Bucket List: 7 Best Trail Runs Around the Country


Best Trail Runs Around the Country

For avid runners, finding time in your busy day to get outside and run is always a priority. However, running around the same neighborhood block or the same trail around your local park can get rather repetitive and boring.

For wilderness lovers, having the ability to get outside and run in beautiful, scenic areas is the combination we are always looking for.

Unfortunately, some of the best wilderness areas aren´t exactly conducive to running, unless of course you like climbing over boulders, wading through streams, and getting your legs cut up as you run through thorny underbrush.

Finding trail runs isn’t always easy, but they are out there. If you love being out in the wilderness and also love lacing up your running shoes, trail running offers the best of both worlds—it will allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature while also getting the adrenaline rush from a good run.

7 Best Trail Runs Around the Country

Below we offer information on the seven best trail runs around the country. Whether you are on vacation near one of these great trail runs or it happens to be just around the corner, these trail runs will offer you a run of a lifetime.

1. McKenzie River Trail, Eugene, Oregon

running trails near me now

photo by Mike Putnam

The Northwest is filled with beauty pretty much at every turn, but the Cascade Mountains offer a touch of lushness and mountain beauty that is hard to find elsewhere.

This trail is around 27 miles long and follows the McKenzie River for most of the way. However, there are also some pretty steep climbs as you will even be passing through former lava fields and over log bridges.

The only downside is that you´ll have to share the trail with mountain bikers who also love it.

2. Poison Spider Mesa, Moab, Utah

trail running for beginners

photo by Rob Hyndman

Utah is one of the most unheralded treasures of the western United States. While it often gets the bad reputation of only being filled with arid deserts and pasture land, the area around Moab is absolutely stunning.

The 13-mile loop trail circles around a number of interesting rock features and typical southwestern landscapes. You will need to make sure to bring a hydration pack and some good sunscreen to protect yourself from the hundred-degree heat.

3. Double Oak Trail, Pelham, Alabama

best trail runs

photo by americantrails

While the western parts of the United States are certainly great for spectacular views, the deep South also offers a certain charm for trail runners.

The largest State Park in Alabama offers a 17-mile trail that will take you up and down rolling hills.

The diversity of this trail is its real draw since you will find yourself at times on cliffs covered in pine trees and at other times immersed in hardwood valleys.

4. Maah Daah Hey Trail, Medora, North Dakota

trail running benefits

photo by Roderick Eime

The Maah Daah Hey Trail in North Dakota combines history, unique rock formations, and the big sky views that are so characteristic of the Northern Great Plains.

While the trail is actually a 96-mile long, former Native American trade route, you can choose pretty much any area for a quality run.

If you are lucky, you might even see a few wild horses that still run free on the prairies. The Petrified Forest National Park is also located along the trail´s route.

5. Finger Lakes Trail, Hector, New York

safe places to run near me

photo by cnyhiking

For folks who are visiting or live in the Northeast, the Finger Lakes National Forest is arguably one of the most accessible and beautiful natural areas in a region overrun by urban sprawl.

There are literally hundreds of different routes that one could take to travel through this national wilderness area.

In July, the Finger Lakes Fifties trail races bring together runners from all over the country and is a great time of year to hit the paths through these mountains.

6. El Moro Canyon Loop, Laguna Beach, California

running trails near my location

photo by alltrails.com

If you are looking for a way to escape the noise, smog and rush of Los Angeles, look no further than El Moro Canyon Loop.

This 8.5-mile trail takes you high above the coast into the San Joaquin Hills and offers some spectacular vistas of the ocean below. It is located in Crystal Cove State Park which also boasts a number of unique canyon formations that you can explore by foot.

7. Shut-In Trail, Asheville, North Carolina

paved running trails near me

photo by Jus' Running, Asheville NC

No list of great trail runs would be complete without at least one trail in the Appalachian Mountains. The Shut-In Trail in Asheville, North Carolina offers steep ascents (close to 3,000 feet) with spectacular and rewarding views once you make it to the top of Mount Pisgah.

If you run it in the summer, you might find yourself completely engulfed in “tunnels” of rhododendrons and other wildflowers which will make you appreciate even more the panoramic views at the top.

Find Your Own Treasured Trail Run

Pretty much every state park around the country is bound to have some sort of trail system which should offer some great trail runs.

If you can´t make it (yet) to any one of these great trails, check with your local state park to see if they have any restrictions against trail running.

If they don´t, escape from work early and instead of simply doing circles around the neighborhood, get a feel for nature while enjoying your daily run.


Author Bio: Scott Moses is a part-time worker and wannabe full-time outdoorsman with a passion for running. You can find his work on LiveOnceLiveWild.com.

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