Add chairs to the list of what trail runners stumble upon.  

By chairs, I mean the relaxing kind, the back-porch-on-a-Sunday-evening kind in which slowing down is possible. 

Last summer, some gracious soul(s) left two of these chairs overlooking Lake Brandt just steps away from the City of Greensboro’s Palmetto Trail. I had made my run beginning on the Nat Greene Trail, connecting to the paved portion of the Atlantic and Yadkin (A&Y) Greenway and then to the end of the Palmetto. 

 Walking back along the Palmetto felt like only a slight run recovery. It was hot, somehow muggy and dry at the same time, and I wondered at how challenging the distance had been. 

 Then, I spied those chairs. 

 The stillness and relative silence while sitting there felt like a true rest – rare while we’re busy with work, family, deadlines, driving, endless social media scrolling, etc. 

chairs overlooking lake brandt
Bless whoever left these chairs steps away from the City of Greensboro’s Palmetto Trail overlooking Lake Brandt. A tired trail runner gives thanks.

 And, like a good Millennial, I took a photo with my iPhone for an Instagram post, hence why you have the photo above. 

 The experience made me think of everything on the list of what trail runners come across: 

 Jutting roots and rocks. 

Spider webs. 


Occasional snake. 

Deer behind the trees. 

A wild turkey journeying alone. 

Once: a roughly foot-tall white mushroom shaped like the Holy Grail. 

Entire trails can feel like unique finds when you just start running them one day. Among the many differences between trail running and road running is the feeling of arrival (hopefully not just your foot arriving at a thick tree root). Trail running feels like arriving a something new over and over again. The bends, hills, holes and sticks constantly present something fresh to process mentally and physically. Placement of each stride matters. 

For me, running on the street or track for however long is linear. Your arrival in this sense is at the end of the 5K or half-marathon – the triumphant end point you’ve been daydreaming about for all those miles. It is beneficial to not dwell on each stride. 

Whatever your preference is, I highly suggest that stretch of interconnected trails in Greensboro that includes the Nat Greene Trail, Palmetto Trail and the A&Y Greenway. The latter is paved along the Lake Brandt portion, so if that’s your flavor, you get the lake and wooded views all on a smooth surface. If you’re just getting into trail running or looking for a highly accessible trail running experience, the stretch I outline is a perfect four miles or so. I love a good long drive to a remote mountain trail as much as the next person, but more often I need to hit a trail on the same Saturday filled with my boys’ soccer games, mowing the yard, and grilling dinner. 

The City of Greensboro has a webpage detailing the trails if you want to plan your visit: Hiking Trails | Greensboro, NC (  

I recommend parking at the Lake Brandt Marina (5945 Lake Brandt Road) to start at the Nat Greene Trail or start at the other end by parking in a small lot off Old Battleground Road and beginning down the Palmetto. 

Enjoy the time if you make your way out there. The chairs are no longer in the same spot, but it will be interesting to see what else you stumble upon. 


As Assistant Director of Regional Planning at the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, I get to collaborate with the entire host of stakeholders who develop and sustain the Triad's collective outdoor recreation economy. You'll often find me and my two young boys on Greensboro's Nat Greene Trail. If they "beat me" by finishing the hike ahead of me, we have to get ice cream near the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. I've yet to finish a hike first.