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796 Cross Country Course
Cedars of Lebanon
State Park

Entering the fields on the back half of the running course

Last week I visited Cedars of Lebanon State Park, twice. I was collecting data for a map of a new cross country course in the Park. The course is part of a program to promote middle school fitness by encouraging running.

On Tuesday, I met with Nancy, Laura, Carlos, and Phillip in the afternoon for a walk of the new path. Carlos and his group of elite volunteers had been working hard making the course. In other words, they made a 2 mile path suitable for a cross country run through the Park.

With GPS units and a distance wheel, we walked the path. Laura carefully measured the trail as Carlos explained the route. It combined old farms roads, horse paths, swaths mowed through the fields, and trails through forested areas.

As we crossed the finish line, Laura reported that we were about 200 feet short! Rats! We had to add the short distance to the course to make it officially 2 miles long, Carlos would have it no other way!

The first trip to the Park was successful, but as I sat at home at my little map makers desk, I knew that I was going to have to return. There were a few small things that left me guessing. Saturday, I returned.

walkers on the course

It was a great morning, and I was able to solve all my mapping problems before noon. I also walked and measured the course, again. While walking to my delight two hikers were also walking the course in front of me. When I caught up with them, they told me they were just walking around and began following the markers. I told them about the new course. They asked about the course's distance and then decided to continue. I left them, but looked over my shoulder a few times to make sure they were still following the path.

marker for the course

A few notes ...

The course begins near the Nature Center off Cedar Forest Road. From the parking area in front of the Nature Center go around the right side of the Nature Center following signs to Jackson Cave. Cross a bridge and turn left (the cave is to the right) following a drainage to a clearing. The course starts at the campfire circle in the clearing.

Water and restrooms are available near the Nature Center.

Running markers mark the path.

The two hikers I met on the course seemed to have no trouble following the course.

At the start the course goes to the left, and makes a bit of a distance correcting side trip before returning to the straight and narrow.

Stay on the path. When the paths enters the forested section do not short cut. Carlos spent extra time making the curves (Carlos' Curves). They are fun to run.

The halfway point in just before reaching the vacant house. The path goes around the house.

Red tailed hawks patrol the second set of woods you enter. We were able to spot their nest.

Coming out of the woods is a great view!

The first run on the course is this Thursday (weather permitting).

Thanks for all the hard work from Carlos and his volunteers.

I have not run the course yet, but it looked to be fun. Even if you are not a middle school cross country star, it would be a good hike, walk, or run. Plan on giving the new trail a bit of your time. You'll enjoy it.


Happy Cedars Cross Country trails


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