Words in parentheses are (blaze marks) and denote painted symbolson trees to designate the trails.
If you can’t figure it out always take the trail that looks more traveled.
As you stand in the parking lot looking at the Visitor’s Center go to your left on the parking lots as far as you can go. The Goat Cliff trail (Yellow Square Blaze)starts at the end of the parking lot about 30 feet from the road. Follow Goat Cliff Trail about 1.5 miles, mostly uphill.
Turn left on Hickory Trail (Red Heart Blaze), go for awhile then take a left onto Hickory North (red rectangle)
At the next junction turn Left onto Fern Hollow trail (Yellow Star Blaze) This trail crosses the road at the farthest distance from the starting location. You're about 3.25 miles into the course at this point. This is a good place to drive to and drop water prior to your run if you don't want to carry water.
At the next junction take Hickory South (Red Square Blaze). Hickory South will take you back down to the lodge and Visitor’s Center, you are 6 miles into the course at this point. This is another good place to grab a drink.
Cross the road and proceed up Ravine (Green Diamond Blaze). At the top of Ravine is the famous stone stairs.After the stairs the trail rejoins the Goat Cliff Trail (Yellow Square Blaze). Turn left and proceed back down the hill the to the starting/finish line.
In the map below the route is highlighted in yellow.