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Nestled between Raleigh and Durham, William B.
Umstead State Park is a trail running paradise hidden within a concrete jungle.
Spread over 5,500 acres, this well-maintained spider web of trails includes beautiful lakeside views, quiet creeks, and diverse new-growth forests.
It is a local favorite and *the* hub for trail running in the area. [According to Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_B._Umstead_State_Park), the land has long been "untamed" and wild, with bison, elk, bobcats, and wolves dominating the forests before logging and agriculture took root.
"Poor cultivation practices and one-crop production [however] led to depletion and erosion of the soil." Some farmers even attempted "to grow cotton in worn-out soil," which ultimately proved to be futile. The park's claim to fame in the trail running world is largely due to two of its annual trail races, the [Umstead 100](http://www.umstead100.org/) and [Umstead Trail Marathon](https://www.umsteadmarathon.com/).
This route *roughly* follows the same course as the marathon route, which is run as an out-and-back from Lake Sycamore.
This version begins and ends at the visitor center instead, where restrooms and water are available year-round. What makes Umstead great is the number of interconnecting trails that offer options to shorten or lengthen your run.
If 12 miles seems a bit daunting, don't hesitate to change it up or explore a side trail that invokes your curiosity.