Our run-away series takes the Williams Subaru ATC10K Outback out on amazing outdoor adventures within 2 hours of Charlotte to check out new running getaways.
Thermal Belt Rail Trail
First on the list – the gorgeous 13.5 mile Thermal Belt Rail Trail going through Forest City, Rutherfordton, and Spindale just about an hour west of 485. This one came highly recommended from several of the ATC10K Pacers! The 12′ wide paved path stays flat for the majority of it leading you through the foothills of NC. There are multiple parking areas along the route with restrooms, water fountains, and outdoor rec areas. You can branch off for food in Spindale with several restaurants just off the path, or head into downtown Forest City or Rutherfordton.
We’d suggest parking on the South end of the trail right near Forrest W Hunt Elementary School. You will be 2.5 miles from Forest City, 7 from Spindale, and 8.5 from Rutherfordton. Another option would be parking in downtown Spindale so your near restaurants and fun when you finish up!
Moses Cone Memorial Park
It’s time to head North to Moses Cone Memorial Park – our next “run-away” with Williams Subaru of Charlotte! Moses Cone hosts 25 miles of gravel trails throughout the 3,500 acres of breathtaking views. This one sits right at 2 hours from uptown CLT, but is worth the drive, especially in the summer being that it sits next to Blue Ridge Parkway just under 4,000ft keeping it rather cool for a morning jog. We suggest parking at Bass Lake and working your way up to Flat Top Manor and then onto Rich Mountain or the Flat Top Tower. It’s definitely hillier than the streets of Charlotte, but it’s never too steep and the scenery is worth every droplet of sweat.
Next up in our “run-away” series, we’re heading south on I-85 to Gaffney, SC to a little puddle called Lake Whelchel and the beautiful trail that encompasses it! This hour-ish drive takes you to a magical lake where life seems to slow down and the path never rises too fast. This trail has next to no roots and stays pretty calm as it rounds the shores allowing you to maintain pace for nearly 7 miles. There’s two parking spots on the dam (ATC10K Outback pictured there) as well as a parking lot at the boat launch that opens at 8am.
We’ve headed West and South, next we’re heading North or East – where do you think we need to check out? Let us know on Instagram or Facebook!