Running is a great workout, and it’s also a chance for many people to clear their heads. But as time goes on, the same sights on your everyday running routes can become monotonous and boring. Here are the most scenic running trails in the United States. Next time you’re planning a trip, keep these in mind!
1. Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Mountains stretch from the Southern United States to Canada, which provides avid hikers and runners with plenty of the mountain range to see at any given time. The Appalachians have been made especially famous by runners who attempt to run the full length of the trail over a number of weeks. For those of you who are less ambitious, these mountains provide beautiful scenery, breathtaking mountaintop views, and a cool climate.
2. Central Park
If you’re a city dweller at heart, you’re in luck. Central Park in New York City is great for running, especially in the fall. The changing leaves make for some amazing sights. This expertly designed park forms a loop, so if one time around leaves you wanting more, just keep on going and you’ll end up right where you started again.
3. McKenzie River Trail
The McKenzie River Trail in Eugene, Oregon is a lengthy trail that runs through the Cascade Mountains. Also good for biking, this trail is as challenging as it is beautiful. The course goes over log bridges, up and down hills, around pools of water, and sometimes under fallen trees. The McKenzie River Trail is so popular that they have an annual 50K race on the trail each September.
4. Tahoe Rim Trail
Located in Nevada and California, this trail skirts the beautiful Lake Tahoe. All told, the trail is 165 miles long, but it has been broken down into shorter segments. There are a number of races held on this trail, including a 50K. Near the end of the trail, it merges with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.
5. Kalalau Trail
The Kalalau Trail is located in Kauai, Hawaii. This lush island setting provides the perfect combination of relaxing on vacation and getting a vigorous workout. The trail takes you past waterfalls, ancient ruins, and plenty beautiful island flora. If this tough trail proves to be more work than you were expecting, taking a rest by one of the trail’s scenic white sand beaches will more than make up for an unplanned break.
6. Dale Ball Trails
These trails in Santa Fe, New Mexico are known for their perfect representation of the Southwestern United States. The ground can be rocky at times, which provides runners with an added challenge. The trails feature many switchbacks, and range from easy to difficult.
7. Palmer Park
With 25 miles of trail, Palmer Park is known not just among runners, but mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians as well. The popular spot can accommodate many skill levels, as the difficulty range varies from one section of the trail to another. Cacti and sandstone bluffs are what really make this trail scenic.
8. Poison Spider Mesa
This popular biking spot is also a great trail for runners looking for a real challenge. The intense Utah heat makes the Poison Spider Mesa a tricky run to complete, but it’s worth the extra preparation. The trail takes runners along some of the country’s most beautiful red rock formations.
9. Shut-In Trail
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, this trail was built by George Vanderbilt in the late 19th century. Today, the trail serves runners looking to get away from it all: mountain laurel and rhododendron line the trail, giving runners a shut-in feeling, hence the name.