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Choosing Trails for Trail Running

Not all trails are ideal for running. Pick your paths carefully to ensure a great workout.

Tips for Finding a Good Trail

  • Buy a trail guide.
    • Trail guides will give you detailed information on the types of trails available, length of trails and elevation profiles
    • You can also get guides for hiking, mountain biking or cross-country skiing trails.
  • Ask around.
    • Ask the personnel at a running shoe store or outdoor outfitter for their opinion on the area's best trails.
  • Join a running club.
    • Running clubs are great for people who need extra motivation.
    • Running clubs members might also know the location of good running trails.
  • Decide what kind of run you want to do.
    • Would you prefer to run a loop, or would you rather run out and back?
    • Once you decide the type of trail you would like to run, you will have an easier time finding it.
  • Decide whether you want to run on a trail that is open to mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Consider who you're likely to run into on any particular trail.
    • Some trails permit only foot travel.
  • Study a topographical map of your area and decide which trails are most appropriate for you.
  • When picking a trail, make sure the ease of access, terrain, elevation, mileage, exposure to sun and wind, and the presence of water meet your needs.
  • Double check the trail guide.
    • Before you try a new trail, call the land-management agencies to ensure that the trail is currently safe and open to the public.

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