2019 Running Travels: The trails of Tuckahoe State Park really are a treasure

Runners follow the blue blazes of the Tuckahoe Valley Trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The trails of Tuckahoe State Park seem to have it all — single track trails, a wider stretch of trail, hills and a water crossing.

I went to the Tuckahoe State Park trails for the first time on Saturday, July 13, for a Tuckahoe 25K training run. This new race, set for Nov. 2, sold out quickly once registration opened. I did not sign up because I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon the week before, but I am interested in volunteering — particularly after experiencing the trails and meeting some of the runners I hadn’t met yet.

I met my friends Jill and Michelle early in the morning, and we drove up together to Tuckahoe State Park, which is about an hour and 15 minutes from Salisbury. The park spans Queen Anne’s and Caroline counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Here’s a view of one of the single-track trails at Tuckahoe State Park. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

There was a large group of runners who participated in the 8 a.m. group run, which was hosted by the Centreville Crushers. There were plenty who came from Salisbury, in addition to more runners I hadn’t met.

We started the run from a trail entrance on Crouse Mill Road. It was near Lake Tuckahoe, but we were on the other side of the road from the lake, following blue blazes.

Runners cross a bridge during a recent Tuckahoe 25K training run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

There were single track trails and bridges as we started out. We were between two and three miles into the run when we came across the water crossing we’d learned about at the beginning.

There was a photo of someone at this water crossing on a previous run with the water looking pretty deep. However, the water wasn’t as high during our run — we did have to get into the water, but it was below the halfway point of my lower leg. One of the runners, my friend Joe, helped get us across the short crossing.

Here’s the water crossing. We came from the wooden boardwalk-like part to the spot from where the photo is being taken. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The large group split up into smaller groups, and I was with the last group when we came to a trail intersection and someone made a phone call to make sure we went the right way. Later in the run, on our way back, we ended up back at the same intersection, but we’d come from a different way (we were supposed to).

We came to a wide trail during the run, and the run path could probably be considered somewhat of a “lollipop” — we went out, did a loop, and went back the same way we went out.

Who would expect a hill like this on the Eastern Shore?! (Vanessa Junkin photo)

As we ran, I noticed plenty of other places to turn off onto different trails. The Tuckahoe State Park website says there are 20 miles of trails. I ran eight miles — I was at about 7.8 miles when we finished, so I had to end on a round number — but some of those were the same trails, so I didn’t run eight unique miles of trails. A trail map can be found here.

It definitely helped to go with a group that included people who were familiar with the area, because I feel like I could have easily gotten lost if I’d gone alone. However, the trails are marked with blazes, and I could have brought along a map or referenced it on my phone.

Here I am on the wider part of the trail.

When I returned to the starting point and ran my last 0.2, I was pleased to learn that a real bathroom (not a porta-potty) was close by — always good for runners! Depending on when you go, it might not be open, but I believe it opened at 10 a.m. from what others said.

Even though the park is located on the flat Eastern Shore, there were certainly hills to climb up and down — one in particular that I got a picture of that was really steep. I did not try for a fast pace, enjoying the run and stopping for photos. Plus, I was running on trails! I definitely felt like being in the woods helped with the temperature, though — I didn’t feel uncomfortably hot.

It was a lot of fun exploring this park and meeting some new friends, and I look forward to returning and checking out more of the trails!

Runners who came to the Tuckahoe 25K training run on July 13 pose for a photo.

I set a goal to travel to at least one new-to-me place for a run each month of 2019. Here are the other places I’ve traveled to for runs this year:

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3 thoughts on “2019 Running Travels: The trails of Tuckahoe State Park really are a treasure

  1. I would be afraid to go alone to a trail such as this…I have a horrible sense of direction and would probably go in and never find my way back out. With a group of fellow runners who knew where they were (and what they were doing), now I’d be allover that!

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