Runners in the United States are extremely lucky. This country is one of the most gorgeous in the world. It’s incredible diversity of landscapes offers something to appeal to everyone who enjoys running outside. Whether your pleasure is running along the ocean, seeing the majesty of a snow-capped mountain or witnessing the beauty of a desert sunset, you can find what you are looking for in this incredibly beautiful land. If you want to experience some of this beauty for yourself while training for a race, check out this list of five of the most beautiful places to run in the United States.
1. Wildwood Trail in Portland, Oregon
Portland runners who enjoy running outside have it pretty good. This trail is located in picturesque Forest Park, which is the largest urban forest in the country. The Wildwood Trail is 30 miles long, and it weaves its way through ferns and fungi that look like they would be at home on the set of the latest Jurassic Park film. The fir and cedar trees are beautiful as well. The trail is soft and very easy on the joints. As well as experiencing the beauty of the forest itself, runners will also be treated to breathtaking views of the city skyline and nearby Mt. Hood.
2. Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas
Most of this ten-mile trail in the heart of Austin is unpaved. It runs along the Colorado River and Lady Bird Lake, which is famous for being home to a wide variety of birds. The birdsong serenades runners as they bask in the beauty of the Austin skyline. The trail also goes by a number of parks, playgrounds and ballfields to keep runners entertained. This is truly one of the great urban runs in the United States. If you want to be truly blown away, time your run to finish around dusk at the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge that crosses the lake. This bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in the nation, and watching them emerge at dusk to feed is a magical scene.
The Trail Foundation
3. Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Trail in Arizona
To complete this entire run requires a lot of dedication, but runners will be well rewarded with some of the most epic scenery on the planet. Most people are well aware of the beauty of the Grand Canyon, and this run allows you to experience the whole package. The 24-mile trail descends all the way down to the canyon floor and has ends at both the North and South Rims. There is plenty of wildlife to see, including mule deer and bighorn sheep. The beauty of the canyon’s red rock will surround runners and inspire them like few other settings on Earth. Just make sure to pace yourself and bring plenty of water to deal with the abundant heat. Running this trail is an especially good way to train for a race like a marathon that requires great endurance.
4. Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California
There are few trails on the planet that can compare with this 5.9-mile stretch along the Pacific Coast of Marin County. The up-and-down trail will challenge runners, but they will be able to meet the challenge with the inspirational ocean views over rocky cliffs. The trail goes from Muir Beach to Rodeo Beach. The best way to cap of a run on this epic trail is to take a plunge in the mighty Pacific as soon as you finish. The cold water will feel great and help you recover faster. For added beauty, come run the Marin Headlands when the wildflowers bloom in a riot of color in the spring.
5. Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming
There are 30 miles of trails in this state park located halfway between Cheyenne and Laramie. The trails range in elevation from 6,700 to 8,000 feet, which makes it the perfect spot to do some altitude training for a race. This park exemplifies everything that is wonderful about beautiful places to run outside. There is plenty of wildlife to see, including loads of mule deer and a wide range of birds. Its diversity of landscapes is stellar with meadows, mountains and timbered forest to run through. The natural beauty of this park has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.