The Challenges of Running at Sleepy Hollow State Park

Location: Laingsburg, Michigan

Sleepy Hollow State Park offers over 2,000 acres of forest, fields, and lake. Within that acreage, the park boasts 16 miles of hiking, running, and biking trail. The perfect location for a trail runner to get some decent mileage in.

There are several parking areas with trail access throughout the park. Some of the trailheads are easier to get to than others and each one provides a different terrain experience.

I started off at trail marker 17 and ran towards trail marker 4.

Trail markers with a trail map

After passing through the campground, the trail opens up to a road crossing by the playground. The trail does not continue directly across the road and there are no signs for where to go. This was the only time I had a difficulties finding the trail. Everywhere else the trail was well marked and easy to distinguish.

Raccoons along the forest trail
Forest trail

The major issue I had was the trail condition. Some areas were beautifully forested with roots, mud and small hills. Terrain I prefer for trail running.

Overgrown field trail

However, most of the areas were overgrown grasses that made it difficult to see the very narrow trail. Fine for hiking but not very safe for running. These conditions make it difficult to determine footing and increase the risk of injury.

This is probably not an issue if you run there earlier in the year.

After getting tired of running through the overgrown grasses, I turned around and headed back towards trial marker 17. I decided to go the other way towards trail marker 16 and had a completely different experience.

The trail was mostly through field again but was not overgrown. I was also rewarded with pretty views of Lake Ovid.

You can download trail map to help plan our route or pick one up at the entrance booth on arrival. Because Sleepy Hollow is a state park, a recreational passport is required.

The Legend

Every year the state park holds a 5 mile, 10 mile, and half marathon race. Participants get to enjoy the forest, prairie grassland, and 410 acre Lake Ovid. The race is part of the Serious Series challenge that includes 3 trail races in state parks in southeastern Michigan.

Visit The Legend for more information.

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