Location: Whiting Road Nature Preserve (WRNP)
Distance: 3.1 mi/5k
Route Name: Dizzy Nickel
Difficulty: Medium Hard
Trails Used: Blue, Orange, Red, Yellow
This is my new favorite route in WRNP. It really displays the beauty of what WRNP has to offer in its different types of scenery. Ever since I've started running at WRNP I've always wanted to find a good 5k route, more or less as a litmus test to how my running is. Well the great news is that I've finally found one. The bad news is that I don't really feel as though it's a good litmus test due to the number of relatively steep grades on the route. I've listed this route as being Medium Hard, but the fact of the matter is that it is probably the hardest route that I will be able to make in WRNP in terms of technicality and grade. Nonetheless, the route is a 5k which is something I've been attempting to achieve for a while within the one preserve and it's dizzy either because it leads you in a bunch of circles or because you will be dizzy after you're done running it. You decide. One last thing I will say about the route is that it is probably the best cross section of all of the trails available in the preserve.
The route starts by heading W out of the parking lot on the blue trail. This is a relatively flat stretch and continues to be flat until you encounter the orange trail. Continue W (strait) on the orange trail, you will quickly head down a grade and over a boardwalk. You will eventually curve to the left (S) and go over a few rollers, back into the woods and then you enter the field. Once in the field you will curve again to the left and around until you are heading generally N. Continue on the orange trail until you encounter the red trail. The red trail will continue N while the orange trail turns sharply right to the E. Follow the red trail. You will run the length of the red trail, going over many steep grades, roots and a few boardwalks eventually going through the corner of a field and ending at the junction of the blue, red and yellow trails. At this point you will want to take a sharp right W on the yellow trail. After about 100 ft the trail takes a steep dip down and then continues down into the valley. After a quick trip through the valley the trail goes up a very steep grade (probably the steepest grade on the run) and on out to the blue trail. The only catch here is that there is a junction where the yellow trail goes to the left and there is an unmarked trail that goes off to the right that ends up joining up with the orange trail (do not take this!). Upon reaching the blue trail make a left heading N until you arrive back at the junction with the red, yellow and blue trails, make a right heading E to continue on the blue trail and run the final 0.3 mi out.