Best Trail Running Towns in the U.S. from Best Trail Running Towns in the U.S.

Best Trail Running Towns in the U.S.

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Best Trail Running Towns in the U.S.

Running has many undisputed health benefits, but running on a treadmill gets very boring very quickly and pounding the pavement outside in the streets can end up having negative consequences.

Swapping out the hard asphalt for softer ground can benefit your legs and knees very much; it’s easier on them. Reduce the amount of shock on your joints, muscles and bones and you won’t get tired very soon, which may be a sign your workouts are ineffective.

Some cities are friendlier than others when it comes to fitness and general well-being.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe has repeatedly made the lists of best trail running destination in America. The Dale Ball Trails alone stretch along 30 miles of twisted single track trails that vary in difficulty. Run slowly and take your time enjoying the serene views of the desert, aspens and evergreens along the way. The Windsor Trail and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where you can up 12,000, are also popular runs. A real challenge is the 7-mile run on Atalaya Mountain. The weather is always just right – mild temperatures and little rain.

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Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is usually known as a college town and one of the craft brewing capitals of the U.S. Over the last few years, the city in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, is preferred by trail runners because of its many off-road trails. There are open fire roads and tricky single tracks not too far from downtown. Bent Creek is also a popular location for runners, as is the Pisgah National Forest and its huge network of trails. A small part of the 500-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail passes through the city.

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Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is one of the most fitness-friendly cities in the country. Thanks to  more than 200 miles of routes in and around Boulder, trail running is also very popular. Locals love the Mesa Trail, which is just seven miles long, but it is a crossing point for many other trails that will take you to the legendary Flatirons. Other favorites are the 8-mile Walker Ranch loop, the short but strenuous Mount Sanitas trail, the Dirty Bismarck Loop, and the Buchanan Pass Trail if you like wildflower fields and bubbling creeks.

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Jackson, Wyoming

The Tetons offer so many trails you’ll need years to cover them all. Trail running clubs organize events every week in the summer and the location is different every time. The paths, which usually start or pass the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, are marked. People like to run along the pleasant Valley Trail, the Rock Springs Yurt Trail, which is a bit more challenging because it changes in elevation, and the 6-mile Phelps Lake Loop.

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Flagstaff, Arizona

Thanks to its high altitude, Flagstaff has become the go-to training location for elite trail and even marathon runners. The city is 7,000 feet above sea level. It has a lot open roads and mellow and rocky paths. The low humidity in Flagstaff only makes the running experience more pleasant. Some of the best trails are the Flagstaff Urban Trail System, which has about 50 miles of routes, the Oldham Trail, and the progressing 25-mile Lake Mary Road.

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Nashville, Tennessee

The country music capital of the U.S. has more than 10,000 acres of green zones with lots of trails in them. The Warner Park Trail System is usually where most beginners will head out to if they don’t know where else to go. The trail varies in length, from 200 yards to 5 miles. Look for the color – the red, white and blue trails are the most strenuous. You’ll enjoy views of tree hills and flowers blooming.

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Tahoe City, California

The elevation of 6,250 feet may make some trail runners tired quickly, but the views are worth it. The city, situated between the iconic Lake Tahoe and Tahoe National Forest. Run along Emerald Bay for stunning vistas of the water and Sierra Mountains. The Tahoe Rim Trail is 165 miles and it passes through Desolation Wilderness, Page Meadows and the iconic Pacific Crest Trail.

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Moab, Utah

There are at least 560 running trails in Moab, according to MapMyRun. The Bar M trails are preferred by many because you can enjoy a range of loops and distances in one run. This is a scenic and rolling terrain. Routes along Kane Creek are popular as well. Poison Spider is another good 12-mile loop, if you run up to the Portal and come down the Portal trail. The inspiring views is what brings a lot of runners back – blood-orange rocks, fins, spires, and clear blue skies.

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Austin, Texas

Austin is like heaven on Earth for trail running enthusiasts (and for open water swimming). With more than about 20,000 acres of parks in the city alone, you are certain to find routes that suit your level. The 7-5 miles Barton Creek Greenbelt, which starts at the famous Zilker Park, goes though the city. When you’re done, you can go to the Hill Country and choose between dozens of single tracks. Then head to the Colorado River to run under giant cypress and pecan trees for miles. The Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park and Bull Creek are also popular locations.

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Branson, Missouri

There are many trails surrounding Branson, varying from one to 18 miles in length. White River Valley Trail System is a 2.9 mile loop trail, rated as difficult. It is accessible from April until September. Lakeside Forest Wilderness Trail, where deer are everywhere and crowds don’t exist, is also popular. Table Rock Lakeshore Trail is more trafficked because it features a lake. The trail is good for all skill levels.

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Washington D.C.

Running in D.C. is  a good opportunity to explore history. The Fort Circle Parks have remnants of Civil War fortifications; the 2,000-acre Rock Creek Park was founded as one of the country’s first federal parks. The Western Ridge Trail is an often overlooked gems and the 5.5-mile Valley Trail offers a variety of rocky, technical single track and smooth horse trails, according to Rock Creek Runner.

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Bozeman, Montana

There are almost 3,000 trail running paths in Bozeman, according to MapMyRun. Parts of the mountainous terrain in and around the city, in close proximity to Yellowstone, have been made ideal for trail runners. You’ll be tested by stones, creeks and dirt. The trail to Hyalite Peak, about 7 miles one-way, including a single track, forest, creeks, meadows, and switchbacks, is the locals’ favorite. You’ll see waterfalls along the way.

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New York, New York

New York is a famous “concrete jungle” but there is plenty of green space to enjoy in and around the city. The 843 acres in Central Park alone and Bronx’s 2,700-acre Pelham Bay Park provide endless opportunities for trail running. Other good locations are the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, Inwood Hill Park, and Fort Tryon Park, according to GearPatrol. Go upstate and you’ll find more natural trails for technical and strenuous running.

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Bend, Oregon

Bend, often referred to as one of the country’s best trail running cities, is a trail running wonderland, with more than 65 miles of trails accessible from downtown, according to Competitor. More long-haul routes are a short drive away in the foothills and larger mountains of the Cascade Range. The Deschutes River Trail and First Street Rapids Trail are a must-run. The Green Lakes Loop, an 11-mile loop that winds through Green Lakes Basin and the Three Sisters Wilderness, offering creek crossings and gorgeous mountain views, is also popular.

Monson, Maine

There are so many lakes around Monson, including the famous Lake Hebron, it is not a surprise there is a huge network of trails. Monson is home to the longest wilderness section of the legendary Appalachian Trail.

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Middlebury, Vermont

You can see this entire old-fashioned town in Vermont by running along its trail system. The Trail Around Middlebury, a footpath over 16 miles long, encircles the village of Middlebury and links several hundred acres of town land, conserved properties, schools, and other local landmarks.

Best Trail Running Towns in the U.S.