(Image Courtesy of Utah Valley)
Trail running is an increasingly popular hobby. All you need is your running shoes, clothes, and some water to enjoy a physically challenging adventure in nature. The United States many different trail destinations, where you can run through old growth forest, desert terrain, and high alpine landscapes — sometimes even in the same day! Pack your backpack and head out to run something new. Here are our top selections for trail running destinations in the United States – just be sure to practice safe running techniques.
Boulder is one of the top cities to live for endurance athletes around the world. Sitting over one mile high in elevation, Boulder provides excellent training amenities and a community to back it up. Hundreds of miles of trails start within jogging distance of town. You can choose from gradual ascents on trails around Chautauqua Park or high mountain, steep ascents such as Mount Sanitas. Travel just a little further from town, and you will find multiple peaks of 14,000 feet available if you are willing to give them a try.
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe offers endless miles of single track trails. Try sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail, which circles the lake at a total distance of 165 miles. You will travel through many different ecosystems including, but not limited to, Desolation Wilderness, Page Meadows where you will find wildflowers blooming, and you will even get to travel along a section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Madison features a different type of terrain – beachfront trails. These trails near town will take you around the edge of four different lakes. Travel just a short distance from town, and you will find 1,200 miles of trails. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail traverses streams, hills, ridges, and valleys to allow you to take your mind off the laborious task of running!
Austin has nearly 19,000 acres of parks within the city, many of these offering outstanding single track trails suitable for trail running. Travel further outside of town, and you will find even more single track waiting to be explored. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is the most popular running trail at 7.25 miles in length. Be prepared to be surprised at the singletrack Texas offers.
Provo features some of the nation’s best single track trails. Travel through Provo Canyon, and you will find many different options. Two of the most popular include Slate Canyon and Squaw Peak Trail. Caution is advised as these trails are challenging even for the most experienced runner. Adverse weather conditions are possible, but the hard work will be worth it for the views and the high altitude. Moab and Park City will also be sites to visit after.
Black Mountain, North Carolina
The Appalachian Mountains provide a different challenge than the Rocky Mountains. The trails out east are incredibly steep and technical. Black Mountain has several 3,000 foot climbs beginning in town. Mount Mitchell is only a short drive away at 6,684 feet in elevation. This is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. You won’t conquer all of these trails in one visit.
Trail running in the United States offers many opportunities to see new and exciting landscapes. Running through these areas provide a perspective that you won’t soon forget. The slower pace of running lets you experience the sounds and smells better than driving through in your car ever will. You will have the chance to sneak up on some wildlife to see nature in its most natural state. Make a trip to a new destination, and you won’t regret it.