We are in the midst of vacation season, a time when many of us will jet set for some much-needed rest or a great adventure. There are the typical escapades—some beautiful beach, a placid lake, or a steamy tropical locale. Thankfully, great running can be found almost anywhere a pair of sneakers can be worn. But this year, whether for your summer escape or later in the cooler months, why not make ultra running part of the reason for your trip? To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some great running trails across the US.
- McKenzie River Trail; Eugene, Oregon – No matter what list we checked or what runner we asked, this trail is a resounding first place finisher. You’ll run over log bridges and under fallen trees, over ancient lava fields and by hot springs. The climbs will be steep, the turns sharp, and the descents quick. It may be touch to find another 27-mile stretch that can do quite so much to reconnect you to nature and restore your weary soul. Too mushy? Go see for yourself!
- Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park; Issaquah, Washington – We’ve all played ad-libs before, right? You fill in the story to make it your own? Well, Cougar Mountain offers this same idea to runners. The twisting trails intersect and diverge at countless points. Map out your run beforehand to create a course with the length and difficulty you’re looking for. Your route is bound to include waterfalls, boulders, and maybe some unexpected surprises (Cold War missile silo, anyone?).
- Maah Daah Hey Trail; Medora, North Dakota – Lots of words found in write-ups of this trail make it almost irresistible: wild horses, Badlands, Petrified Forest. This 96-mile former North American trade route meanders through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park as well as a state park or two. Grasslands, the open sky, and that Petrified Forst—sounds like great running to me!
- Palo Duro Canoy State Park; Canyon, TX – The second largest canyon in the US offers scenes and running that are second to none, this beauty offers views worthy of museum walls. Only a portion of the 120-mile long canyon is actually in the state park, but it is more than enough to inspire a little awe—cacti and juniper, bubbling creeks and sandy orange hues, buttes and spires aplenty. You won’t regret adding this destination to your running buck list.
- Battery Park to the East River Running Path; New York, NY – No great canyon or petrified forest, no lava field or cascading waterfalls, but the scenery can still take your breath away. This urban trail offers a view of the Statue of Liberty and great views of the Brooklyn waterfront. While not marvels of nature, the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg Bridges are still quite something to behold. This trail also offers countless opportunities to turn into a new Manhattan adventure or trek over Brooklyn to continue exploring.
The wonderful thing about beautiful trail runs is there are thousands of trails to find all across the country. Undoubtedly, as you read this list, you thought, “Oh, but they’ve never seen this place here in my town!” Tell us your favorite trail to run or your most memorable time on one those we’ve listed here! Tell us about in the comments section or strike up a conversation with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. As always, if cramps get in your way, stop here to pick up your supply of HOTSHOT before you hit the trails.
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