2019 Running Travels: Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

I saw this view of White’s Creek at the Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve in Accomack County, Virginia, on the Eastern Shore. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

When I know I’m going to have a day off to myself and don’t have any holiday plans, I start thinking about new places to run.

On Presidents Day this past Monday, I had off work. I thought it would be fun to go to Corner Bakery in Onancock, Virginia, for some doughnuts, but since that is a little more than an hour drive away, I figured I would get a run in somewhere new while making the trip.

Here’s a view of the grassy trails at Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve from one of the mowed circle areas. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I’ve already run in Onancock, both for the Run for the Animals and on a previous run for doughnuts, so I looked for somewhere new that was still in the same general direction.

I found the Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve, which was about 20 minutes from Onancock. The preserve has a Parksley address, but it actually looks closer to the community of Metompkin.

I thought I’d seen that there were two miles of trails there, but I might have mistaken that for seeing that there were two trails there, because now I can’t find that. However, I found three trails there, which were all relatively short.

Here’s a view from the 0.25-mile trail at Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I wanted to run five miles, which I did, so I repeated trails at the preserve. I parked in the small parking lot on Baker Road. There was a trail that went straight ahead which was just a little more than 0.4 miles one-way, a trail that jutted off from that one and ended back at the parking lot that was just less than 0.6 miles one-way, and another trail that was 0.25 miles out one-way.

The trails were grass trails that were just mowed down. The terrain was a little different than what I’m used to, and I tried to be careful about my feet, since they could sink a little bit into the ground. With the first trail, I came to a large circle in the trail and continued for just about 0.03 miles more before it was too muddy to continue. Ahead was Gargathy Bay.

I took a selfie after my run at Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve.

The other trail had some really nice views of White’s Creek. I also saw a little path down to a scenic view that I went down near the end of my run.

It was very quiet. I did not see a single other person as I traveled these paths, and there were no other cars that were parked there when I arrived or when I left. I also had driven down a few back roads from Route 13 to get there.

Here’s another view from the preserve — from where I took the little path. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

These items were on the side of a building by the entrance to the preserve.

I also thought it was interesting that there were some artifact-like items on the side of a building near the parking lot. There was also a duck decoy on the ground. I didn’t touch anything, but I thought it was interesting that these items were here.

It was a nice day, and I ran in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt.

Once I finished the run, I drove to Onancock for a half-dozen doughnuts at Corner Bakery (which I shared with my boyfriend later) and had lunch at Janet’s Cafe before heading home.

Learn more about Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve here.


If you haven’t tried a doughnut from Corner Bakery in Onancock, you need to!

I always enjoy exploring new places. I’ve compiled links to posts about various scenic runs I’ve completed on my blog here. Any other places I should be sure to explore soon? It’s more likely I will get there if the locations are in the Delmarva region, but feel free to suggest anything!


I had to get a selfie with my doughnut! Corner Bakery is in the background.

Like She Runs by the Seashore on Facebook here.

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