Top 5 Best Running Trails in the U.S.

McKenzie River Trail

If you’re a run­ner who prefers wildlife over city pigeons, dirt paths to pave­ment, and the occa­sion­al moun­tain bike ride to the side­walk cycle, you’re prob­a­bly drawn to trail run­ning. Whether you pre­fer dusty canyons or lush trop­ics, here are the 5 best run­ning trails in the U.S.

McKen­zie Riv­er Trail
Eugene, Ore­gon
The McKen­zie Riv­er Trail fol­lows the McKen­zie Riv­er as it bends along the Cas­cade Moun­tains. Its 27 miles includes sin­gle-track trails, steep climbs and descents, sharp turns and leads you through for­mer lava fields and past hot springs through the old-growth for­est. The route is also home to a 50k race, and is con­sid­ered one of the best moun­tain bik­ing trails in the coun­try.

Appalachian TrailAppalachi­an Trail
Springer Moun­tain, Geor­gia to Mount Katahdin, Maine
This well-known trail spans 2,179 miles and pass­es through 14 states, mak­ing it not only a home to a num­ber of elite ultra­run­ners who run it end to end, but also the dai­ly des­ti­na­tion for locals who pre­fer trail to road. You can find eas­i­ly acces­si­ble run­ning sec­tions near Harper’s Fer­ry, West Vir­ginia and Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia.

Kalalau TrailKalalau Trail
Kauai, Hawaii
The 11-mile Kalalau Trail may be one of the most beau­ti­ful trails in the U.S. Along the route, you’ll come across tow­er­ing sea cliffs, water­falls, white sandy beach­es, lush trop­ics and even ancient Hawai­ian ruins. But it’s no easy feat, so be pre­pared for a gru­el­ing effort. Also, an addi­tion­al perk: the Kalalau is the only land access to the Na Pali Coast on the north­west side of the island.

Santa Fe, New MexicoThe Dale Ball Trails
San­ta Fe, New Mex­i­co
A col­lec­tion of looped sin­gle-track trails “through the rolling piñon and juniper-cov­ered foothills” just out­side of San­ta Fe, the Dale Ball Trails fea­ture dif­fi­cult switch­backs and some steep hills. The Dale Ball Cen­tral Trail is a 6.3-mile mod­er­ate trail with a few climbs and the Dale Ball North Trail is a bit eas­i­er, at 3.7 miles.

cscPalmer Park
Col­orado Springs, Col­orado
Locat­ed just out­side of Col­orado Springs with over 703 acres with 25 miles of trail, Palmer Park routes tra­verse through pic­turesque west­ern land dot­ted with yuc­ca cac­tus and sand­stone bluffs. There are sev­er­al trails rang­ing begin­ner, inter­me­di­ate and advanced lev­els, so this is a great run­ning des­ti­na­tion for all run­ners. Though do pay atten­tion, as its also pop­u­lar among moun­tain bik­ers and eques­tri­ans.