For the last few years, it’s been a tradition to go check out a new park following the Peachtree Road Race. The purpose of which is two-fold, 1)finding a new spot to enjoy and to run in and 2)to exhale from Peachtree. This year’s exhale took place at Gwinnett County’s Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Rhodes Jordan Park at 100 East Crogan Street is nestled in downtown Lawrenceville and is built around Lawrenceville City Lake. At a large 162 acres, nearly any activity you’d like to enjoy can be accommodated there. The park features: a community recreation center, community room with catering kitchen, classrooms, dance/aerobics room, fishing lake, pavilions, playgrounds, seven baseball/softball fields, football field overlay, outdoor leisure play pool, double gym, tennis center with eight lighted courts, outdoor baseball court, outdoor horseshoe court (the first I’ve seen at any of the parks visited thus far in the county) and a 1.9-mile paved multi-purpose trail.
The beauty of the park is the lake and how everything is nestled around it. There is a an abundance of water fowl and in the early morning they pretty much have the run of the place, with their numbers decreasing as the morning heats up. There are several boardwalks bordering and crossing over the lake as well as a secure railing on the low lying areas of the park. There’s also a variety of wildflowers, and especially lovely to see, butterflies. I visited the park in July and September and the visuals were spectacular in both cases, which is especially enjoyable while putting in the miles.
According to the park master plan there’s a network of trails totaling 3.8 miles. What’s actually paved, connecting and usable is closer to the 1.9 miles listed on the website and it is a fairly easy 1.9. Taking the paved areas around the lake, behind the picnic area and near the horseshoe courts, will give you a nice crossing loop with minimal hills. The trail is not marked, which is fine. Those who keep track of such things as mileage (which obsessive runners like me do) can just do a timed run and do the math to arrive at mileage.
The trail is mostly shaded with only small sections bordering the lake open and you’ll feel the heat, only momentarily. The trail is really enjoyable because there’s a lot to look at and keep your mind off of how long you plan to be there, the relative ease of it is also good, for any distance or type of run (repeats, tempo). In fact yesterday I saw a young man doing hill repeats up a grassy hill to the trail. With all the beauty there is one drawback of the trail at Rhodes Jordan Park and that is the poop. Waterfowl, especially the gigantic geese (and there are several varieties) we have here make poop that’s as big as dog poop and it is everywhere on the loop directly surrounding the lake, so watch your step.