If you want to breathe crisp and clean fresh air with unrestrained lungs you need to be spending time out in the open during the winter months. Reconnect with nature while running for maximum mental health, cardiovascular and strength benefits. Jogging throughout the city or in the gym can get very boring after a few miles. This is where trails come in. Change your running environment and make it more fun and challenging by swapping out hard asphalt for softer ground, even if that’s snow.
Park City is a trail running paradise. It boasts over 30 miles of groomed trails in the winter and over 40 miles within the surrounding area. Approximately 25K can be found within the Round Valley Open Space, while an additional 25K of fee-based trails can be explored at the White Pine Nordic Center. Another 20K of groomed trail is provided by the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and connects into the Park City system.
Boulder is one of the most fitness-friendly cities in the country. Thanks to more than 200 miles of routes in and around the city, trail running is always very popular. The locals’ favorite Mesa Trail temporarily closes in the winter but you have plenty of options. Run out along the Cottonwood Trail or South Boulder Creek Trail the day following a snowfall. Picture Rock and Hall Ranch in Lyons, and Heil Ranch off Lefthand Canyon, are also a great alternative. Dashing through the snow is also a great time to see wildlife.
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. In the snow get out and run the M trail and Sypes Canyon. Bozeman Creek also is favorable for winter running. The trail to Hyalite Peak, about 7 miles one-way, is the locals’ favorite. You’ll see (possibly frozen) waterfalls along the way.
The high altitude town is a preferred training ground for many trail runners. Even in winter there are groomed or snow-free roadways to the east toward Hot Creek and Benton Crossing roads, according to Mammoth Lakes Trail System. Running the Lakes Basin Path from the North Village to Twin Lakes Vista is one of the most popular and accessible. The rewards for jogging it include views of the Mammoth Crest and Lake Mamie Outfall.
Santa Fe has repeatedly made the lists of best trail running destination in America, and that doesn’t change with the season. The Dale Ball Trails alone stretches 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, which are even more beautiful tapped with snow. The Atalaya Mountain Trail is also popular.
The Tetons offer so many trails you’ll need years to cover them all. The paths, which usually start or pass the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, are marked. Local runners like running on Spring Gulch Road, an old ranching route just outside town that cuts through wide open farmlands. You won’t ever run across many other people. It’s very quiet. 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.
The town and the surrounding Mount Washington Valley area have many picturesque trails you’ll enjoy. The 7.5-mile Lower Nanamocomuck Trail is a typical New England backcountry trail. Try your winter running skills to Diana’s Baths, a series of waterfalls that resembles a true winter wonderland. Try running along the Presidential Traverse in the winter or to the summit of Mount Washington via the auto road, for which you will need special permission from the Mount Washington Auto Road Company.
New York is a famous “concrete jungle” but there are plenty of trails 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.
Leavenworth has it all in the winter. You will never be bored there as long as you don’t mind playing with snow. The faux Bavarian-themed town adds a nice element to the pristine natural atmosphere. Try running along the Skyline Lake Trail, a 3.3-mile loop near the city which features a lake, and the Colchuck Lake Trail, an 8-mile out and back trail.
You will never go wrong with Ohiopyle State Park if you are looking for amazing trails as you’ll have to choose among a total of about 80 miles of them. The Johnathan Falls Trail is easy. For a more grand experience, head to the 70-mile long Laurel Highlands Trail, a dirt footpath stretching across the Laurel Ridge. You’ll be running through a forest and see majestic views of the winding Youghiogheny River.