Running the Lake Lasso

Of the various trail running routes my friends and I have traveled, there’s one that has seen more miles than any other.  We call it the Lake Lasso.  The route starts in Fulton County near the village of Knobsville, goes up and over Tuscarora mountain, around the lake at Cowans Gap State Park, and back to the starting point.  When you look at the route on the map, it’s obvious why it got the name.  The total distance is 9.7 to 9.9, depending on your GPS, and the elevation gain somewhere between 1700 and 1900 feet. The trail is mostly double track and not technical, but there are plenty of sustained uphill climbs to give you a good workout.  You’ll be rewarded with some scenic views on both sides of the mountain.

How to get to the starting point:

  • Take route 30 toward McConnellsburg, staying on the bypass until you reach the exit ramp to route 522.
  • Take 522 north (away from McConnellsburg) approximately 3.8 miles and then turn right on a dirt forestry road called Tailgate Road.  This road turns right just before Johnson Drive bears off to the right.
  • Follow tailgate road to the parking lot.

How to run the Lake Lasso:

  • From the parking lot, run on Tailgate Road toward the top of the mountain
  • A few hundred yards into the run you’ll reach a 4-way intersection.  Continue straight uphill.
  • Somewhere around seven or eight tenths of a mile, the road turns to the left and begins to follow the mountain to the north.
  • At around two miles, you’ll reach the intersection with Knobsville Road. Ahead of you will be a yellow gate.  Take a sharp right on Knobsville Road.
  • Proceed over the top of the mountain and down to Cowans Gap State Park, passing the scenic overlook on the way down.
  • When you reach the paved road at the south end of the lake, bear right and then take a left on Lakeside Trail just before the bridge.
  • Follow lakeside trail around the lake and then retrace the route back to the starting point.
  • If you record your run on Strava, it should recognize that you’ve run the Lake Lasso segment and allow you to see how you rank among others who have run the route.

Below is a video I made of my son and I running the course in December of 2019