The world is a big and beautiful place. There are endless destinations to discover and explore. For those who love the outdoors, our planet is a wonderland of adventure.
This is especially true of anyone constantly on the lookout for new running trails. If this sounds like you, we have good news! In this article we will introduce you to some places around the world that can keep you busy for a lifetime.
Let’s take a look at some of the finest places for running that this amazing planet of ours has to offer for your next adventure!
1. Imogene Pass (Colorado)
For our list of amazing running trails, let’s start out within reasonable driving distance to home. The Imogene Pass is set among the magnificent scenic beauty of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.
This trail is considered by many in the running community to be something of a rite of passage. The Imogene Pass Run follows a 17-mile dirt road from Ouray to Telluride. Runners climb ten miles and over 5,300 vertical feet to Imogene Pass before beginning the descent down Tomboy road.
The journey takes you through former mining outposts, an old ghost town, and gorgeous alpine basins, all of it surrounded by awe-inspiring 14,000-foot peaks.
2. The Grand Canyon (Arizona)
There are few destinations in the world as visually inspiring as the Grand Canyon. As one of the true wonders of nature, it was patiently carved from rock over millions of years. It probably comes as no surprise that this is also home to one of the finest running trails found anywhere.
Tackling a run of the Grand Canyon from rim to rim is not for the weak of heart, yet it’s the ideal way to see a bit of everything that the canyon has to offer. From incredible rock formations, endless strata of sedimentary rock walls, to the epic contours of the Colorado River.
Be prepared for inclement weather, because it’s not unusual to experience rain or snow in the Canyon, regardless of the season.
3. Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
The wilderness of Tanzania is legendary, and no feature of that part of the world is more epic than Mount Kilimanjaro. Running a trail to the summit will take you to an elevation of 19,340 feet. The beauty of the terrain has few peers, and you will experience a range of wildlife found in fewer other locations on earth.
4. Appalachian Trail
If you consider yourself a hardcore trail runner, you shouldn’t retire your running shoes until you’ve experienced the Appalachian Trail that extends 2,179 miles from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME.
This is quite simply one of the most epic trails imaginable, and should only be attempted by the most experienced and elite of runners.
The Appalachian Range consists of punishing, unforgiving terrain, and thus tackling this challenge should be considered long and hard before committing to the insanity of this brutal stretch of real estate.
5. The Inca Trail (Peru)
This breathtaking trail is considered by many runners to be among the best runs in the world. The nearly 27-mile trek will take over some of the most epic terrain found anywhere, including alpine tundra, lush cloud forest, and Incan ruins.
And you’ll be rewarded at the end of the trail by the magnificent Machu Picchu, the legendary “Lost City of the Incas.”
6. Moab Trail (Utah)
Utah’s southern desert is filled with immense postcard beauty, featuring a unique moonscape of soaring red rock cliffs and other natural wonders. The terrain is interesting and very technical, and with an elevation gain of 3,500 feet, this is an adventure that will punish the body while inspiring the soul.
7. Kalalau Trail (Hawaii)
There are more than enough reasons to want to visit the islands of Hawaii even if they didn’t boast some of the best trail running opportunities.
At the top of the list is the Kalalau Trail on the island of Kauai. This 22-mile round trip is located on the Na Pali coast, where runners are treated to waterfalls, sea-side cliffs, and verdant island valleys.
The icing on the cake is that you can enjoy a swim in the ocean at the end of your run!
8. The Dolomites (Italy)
If you’ve never experienced the epic beauty of the Dolomites, get ready to add this running destination to your bucket list. This mountain range located in northeastern Italy forms a part of the Limestone Alps. The range extends from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley in the east.
Alta Via One is the most trail for runners. It offers 54 miles of amazing alpine vistas and a gain of over 3 miles in elevation during the climb.
Another well-regarded trail is Alta Via Two, with terrain that is more rugged. The views are equally as majestic, it’s simply a more daunting trek.
9. Mont-Blanc (France)
There is simply no denying the monumental beauty of the Chamonix Valley in the heart France. This is the type of natural splendor that inspires poetry and attracts people from around the globe to partake in a wide variety of outdoor adventures.
The Mont-Blanc Marathon is a popular annual race that follows a 26.2-mile loop that begins and ends in Chamonix’s central square. Runners will experience high alpine meadows and ancient hamlets, surrounded by mountain peaks that seem to rise to the heavens.
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10. Laugavegur (Iceland)
Don’t let the name fool you. Iceland is actually one of the most beautiful destinations on earth. In fact, this might be among the few destinations for a trail run that could take you past glaciers, black sand beaches, waterfalls, fishing villages, and hot springs, all in a single afternoon.
Laugavegur is a 34-mile trail that extends across the southern interior of Iceland. It’s a scenic route that takes runners across a variety of landscapes. Just be prepares for high winds.
The Greatest Running Trails in the World
No matter what type of running terrain you prefer, from boulder trails in the American West, or running trails in the Alps of Europe, this list contains something for everyone. If you want to see them all, there’s no time like the present to get started!
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