Do you ever make plans to start trail running but don’t know how to find running trails near you?
Then you have come to the right place.
Truth be told, I’ve definitely had trouble locating trails, both near my home and when I’m traveling.
But I never gave up.
And over the years, I’ve discovered and learned a few strategies that help me keep the trail running consistently, regardless of where I ended up.
In today’s article, I’m going to share these tactics, so you can easily locate running trails in your region you that are well-maintained, pristine, and challenging.
Let’s lace up and dig in.
Check Out Local Running Clubs
So far, this is the best source for running trails.
You can simply join a running club, especially a trail running club, and you’ll be on your way to new trails in no time.
You can find these clubs all around the globe, and most are open to taking in newcomers (as well as temporary visitors) under their wing.
Most running clubs are present on social media, so if you’re into it, reach out and see when they’re running.
Before you commit, remember to ask how challenging the trail will and how long it takes to finish.
Your running buddies will never abandon you, but it’s a good idea to know what you’re in for.
Don’t jump into deep water if you can’t handle the big waves.
Find New Trails While Buying Shoes
Besides running clubs, running specialty stores are another great source of information on local trails.
Staff at running shops and other sports outlets tend to be outdoor athletes themselves, so they might know the best local trails.
Even they don’t know much about the trail scene, they might be able to point you toward the right people or resources you need to find a trail in no time.
If you don’t feel like approaching people, try looking online.
In fact, by simply typing into Google a phrase like “beginner trails in (YOUR REGION)” or “Running trails in (YOUR REGION),” the search result will come up with plenty of ideas and suggestions.
Other than google, try sifting through the USA Track and Field’s “America’s Running Routes.”
This is a search-based resource that allows you to input in the name of the town, length, and more to find mapped courses around the country.
You can also choose the “Advanced Search” option to choose the type of surface: “Grass,” “Rough Trail,” etc.
Other websites that offer similar series include:
- Greatruns.Com. offers a detailed description of running courses in roughly 400 cities
Use An App
Whether you’re a beginner runner training for your first race, jogging around the neighborhood to lose weight, or trying to break the 3-hour marathon milestone, technology has recently revolutionized the way we run—finding trails for running is no exception.
Many apps allow you to look for recommended trails all over the world.
These trail runs are user-generated—uploaded by the runners themselves.
Some of these apps let you adjust your search options using the filters to help find the most suitable trails based on difficulty level, length, suitability, scenery, etc.
Here are a few options:
This is a great way to find popular running routes in your area as well as be able to specify the distance you’re looking for.
The app also has the Route Genius function that lets you build a custom route using data already in the system.
This is not only a great motivational tool for monitoring your training but also helps find new routes based on popularity or “blaze” new paths that you can store. This app allows you to find trail routes that others have run, timed, named and mapped with their own GPS.
This handy app allows you to input your location and select filters like difficulty, elevation gain, length, etc.
Keep in mind that elevation gain can be cumulative.
I think it has more than 50,000 trails in its U.S. database.
This app is ideal for outdoor adventures throughout major US cities and national parks.
Look For Area Trail Races
Depending on where you live, your town, or the towns nearby, may host annual races that take place on trails.
Most trail events take place in pristine places—but sometimes these events may take place on private property only open for the public on race day.
It’s easy to find out these courses by searching for online race info.
You could also contact the race organizers—maybe they can help set you in the right direction.
You can also use the trail racecourse as a primer for more forays into the trail network connecting to it.
Last but not least, if you exhausted all of the above options, then it’s time to ask around—and everyone.
If you have any friends, someone will know someone who trails run, mountain bikes, hikes or does outdoorsy things.
In fact, non-runners who go walking their dogs, go on hikes, or mountain bike may be a treasure trove for the best trails around—they might not even know they are.
Ask your friends, or simply post on social media, that you’re looking for trails for running.
On a trip?
If you’re on vacation, then try asking the concierge or other hotel staff where you might be able to find running trails nearby.
Logging your miles on the trails can give you a sense of peace and being one with nature—an experience that’s very different from road running.