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Hikers and runners to celebrate National Trails Day on the Roan

Contributed Photo Runners in previous years enjoyed the challenges presented in a competitive trail run on the Roan in the 5-kilometer Diamond Dash.

Contributed Photo
Runners in previous years enjoyed the challenges presented in a competitive trail run on the Roan in the 5-kilometer Diamond Dash.


Everyone celebrates National Trails Day differently, but the staff at Roan Mountain State Park make it easy to celebrate together with guided nature hikes and the annual Diamond Dash 5K race.
On Saturday, June 4, adventurous runners are invited to the park to compete in the 5th annual Diamond Dash, a moderate trail run. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the race to follow at 9 a.m. Registration is $15.
Advance registration is possible by calling the park headquarters at 423-772-0190. Pre-registered runners will receive race day T-shirts.
Participants will meet at Picnic Shelter 3 in the RMSP Campground, and will depart on foot from there along the race course.
Park Ranger Meg Guy said the course is somewhat easier than in years past, but it is still a strenuous run geared towards adult runners with experience running on trails.
“The trail runs along our mountain bike trail Blue 2, so it’s a hilly, single track trail, but it’s not actually one of the most difficult,” Guy said. “This is the first year on this course and while it will be easier, it is still difficult.”
Runners will begin from the campground running through group camp, along the Riverside Trail, then along the picnic shelter access road and onto the 1.8-mile Blue 2 loop. Then they will return along the picnic shelter access road to the campground.
“The trail is in places paved, dirt and gravel with some flat, steep and rolling sections, but it is more forgiving than it has been in the past,” Guy said.
The race will be timed and male and female winners will receive prizes.
For families and those who are not enticed by a 3.1-mile trail run, Guy said the park is also hosting a .75-mile hike along the Doe River on the Tom Gray Trail at 11 a.m. This hike will be easier for those non-runners who still want to celebrate National Trail Days on the Roan with friends.
Aside from these two events, the park also has miles of trails for visitors to explore and appreciate the rare plant and animal species that thrive atop the Roan balds, along its river banks and throughout its forested areas.
For more information on RMSP events and hikes, visit www.tnstateparks.com/parks/about/roan-mountain or call headquarters at 423-772-0190.