The Barkcamp Race — Barkcamp State Park, Ohio

The Barkcamp Race in southeast Ohio is a small but fantastically run event.

Running a 13.1-mile course throughout Barkcamp State Park, the event features three events on the trail and three on the road. But, beyond that, you’re guaranteed a fantastic time and friendly community throughout it all.

Here’s a quick rundown of the Barkcamp State Park Race (and how you can run it!).

But, first, here are three reasons you should run The Barkcamp Race.

3 reasons you should run The Barkcamp Race

There are plenty of reasons to enjoy this event, but I’ll give you 3 to keep things brief.

1. Amazing race community

From the race directors to the participants, the community at this race is top-notch.

I generally love the running & trail running communities in general for how positive and supportive everyone is. But, at this race, it’s taken up another level.

The Barkcamp Race community is one of the best
Photo by Patrick Dundr

Friendly aid station workers are ready to get you anything you need or simply to have a quick chat. You’ll run with and past people who cheer you on and push you to do your best. And, even in the remnants of Hurricane Ian, a group is waiting for you at the finish line to cheer you across, give you your medal, and then any drinks or food you need. 

It’s commitment at another level.

I love the trails, which is why I love this race. But the community is what completes it.

2. Enjoyable trails

As I mentioned, I love trails.

Roads? Not so much. But, you put me on a set of trails (any of them), and I’m at home.

The author holds his hand out showing a grassy and muddy trail behind him while he smiles

And Barkcamp is perfect for that. The race organizers work with the park to clean the trails up for the race, so they’re in good condition. And it’s the perfect time of the year to have a run through a forest. You run along, only your breath and the sounds of the forest.

It’s a perfect experience.

3. The swag

I’ve run races all across the world.

But only a few have matched the swag from The Barkcamp Race. Both in uniqueness and quality.

The Barkcamp Race swag

First, the quality of the products is always better than anything I’ve received from other races. My shirt doesn’t turn to a child’s small on the first wash, and my medal doesn’t bend when I pick it up. That’s a win compared to other things I’ve received from races.

Plus, the shirts are always unique, and I’m never ashamed to wear them. The same can’t be said for other race shirts.

After all, we all know the race swag is why we run the races anyways, right?

The Barkcamp Race “Series”

As mentioned, the event consists of a few different races.

There’s an event for everyone here ranging from 5K to 40 miles. So, here’s a breakdown of the different events:

Road

  • 5K
  • 10K
  • Half marathon

Trail

  • Half marathon
  • Marathon
  • Ultramarathon (40 miles)

Since the Barkcamp Race will feature three different distances on the trail, runners will run loops.

Half marathon runners run a single loop of the park. It’s two laps for the marathon distance. And last, it’ll be three laps for the ultra.

Race weather

Since the race is set at the beginning of October, you can expect cool temperatures and the occasional rainstorm. I’ve run the race twice now, and I’ve experienced both.

So, if you’re planning on running the race, prepare for weather that’s in the 40-50°F range and possible rain.

With that said, here’s an overview of the race itself.

The Barkcamp Race overview

The race begins in the parking lot near the state park’s beach.

It enters the forest and follows the Lower and Upper White Trails as it zig-zags until meeting the Blue Trail. There are no worries about getting lost. The course will be marked with ribbons, arrows, and signs that clearly mark the trail, and any confusing points will be blocked off with caution tape.

You spend the most time on the Blue Trail, which runs along the park’s outer edges. The Blue Trail features a well-marked trail, and the terrain promises lots of variety.

The Barkcamp Lakeview Trail

Singletrack, wide trail, small and large hills, and descents. Be prepared for it all here.

You will periodically go onto other trails (such as the Gold Trail), but you will spend around 5 miles on the Blue Trail.

It then enters the Green Trail, a series of hills and descents for around a mile.

The Barkcamp Race is a slightly hilly course through Barkcamp State Park

You’ll pop out on the road before crossing a bridge and entering the Orange Trail, running it counterclockwise. The Orange Trail features one of the steeper ascents of the race, rising over 100 feet in about 1/10 of a mile.

After you come out where you entered the Orange Trail, you continue across another bridge before cutting right into the Lakeview Trail. This is a quick 2-mile loop that features small ups and downs but is great for picking up the pace.

And, you get a great view of Belmont Lake in the center of the park.

Barkcamp Lake sits in the center of the park

You’ll pop out of the Lakeview Trail near where you entered.

Now, you cross the road and back onto the Blue Trail for about a mile and a half. Note this section features Wesley Climb, a steep climb of 150 feet across a quarter mile.

Once you reach the end, it’s back to the White Trail to the finish.

When you pop out of the forest near the parking lot where you started, you follow the cones in the grass down to the road, and it’s a sprint to the end!

Unless you’re running the marathon or ultra, then it’s a lap or two more for you!

The Barkcamp Race map

How you can run The Barkcamp Race

It’s incredibly easy to run the race, and they even offer discounts through the race for hotels or campgrounds (shower houses available)!

And the race directors are amazing people who want to create the best experience for everyone. They’re incredibly responsive and work hard to make this race as great as it is.

Everything is always well-organized from the 5K to the 10K, marathon, and half marathon, and ultra. Hats off to the race directors!

So, come enjoy this amazing race on an even better trail system.

You can check out more info about the race at its website.

Wrapping up

Whether you live in the area or you’re never been here, this race is worth visiting alone.

Belmont County is a small, unknown area in Southeast Ohio but offers plenty of natural beauty and hiking. And this race is the best example of that. So, book your hotel room in Belmont, OH, in October and get to the Barkcamp Trail Race.

I hope to see you there.


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