Race to Georgia State Parks

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 09:00

On your mark, get set, go! — to Georgia State Parks for challenging and scenic race courses.

Whether a trail runner, a mountain biker or a triathlete, Georgia State Parks has the terrain, the technicality, and the stunning beauty that draws thousands of racers to courses staged in the parks each year.

When all the training is done, make race morning easier by staying overnight at state park cabins, campgrounds or yurts. The ease of waking up and walking to the starting line without long drives and parking pains make Georgia State Parks’ accommodations worth it. Then, spend the day recovering, renting boards to paddle the lakes and rivers, taking an easy stroll in the woods, and enjoying nature.
Plan out a race schedule that promises to be the best with this list of trail races, triathlons and mountain bike races at www.GaStateParks.org.

For Trail Runners

Iron Hill 7.5-mile and 3.8-mile Trail Race
Red Top Mountain State Park, Acworth
April 1, 2017
The first annual Iron Hill Trail race at Red Top Mountain State Park takes trail runners on single and double-track for an off-road running experience. The course is beautiful and offers something for every runner truly wishing to ditch the city.

Victoria Bryant State Park 5k or 10k Trail Race
Victoria Bryant State Park, Royston
April 22, 2017
Nestled in the woods of Northeast Georgia lies Victoria Bryant State Park, a true gem. Trail runners tackle a well-groomed system of rocky trails and beautiful scenery. Descend into the woods as participants race by ponds, bridges and rolling hills.

SweetH20 50k
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
April 29, 2017
In the 11th annual event, SweetH20 has been named one of the top 10 toughest 50K's in the country by Blue Ridge Outdoors. The trails in Sweetwater Creek State Park offer winding, moderately difficult trails with creek crossings in and around the park, following the lovely rapids of Sweetwater Creek and venturing past Civil War-era textile mill ruins.

Hot To Trot
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
July 16, 2017
At the Hot to Trot 8-Hour Race, the goal is to provide the race as advertised. As the name implies, participants can count on temperatures in the 90 degrees. The loop course is 1.137769 miles long on trails, and runners complete as many loops as they can during the 8-hour time limit.

Red Top Roaster 9.9-mile or 3.1-mile Trail Race
Red Top Mountain State Park, Acworth
July 29, 2017
Named for the hot temperatures in July, the Red Top Roaster is one of the most popular races at Red Top Mountain State Park. The terrain utilizes most of the park’s trails including the Sweet Gum Trail, Homestead Trail, Iron Hill Trail, Campground Trail and Visitor Center Loop Trail. The course is made up of rolling hills and double track with minimal rocks and roots, perfect for a first trail race.

Yeti Snakebite 50/50
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
August 27, 2017
Trail runners can race either the 11-miler or the 50k, which will be a figure-8 course. The race starts at dusk and competitors navigate the trails of Sweetwater Creek State Park by night.

Fort Yargo State Park 8.75 or 3.1 mile Trail Race
Fort Yargo State Park, Winder
October 14, 2017
The trail race starts in the powerline alley before dipping into the woods. Fort Yargo’s trails are known to mountain bikers, which means trail runners will find a mixture of smooth, easy-to-navigate singletrack along with some technical rocky and rooted sections.

Chattanooga 50-mile, 100-mile and 100-mile 8-person Relay
Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn
December 1-2, 2017
Trail runners journey all the trails within Cloudland Canyon State Park in the first-annual Chattanooga 100-mile race. The course features two 50-mile loops where runners will pass by waterfalls, run along ridgeline and rim trails and see expansive views of the canyon and surrounding areas.

Pine Mountain Trail Run
F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain
December 3, 2017
First started in November of 1980, this 46-mile trail race on the beautiful Pine Mountain Trail system of F.D. Roosevelt State Park is the oldest ultra-marathon in the state! The trail follows the ridge line, going up and over rocky, singletrack trails. Participants can expect to find both pine and hardwood forests, rock outcroppings, waterfalls and beaver ponds.

Helen Holiday Half Marathon/10k
Unicoi State Park, Helen
December 16, 2017
One of the most festive trail races, runners start and end in Unicoi State Park, looping through the park’s trails and running through downtown Helen’s Main Street. Runners are encouraged to dress in costumes, and a party at the finish line greets participants with a DJ and Santa Clause.

For Triathletes

Xterra Fort Yargo Off-Road Triathlon
Fort Yargo State Park, Winder
April 29, 2017
Fort Yargo State Park makes a perfect venue for off-road triathlons with its superb mountain bike and running trails. Participants start with a ½ mile lake swim, followed by a 10-mile loop on the park’s popular mountain bike trail. The 5-mile run course will use parts of the mountain bike course plus some dirt road power line sections.

Sweetwater Creek State Park Triathlon, Duathlon and 5k Fun Run
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
June 4, 2017
The 23rd annual Sweetwater Creek State Park race is perfect for a beginner triathlon. The race starts with a 200-yard swim in the George Sparks Reservoir, followed by a 10 mile and finishing with a 5K run through a wooded trail. The Duathlon will begin on the trail, with the 5K run, followed by the 10 miles asphalt bike ride and finishing with a 5K run on the trail. 

Tri the Parks – Mistletoe State Park
Mistletoe State Park, Appling
July 15, 2017
The Mistletoe State Park race is part of the Tri the Parks series. Participants will swim 600 meters in Clarks Hill Lake, bike 11.8 miles outside of the park over rolling hiss and run a hilly 5k through the park’s roads. The race also features a duathlon and aqua bike option.

Tri the Parks- Richard B. Russell State Park
Richard B. Russell State Park, Elberton
July 29, 2017
Athletes swim 1,500 meters in Lake Russell, then leave the park to ride a 22-mile lollipop loop around Elberton, followed by a 6.2-mile run through the park’s rolling hills. The race has a duathlon and aqua bike option.

Georgia Veterans Triathlon
Georgia Veterans State Park, Cordele
August 12, 2017
The Georgia Veterans Triathlon is one of the best-kept secrets for those who want to race on a fast and very flat course. The sprint triathlon is a 400-yard swim, 13.6-mile bike and 5k run. Racers swim in Lake Blackshear parallel to the shore, bike a loop around Cordele, and run a flat and fast 5k through the park.

Tugaloo Triathlon
Tugaloo State Park, Lavonia
September 9, 2017
This Olympic distance triathlon consists of a 1.5K swim, a 42k bike and a 10k run throughout Tugaloo State Park. Racers will swim in Lake Hartwell, bike through the rolling hills of Hart County and run a relatively flat road that loops throughout the park. 

For Mountain Bikers

Dirty Spokes 3-hour/6-hour Mountain Bike Race
Fort Yargo State Park, Winder
May 13, 2017
The 12th annual Dirty Spokes Fort Yargo State Park Endurance Mountain Bike Race features fast, flowing singletrack. Mountain bikers will loop around the lake, tackling some of the park’s most challenging sections of trail including Monster Mile. Horseshoe Drop and Deadwood Hill. The course was designed so that hopeful racers can finish each loop within the hour.