Running is a major sport, and for many, a big-city marathon is where they are at their happiest. For other runners, though, it’s an isolated trail, full of challenges and wilderness that maximize their enjoyment. It’s for this latter runner that this article is written. Here’s a look at the top destinations on the planet for trail running.
An early morning jog next to Mount Kenya should be on any trail runner’s bucket list. If you love spotting wildlife during your trail runs, you can’t do much better than spotting elephants, giraffes and zebras as you jog through the 55,000-acre Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which hosts a marathon called Safaricom every June for 1,000 trail runners from all over the world. Plus, the Safaricom Marathon raises money for conservation and community efforts throughout Kenya.
A trail run through France’s Chamonix will take you through the city’s central square, alongside hamlets and valleys, and through the meadows found in the high alpines. It’s definitely not for the weak of heart, as a full trail loop includes over 8,000 feet in elevation changes.
Lincoln, New Hampshire
If climbing is part of your ideal trail running experience, look no further than Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The route up the mountain will result in a 2,200 foot vertical gain in a little over 5 miles. The grade will vary from 10 percent to as steep as 40 percent. If you’d like to tell your running buddies back home that you’ve literally run “up” a mountain, this is the trail for you.
Tahoe Rim Trail
The Tahoe Rim Trail is 165 miles long and essentially offers trail runners three different environments to run in—deserts, snow-covered plains, and green forest. Most of the time you’ll be jogging with Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains in view, so it’s a truly picturesque experience.
Each year, Brazil’s Para state hosts a jungle marathon that is the ultimate in extreme trail running. Not only will you be jogging in 100-degree temperatures, but you’ll be doing it in dense jungles while crossing rivers and dodging giant snakes and mosquitos.