Running is a great way to stay fit and enjoy nature. It’s a great form of exercise because it gets you moving without having to spend much time or effort.
Running helps burn calories, build muscle, and improve cardiovascular health. Running outside is even better than running inside, because not only are we pushing ourselves and exercising, but we’re doing it in the beautiful outdoors!
Time outside in nature is beneficial for your body and your mental health. Trail running is a great way to enhance your running experience. You don’t necessarily need expensive equipment to get started.
You can start with something simple like a pair of shoes, a water bottle, and a comfortable shirt.
The United States of America has a diverse and almost endless number of trails that you can run, with trails in some of the most iconic locations in the world.
Each state has different places, terrains, and challenges to offer. The best way to find out which trail is right for you is by doing your research. Below is a shortlist of some of the best running trails that states have to offer.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive; it’s simply a starting point. It will show you a few of the most iconic trails from each state.
We’ve also included an extensive Frequently Asked Questions section that will aim to answer some of the most common questions that you might have and give you some tips on how to start trail running today!
Birmingham: The Birmingham Trail runs through downtown Birmingham, Alabama. It is a 3-mile loop that starts at the corner of 5th Avenue South and 20th Street North. You will pass the famous Vulcan statue on your way around the loop.
This trail is great for beginners because there are no hills and you can see all of the city from start to finish. There are many restaurants and stores along the route as well if you want to take a break or go for food once you’re done!
Cincinnati: Cincinnati’s Riverfront Loop is a 2-3 mile walk or bike ride that takes you through Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Along this path, you will find historic buildings, parks, museums, art galleries, and much more.
This trail has been designated by the National Park Service as one of the “Great Rivers Greenways” in America.
Dallas: Dallas’ Trinity Riverwalk is an 8-10 mile hike/bike trail that follows the banks of the Trinity River. This trail connects several neighborhoods including Oak Lawn, Lakewood, and Deep Ellum. A portion of the trail also goes through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Houston: Houston’s Katy Prairie Trail is a 6-8 mile long trail that passes through the Katy Prairie area of Houston. This trail was built in 2013 after Hurricane Harvey destroyed homes and businesses in the area.
The trail is now open for use and offers views of local wildlife such as deer, birds, and other animals. The trail is located near the Texas Medical Center and is easily accessible via car, bus, or train.
Denver: The Cherry Creek Trail is a multi-use trail in Denver, Colorado. It runs from the northern end of downtown Denver at the confluence of Cherry Creek and South Platte River to the south side of the city near Sloan’s Lake.
The trail is part of the larger Regional Greenway system that extends through the metropolitan area of Denver.
The historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and tree-lined sidewalks make it feel like you’re walking back in time to when Denver was first settled.
The Cherry Creek Trail runs through the heart of this community, connecting residents with parks, trails, stores, and restaurants. If you’re looking for a great, scenic place to run, then we recommend the Cherry Creek Trail!
Honolulu: The Ala Wai Canal Bike Path is a 1.5-mile paved bike path that runs along the shoreline of the Ala Wai canal in Honolulu, Hawaii. This trail is perfect for runners who love water views and scenery. You’ll get to enjoy the beautiful ocean view while running alongside the Ala Wai Canal.
There are plenty of other trails in Honolulu that you can choose from if you’d prefer something less crowded. For example, the Kakaako Waterfront Walkway is another popular option, a 4-mile paved pathway that runs along the shores of Waikiki Beach.
New York City
Brooklyn: Is there anything more iconic than the Brooklyn Bridge? Brooklyn Bridge Park offers over 100 miles of paved paths for biking, jogging, rollerblading, or skateboarding.
These trails connect to over 30 different parks throughout the borough. One of our favorite trails here is the East River Esplanade, which is located between the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge.
This trail is great because it allows you to experience both sides of the river. On the east side, you will find gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. On the west side, you will find a large park with lots of green space and trees.
Queens: Queensbridge Park is a 5.6-mile loop around the perimeter of Queensboro Reservoir. There are many different types of terrain within the park, so no matter what your fitness level is, there is a trail for you. Some of the highlights include a boardwalk on the reservoir, a wooded section, a grassy field, and even a small lake.
Miami Beach: Miami Beach State Recreation Area is a 2.2-mile paved trail that runs along the beach in Miami Beach, Florida. This trail is great for people who want to get out and see some nature while they exercise. It features a variety of wildlife that will be all around you as you’re running.
South Florida: Biscayne National Park is a 3.8-mile paved trail that runs through the center of Biscayne Bay. This trail is great if you’re looking for a challenging workout but still want to have access to beautiful beaches and waterfront views.
Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Bicycle Trails System consists of over 500 miles of paved pathways and roads that crisscross the state. Many of these trails are designed specifically for cyclists, but they also offer options for hikers, inline skaters, and wheelchairs. Several different sections of the LABCTSS are perfect for runners. Here are a few of our favorites:
Beverly Hills: Running down Rodeo Drive is one of the most famous things to do in Beverly Hills. However, if you don’t want to deal with traffic, you should check out the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Trail. This trail is 6.1 miles long and connects to the Pacific Coast Highway.
Malibu: The Malibu Lagoon Ecological Reserve is a 7.7-mile loop that circles the lagoon in Malibu. This trail is great since it’s mostly flat and only has a couple of hills.
Orange County: Orange County Regional Parks offers over 300 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more. If you’re looking for a challenge, try the San Joaquin Trail, which is an 8.3-mile hike that goes through California’s largest canyon.
If we were to try and answer the question as to what is the best state for running trails, it would be pretty difficult to decide. Almost every single state has iconic and gorgeous locations to run in.
We hope that this article has given you some good ideas for what state you can visit for some awesome running trails! We wish you the best in your running journey and hope that you meet any goals that you might have set! Below is a short FAQ to answer some of the more common questions you might have.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get your last-minute questions answered here!
How Do I Find The Best Running Trails?
Finding the right trail for you is all about knowing your preferences and needs. Consider first what kind of trails you have enjoyed in the past – do you prefer paved paths, dirt roads, or wooded areas? What kind of climates and terrains do you enjoy?
It can also be important to consider the areas you have available to you, as well as how difficult they will be able to access. If you live in a city, it might be difficult to drive a long way out into nature for one single run.
Is Trail Running Popular?
Trail running is becoming increasingly popular, especially among those who love being outdoors. There are now many races held on trails throughout the world. These include marathons, ultramarathons, half-marathons, 10k runs, etc.
One thing that makes trail running so popular is its ability to take place in almost any terrain. You can run on grassy fields, rocky mountainsides, sandy beaches, and even frozen lakes. This connection to nature is the main reason that trail running will never go out of fashion.
How Do I Get Started?
As mentioned above, trail running is very accessible to anyone regardless of their fitness level. That said, there are still certain precautions that you should follow when beginning your trail running journey.
For starters, it’s recommended that you start slowly, and also that you take your time when building up the distances that you are running. Secondly, you’ll want to make sure that you start with smaller routes that will allow you to keep yourself both challenged and safe.