Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Running routes in Davidson

We're frequently asked about good running routes in Davidson. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Beginner's Loop. This is a great 2.5-mile run, with one significant hill. This course also previews a portion of the route for many 5K races held in Davidson.

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  • Start at the CVS on Main Street in downtown Davidson. Head south (away from the college) on South Street (to the left of the Flatiron Grill). Continue about 0.7 miles, past Davidson Elementary. 
  • Turn Left onto a paved greenway just before you get to the covered bridge. 
  • At Mile 1.24, Turn Right onto Avinger Lane and head up the hill. This is a good place to take a walk break if you need it. 
  • At Mile 1.57, Turn Left onto Pine Road and continue up a gradual hill.
  • At Mile 1.85, Turn Left onto Lorimer Road.
  • At Mile 2.05, Turn Left on Thompson St but make an immediate Right Turn to stay on Lorimer. Be prepared for some rolling hills.
  • At Mile 2.38, Turn Left onto Chairman Blake Lane and sprint up the hill to the finish at Main Street!
  • Head across the street to Summit Coffee for a much-deserved refreshment.

2. The DART Loop. The one that made us famous. This is a lovely 6.38-mile run, with some significant hills, but nothing extraordinary. Join the DART group for this run every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 6, or run it on your own anytime.

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  • Start at the CVS on Main Street in downtown Davidson. Head south (away from the college) on South Street (to the left of the Flatiron Grill). Continue about 0.7 miles, past Davidson Elementary. 
  • Turn Left onto a paved greenway just before you get to the covered bridge. 
  • At Mile 1.24, Turn Right onto Avinger Lane and run up the hill. 
  • At Mile 1.57, Turn Right onto Pine Road. Continue almost to the end of the road.
  • At Mile 2, Turn Left onto Patrick Johnson Lane. Continue down a steep hill.
  • At Mile 2.23, Turn Right onto Hudson Pl. Stay to the right as Hudson loops around several houses. 
  • At Mile 2.59, Turn Left onto Samuel Spencer Parkway. This will complete the small loop and return you to Hudson. Stay right.
  • At Mile 2.93, Turn Right onto a greenway and continue for .75 miles until you reach the next road.
  • At Mile 3.69, Turn Left onto Robert Walker Drive and run up a gradual hill.
  • At Mile 3.96, you will reach Concord Road, a fairly busy highway. Cross the road and Turn Left onto a broad paved path that parallels Concord, going gradually uphill.
  • At Mile 4.2, cross Concord Road and stay on the path. You will pass a roundabout and head back into town. Some gradual uphills will give you a workout before your final descent into town.
  • At Mile 6.3, Turn Left onto Main Street. Make your final sprint to the CVS! You're finished!
  • Head across the street to Summit Coffee for a much-deserved refreshment.

3. The Abbreviated DART loop. If you're not feeling up for the full 6.38 miler, try this 4-mile version.


  • Start at the CVS on Main Street in downtown Davidson. Head south (away from the college) on South Street (to the left of the Flatiron Grill). Continue about 0.7 miles, past Davidson Elementary. 
  • Turn Left onto a paved greenway just before you get to the covered bridge. 
  • At Mile 1.24, Turn Right onto Avinger Lane and run up the hill. 
  • At Mile 1.57, Turn Right onto Pine Road. Continue almost to the end of the road.
  • At Mile 2, Turn Left onto Patrick Johnson Lane. Continue down a steep hill.
  • At Mile 2.23, Turn Left onto Hudson Pl.
  • At Mile 2.3, Turn Left onto Kimberly Road. Continue up the hill.
  • At Mile 2.58, Turn Left onto Concord Road. You'll get a quick breather before a gradual uphill, then descend back into town.
  • At Mile 3.95, Turn Left onto Main Street. Make your final sprint to the CVS! You're finished!
  • Head across the street to Ben & Jerry's for a much-deserved ice-cream cone.
4. The Davidson College Trail 5K. This is a well-marked, wide trail run used by the Davidson Track and Cross Country teams. Once you find the trail entrance as described below, if you carefully follow the 5K signs, you should be led through the route. We provide some additional description and landmarks below.

The run starts at the northeast corner of the Baker parking lot -- get there by going 0.3 miles on Concord Road from Main Street and turning left on Baker Dr. (there is a small sign indicating this is an entrance to the college), heading down to the far side of the lot where a paved path heads behind the basketball stadium.

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  • Start your run by heading northeast up the concrete path towards the football practice field behind the basketball stadium. Run the length of the field to your right and look for the entrance to the trails, marked with a sign and a map.
  • At Mile 0.13, enter the trails and head downhill
  • At Mile 0.22, there is a fork in the trail. Stay Left. Run down a steep hill and cross a bridge. Head uphill.
  • At Mile 0.37, there is another fork. Turn Right. Follow the trail into the woods and then into an open meadow under some power lines. (If you arrive at a soccer field, you've gone the wrong way!)
  • At Mile 0.85, Turn Right to stay on the main trail as a rough trail heads up a steep hill to the left.
  • At Mile 0.98, Turn Right at the main junction. You will pass the 1-mile marker for the 5K route shortly after this turn. The trail will then wind through woods.
  • At Mile 1.58, Turn Left to stay on the 5K route. The 8K route splits off to the right at this point.
  • At Mile 1.67, you'll reach another junction. Turn Left to stay on the 5K route.
  • At Mile 1.96, Turn Left at a large warehouse to stay on the 5K route. You'll head downhill and soon pass the 2-mile marker for the 5K route.
  • At Mile 2.1, you'll arrive back at the main junction. Stay Right to continue on the 5K route, while the second loop of the 8K route turns left.
  • At Mile 2.3, Turn Left to stay on the main trail, avoiding the rough trail that heads up a steep hill.
  • At Mile 2.7, Turn Left at the T-junction to stay on the main trail. Head downhill, across the bridge, and up a steep hill.
  • At Mile 2.87, Stay Right as the main trail continues uphill to the football field.
  • At Mile 2.95, emerge onto the field, cross it, and run back down the concrete path to the parking lot. You're finished!
  • Head back into town to Summit Coffee for a much-deserved refreshment.
5.  Fleet Feet Out-and-Back.  This is a straightforward 10-mile out-and-back from CVS in downtown Davidson to the Fleet Feet store in Birkdale Village.  It utilizes the new McDowell Creek Greenway Trail which runs north-south between Westmoreland Rd. in Cornelius to Highway 73 in Huntersville.  Although it's not a hard run we'd give it a "B" rating in terms of difficulty, primarily because there are incomplete sidewalks and a short bridge crossing over I-77.

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  • Start at the CVS on Main Street in downtown Davidson. Head south (away from the college) on South Street (to the left of the Flatiron Grill). Continue about 0.7 miles, past Davidson Elementary.
  • At Mile .79, just after crossing the covered wooden bridge into the Antiquity subdivision, Turn Right onto Old Canal St.
  • At Mile 1.25, Old Canal St. turns into E. Catawba Ave.  Continue up to the railroad crossing and Turn Left onto Main St./Hwy 115.  There is a sidewalk on the west side.
  • At Mile 1.85, Turn Right onto Washam Potts Rd.
  • At Mile 2.94, Turn Right onto Westmoreland Rd.
  • At Mile 3.19, cross Statesville Rd./Hwy 21.  There is no crosswalk, so be careful.
  • At Mile 3.45, cross over I-77.  There isn't a sidewalk but the sides are wide.  Watch for cars!
  • At Mile 3.6, enter the McDowell Creek Greenway by Turning Left just after crossing I-77.
  • Take the Greenway south.  Bear left at the two right-hand ramps.
  • At Mile 4.94, go under the wooden pedestrian bridge then Turn Right and up the ramp to the Fleet Feet parking lot.
  • Drop by Fleet Feet and say howdy.  During store hours they offer cold water; otherwise, you can visit the spigot on the outside of the building.
  • Retrace your route for the return to Davidson.  Stop by Summit Coffee for a much-deserved refreshment.
6.  Davidson Lands Conservancy's 10k Route.   This is the route of Davidson Lands Conservancy's annual Run For Green 10k.  (There is also a 5k as well as a half marathon.)  It utilizes much of the greenway, including the seldom-used south spur.
  • Head south (away from the college) on South Street (to the left of the Flatiron Grill). Continue about 0.7 miles, past Davidson Elementary. 
  • Turn Left onto a paved greenway just before you get to the covered bridge.
  • At Mile 1.24, Turn Right onto Avinger Lane and run up the hill. 
  • At Mile 1.57, Turn Right onto Pine Road. Continue almost to the end of the road.
  • At Mile 2, Turn Left onto Patrick Johnson Lane. Continue down a steep hill and Turn Left onto Hudson Place.
  • At Mile 2.15, Turn Right onto the greenway and continue for .75 miles until you reach the next road, which is Robert Walker Dr.  Go across Robert Walker Dr. (watching out for traffic).
  • Continue on the greenway until its terminus at Mile 3.4.  There is a yellow metal pole in the middle of the greenway, which ends at Davidson-Concord Rd.
  • Turn around and head back on the greenway.  At Mile 3.9 go back across Robert Walker Dr.
  • At Mile 4.6, Turn Left onto Hudson Place.
  • Quickly Turn Right onto Patrick Johnson Lane and climb up, up, up.
  • At Mile 4.9, Turn Right onto Pine Rd.
  • Take Pine Rd. past Avinger Lane and toward Davidson-Concord Rd.  Turn Left onto Lorimer Rd. at Mile 5.6
  • Continue on Lorimer Rd. all the way to the finish, which is behind the Davidson Public Library.  The finish line is across from the book drop.
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Here is a link to the official route, along with those of the 5k and half marathon.

7.  Abersham.  A running location that's out in the country but still less than four miles from downtown Davidson, the Abersham subdivision is the place to get your hill workouts done.  It's a long story, but Abersham was planned as a development of $1 million+ homes that has fallen into foreclosure.  Fortunately for us runners the roads and greenways were put into place before bad times arose.


To get to Abersham from downtown Davidson take Davidson-Concord Rd. and turn left onto Grey Rd. Grey turns into Greystone Rd. and veers right, merging with Shearer Rd.  The main entrance is on the right, and there is a small parking lot inside.  It's important to note that there is only one house in Abersham, and it might not be occupied.  Therefore, stow and lock all valuables in your car.  There are no facilities at Abersham, so be sure to bring water and foodstuff.  No bathrooms, either.  Finally, bring a friend and/or phone.

Once you get into Abersham you can run either clockwise or counter-clockwise and you will be assured of some long, steep hills.  There is a large map near the parking lot.

Example of a clockwise run.
There are a couple of spots where you will have to step over low-hanging steel braided ropes (placed there to keep vehicles out), but otherwise it's completely runnable.  Odds are you won't see another soul, but you may see some interesting wildlife.

Although there are no paths or greenways leading to Abersham from Davidson, one can run Grey Rd., but that can be a little tricky, and it's a topic for another entry.

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