Running trails are a great way to get in touch with nature and add some variety to your workout routine. Here’s a list of 10 of the favorite running trails around the country.
Green Mountain Summit, Boulder, CO
Green Mountain, with an elevation of 8,144 feet, is a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado.
The mountain's topography ranges from meadows and stream crossings to steep switchbacks. The terrain is rugged and challenging, making it appropriate for experienced runners. There are steep inclines and declines. You might get lost admiring the scenery, so make sure you're paying attention and don't fall into any of the creeks or ravines along the way.
When runners reach the summit, they'll be met with sweeping views of summits in Boulder and Denver and the Continental Divide.
Although there are more than 20 miles of trails on Green Mountain, runners often choose the Ragnar/Saddle Rock Route for an exhilarating, challenging 5-mile loop.
Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain, GA, to Mount Katahdin, ME
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,190-mile hiking trail that extends between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It passes through 14 states, traversing the rugged mountains of New Hampshire and the lush forests of Tennessee. The trail also provides access to some of America's most beautiful natural landmarks, such as Mount Katahdin in Maine's Baxter State Park, which boasts breathtaking views and several waterfalls.
The Appalachian Trail was completed in 1937 after more than a decade of construction. Today, thousands of people hike and run the trail annually. Only about one in four people that set out to complete this trail finish. Runners can complete it in about three to five months, while hikers might take six to seven months.
Bosque Trail, Albuquerque, NM
The Paseo del Bosque Trail, which stretches from the South Valley to just north of Los Ranchos De Albuquerque, is paved for 16 miles and has a side dirt trail that extends an additional five miles along its length. If you want to keep track of your distance during a long run or tempo training, the paved road has quarter-miler makers to assist you.
Most of the trail development is concentrated on the east bank of the water, particularly as you travel north. Attractions along the path include the Rio Grande Nature Center, the Albuquerque BioPark, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, just to name a few.
Sourdough Canyon, Bozeman, MT
Located in Bozeman, Montana, the Bozeman (Sourdough) Creek Nature Track is a 2- to 19-mile out-and-back trail with moderate traffic, which provides opportunities to see plenty of wildlife. It is suitable for hikers and runners of all ability levels. The route offers a variety of recreational alternatives and is best for running from April through September, due to the weather. Dogs are permitted on this trail, and they’re allowed off the leash.
Table Rock Trail, ID
The perfect trail for a fit and healthy beginner is not too difficult but still has breathtaking scenery. The Table Rock Trail in Idaho is one such place. This 3.7-mile Boise foothills route is a heavily frequented circuit trail that features magnificent wildflowers and is classed as intermediate in difficulty.
The trail offers a variety of recreational routes and is best used from March to November. Dogs are permitted on this trail, but they must be kept on a leash. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, and there are plenty of spots to stop for quick water breaks along the way.
Goshen Heritage Trail, Orange County, NY
The Goshen Heritage Trail is a 15.1-mile loop through the hills of Orange County. The trail starts in Goshen and meanders through forested areas, historic sites, gurgling streams, and green pastures. It's considered moderately difficult.
Mission Peak Regional Preserve, Fremont, CA
Take your run off-road on this average-traffic trail that ascends to the top of Mission Peak. In just 3 miles, Mission Peak climbs 2,500 feet, making it one of the most challenging running trails in the country. Add an extra few feet if you want to scale the lone wooden mast at the very top of the hill.
Schultz Creek Trail, Flagstaff, AZ
Schultz Creek Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Flagstaff area, and it follows a stream. The 8.5-mile trail is one of the most scenic in Arizona. The trail runs through meadows of wildflowers and has massive pine trees that shade along its length. There are several access points to the trail, and it is a great place to hike or run with older children. It's a tough trail for younger children.
Black Cap Mountain, North Conway, NH
This 2.4-mile loop, with its head at the peak of Hurricane Mountain Road, is moderate in difficulty and offers steep inclines and declines, making it ideal for intermediate or advanced runners. The park offers a scenic view lush with wildflowers, which makes the effort worth it.
Washington Park Arboretum Loop Trail, Seattle, WA
The Washington Park Arboretum Loop Trail, Seattle, WA, is located near downtown Seattle and provides a great view of the city, with the beautiful backdrop of Mount Rainier to the south. It's a 3.6-mile trail loop with an elevation gain of 250 feet.
How to Stay Safe When Running a Trail
Running a trail is one of the most enjoyable ways to stay active. Trails offer beautiful scenery and routes for all different running abilities.
Consider these tips when you go out for your next trail run.
Always Wear Good Running Shoes
Good running shoes are always important. On a trail, they can be more so, as you are likely to meet more uneven terrain than on your regular road run. Consider shoes with extra ankle support and stability technology. You’ll also need plenty of grip, especially if you expect the route to be wet.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Be alert when running on the trail. Some routes have heavy traffic, and on some, you'll be sharing the route with cyclists and horse riders.
Some routes also have dips, rocky areas, and potential falls. Ensure you know any possible dangers along the route, and if you're inexperienced, then stick to the main tracks.
Use Appropriate Gear for Potential Weather Conditions
Running in cold weather requires extra layers of clothing and a waterproof outer layer. Running in hot weather requires moisture-wicking fabrics, breathable material, and light colors to reflect the sun's rays away.
If you wear glasses while running, make sure they have an anti-fog coating so they don't fog up when you start sweating during your run. Make sure you hydrate and fuel up with plenty of carbs in advance of your run. Take the fluids and food you need based on the distance you're running.
Ready to Start Running Trails?
People all across the country are hitting the trails, and you’ll be pleased to know that there are some amazing spots for running in every corner of the nation. Remember to warm up and cool down thoroughly, and pick a route that is suitable for your ability.
Many runners put together a bucket list of the trails they want to complete; many of the trails featured in this article could be on yours.