies based on season. At these group runs, there may be some separation as faster runners get out ahead. Lead runners stop at all trail intersections and/or about every mile and mingle until all runners have caught up, so no one is left behind.
- Frozen Goat
A winter NPTR event, with several different running routes available. Run one loop and receive a “Baby Goat” certificate; two loops - “Kid Goat;” three - “Mountain Goat,” four - “Frozen Goat!” Runners can also opt to run a 20+ mile around the park led by the NPTR Goat himself, Tim Flaherty.
- Gate to 8
A trail run in the Laurel Highlands, going from Ohiopyle to mile marker 8 and back. Scenic and difficult, abou 4400 feet of elevation gain in the 16 miles out and back.
Are we runners or swimmers? Possibly both. The Rachel Carson trail can be accessed at a trailhead by Goldfish Swim School in Wexford, near Whole Foods. Follow the yellow blazes on this mostly flat, double track trail to the McKinney Soccer Fields and into North Park.
- Green Mile Challenge
An NPTR event in September. Within the allotted time of 6 hours, how many loops of the 1.7 mile green trail can you do? One loop or 20? Registration is free, space is limited.
A pavilion near Pie Traynor field, runs often start here.
- Ice Rink
An outdoor skating rink. The second floor meeting space has been used for the Frozen Goat event in the winter.
- Lake Loop
Yes, trail runners sometimes run roads too. Loved by many, hated by others, this 5- mile scenic route around the lake has gentle rolling hills.
Several years ago, a landslide did severe damage on the north ridge, disrupting the red/blue trail and leaving many runners confused and disoriented. Trails in that area have now been fixed and rerouted. Many runners are still confused and disoriented, causing some to suspect voodoo or Muggle-repelling charms in the vicinity. Yes, also a classic Fleetwood Mac song.
- Latodami Nature Center
Latodami Nature Center covers approximately 250 acres and includes field, forest, pond, wetland and stream habitats with a series of nature trails.
- North Ridge
The area of the park between Pearce Mill Road and North Ridge Drive. The red trail winds all around the North Ridge, and the Rachel Carson trail runs up along the North Ridge as well.
A pavilion near the ice rink, runs often start here.
- Pie Traynor Field/Pie Traynor Loop
Pie Traynor Field is a baseball field near Harmar shelter on South Ridge Drive. The Pie Traynor Loop is a 1.6 mile one-way road loop that starts and ends by the field.
A pavilion at McKinney and Kummer roads, runs often start here. Limited parking, easy access to the orange trail.
Picking up litter while you run.
An unofficial run posted on the NPTR Facebook group that anyone can join. Suggested info to include: date, time, meeting place, route, distance, pace. Ie: “Tomorrow, 9am, meet at Harmar to run 4 easy miles on the white trails.”
- Rachel Carson Trail/RCT
A yellow blazed 46-mile spanning from Wexford to Harrison Hills, without about 10 miles running through North Park. Site of the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, a 35ish mile hike/run held every June (unless there’s a pandemic), known for its unpredictable twists and turns and many long, steep climbs.
- Relaxed Run
One of our most popular events, these Sunday runs are 3-4 miles at a relaxed pace, usually on some of the more mild trails without a ton of elevation. Great for beginners, or for a gentle recovery run after a long Saturday.
The shelter by the large parking lot across from the church on Walter Road. Runs often start here, also known as the Church Lot.
- Sand pile
An unexpected geological feature on the South Ridge.
- Sexy pace
Slow. Sexy pace means you are looking your best because you aren't overexerting. A sexy pace run is slow, casual, conversational, and likely stopping for photos along the way.
- Skyline Trail
A beautiful trail around an open field above Latodami Nature Center. Can be accessed by climbing trails from Latodami or Reynolds Road.
- South Ridge
The area near the pool and Pie Traynor loop. The white trail and white dot trails run all over the South Ridge, and the Rachel Carson trail runs across the South Ridge too.
Where the lake water spills out into the stream below, at the intersection of Pearce Mill Road and Babcock Boulevard. Runs often start from the spillway parking lot, where the LLBean trailer is.
A highly addictive social app for tracking and sharing fitness activities.
- Strava segment
A section of a trail or road, designated by a runner (or cyclist), where times can be compared. Compete against yourself to get a PR (personal record), or others to get on the overall leaderboard.
- Super Druid Run
See Druid run - but these start even earlier, like 4:45am. WHY?!
- Three Amigos
Three long-time NPTR members who refer to themselves as the Three Amigos. Have been known to sing at NPTR events. The Three Amigos are: David Dames (see: DAD above), Tim Flaherty and Mark Knapp.
- Thursday Night Run
4-6 miles at 6:30pm on Thursday evenings. Depending on time of year, headlamps may be required. Often run straight through without breaks, these runs are usually fast-paced, but all runners are welcome. Many people linger and socialize after the run.
- Tuesday Trail Trotters
4-5 miles on Tuesday mornings; all paces welcome. At these group runs, there may be some separation as faster runners get out ahead. Lead runners stop at all trail intersections and/or about every mile and mingle until all runners have caught up, so no one is left behind.
- Winter Fells
A 12-mile loop around North Park, featuring five big climbs and a number of other little ones, for about 1700 feet of elevation gain. Starts and ends at the spillway.
A pavilion on the north ridge, runs often start here. Limited parking, not accessible by car in the winter.
A pavilion on the north ridge, runs often start here. Not accessible by car in the winter.