10 Beautiful Trails for Hiking and Running

Kevin Gray
by Kevin Gray
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10 Beautiful Trails for Hiking and Running

When the weather’s nice, most runners and walkers choose to head outdoors, whether exploring their neighborhood or heading for a nearby trail. Of course, some trails are better than others. Because some trails include breathtaking ocean views, verdant pastures, mountain terrain and opportunities to see a city like you’ve never seen it before.

If you’re looking to hike or jog or do a run-walk combo with a beautiful backdrop, read on to find 10 of the best trails in the country.

1. AWA’AWAPUHI TRAIL
Kauai, Hawaii

Run along this famous stretch of Hawaii coastline. The 6.5-mile round trip will provides some of the island’s best views. You’ll start at just above 4,000 feet and descend to 2,500 before turning around, so leave something in the tank for the uphill run home.

2. WILDWOOD TRAIL
Portland, Oregon

The 30-mile long National Recreation Trail cuts through lush forests and colorful wildflowers, offering plenty to look at as you move along the well-maintained, hard-packed path. The further you get from the trailhead, the less populated the trail becomes — so keep on chugging for a more peaceful run.

3. SILVER STRAND
San Diego, California

This attractive coastal route takes you along 7 miles of prime San Diego waterfront. Start in Coronado — and take a peek at the famous Hotel de Coronado while there — then continue south down to Imperial Beach. If you’re up for a return trip, you can make it a 14-mile day, while peppering in some relaxing beach time if you need a breather.

4. LAKEFRONT TRAIL
Chicago, Illinois

Photo Credit: Allenscottwalker

Often lost amidst the skyline, sports and world-class dining is Chicago’s enviable shoreline. See it for yourself by visiting the Lakefront Trail, which offers 18 miles of paved running real estate beside beaches, parks, harbors and lakeside neighborhoods.

5. MESA TRAIL
Boulder, Colorado

Photo Credit: CAJC

Navigate through Boulder’s iconic Flatiron rock formations and undulating foothills, as you explore this 13.4-mile round trip trail. Forests, meadows and probably some wildlife will make your acquaintance along the way.

6. GRIFFITH PARK
Los Angeles, California

Located high above L.A., and with great views of the city below, Griffith Park is an outdoor sanctuary for walkers, runners and hikers. The 35 trails provide a little bit of everything, but runners will want to plan their route in advance to find jogger-friendly paths.

7. TAHOE RIM TRAIL
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

Photo Credit: Turi Baker

This scenic Sierra Nevada Mountain trail is 165 miles long, in the event you’re feeling extra ambitious. But assuming you’re not an ultra-marathoner, you can bend the distance (and elevation) to your will by parking at various points along the trail. Navigate through meadows and trees, and enjoy the fresh air, while keeping the blue waters of Lake Tahoe in your sights.

8. INNER BASIN TRAIL
Flagstaff, Arizona

Located inside the Coconino National Forest, the Inner Basin Trail is 3.9-miles of peaceful, forested running path at elevations up to 10,000 feet. Connect with nearby loops to extend your journey, and you’ll find even more alpine trees and wildflowers, as you look onto the San Francisco Peaks.

9. PINE MOUNTAIN TRAIL
Pine Mountain, Georgia

Photo Credit: Shaun Taylor

Located within FDR State Park, the Pine Mountain Trail covers 23 scenic miles of trails and loops. Choose your own adventure (and distance) as you wind through dense forests and run alongside streams. You’ll likely spot some hikers and backpackers along the way, as well as the occasional wild turkey or deer.


READ MORE > HOW TRAIL RUNNING IS DIFFERENT FROM ROAD RUNNING


10. APPALACHIAN TRAIL
Maine to Georgia

Photo Credit: JR P

The Appalachian Trail stretches nearly 2,200 miles and passes through 14 states, eight national forests and six national parks. So you’ve got ample opportunities to find yourself on it. Most people opt for day hikes, but multi-day excursions are popular, if you’re up for it. Of course, if you really want to cover some ground, you could try running the entire trail. The record for doing so, currently held by Joe McConaughy, is a blazing fast 45 days and 12 hours.

About the Author

Kevin Gray
Kevin Gray

Kevin is a Dallas-based writer who spends the majority of his weekends on a bike. His less healthy pursuits can be found at Bevvy and Cocktail Enthusiast.

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