If running is your favorite pastime and you’re tired of the same trails near home, perhaps consider incorporating trail running into your travel plans. There are trails all over the world that offer spectacular scenery to go with various levels of difficulty. This is the perfect way to take a vacation while not falling behind on your fitness goals.
With so many trail-running destinations around the world, it’s difficult to pick where you should go next. There are a ton of benefits to trail running but also many risks. These are factors that should be taken into consideration before taking up this hobby. In this post, we break down our top 8 destinations while outlining what to pack and the proper gear you won’t want to leave home.
Here are a few tips for picking your next trail running destination
Ensure the trails meet your experience level. If you are new, focus on trails with lower elevations and smoother paths.
Don’t go somewhere if it’s the middle of winter (unless you want to). Look up the weather at your preferred destination to ensure you have the appropriate gear.
Ensure there are adequate accommodations at the location you plan to run, especially if it’s a multi-day run through the wilderness
Consider how remote the place you are trail-running is. This could mean it’s harder to get to a hospital or get help if something goes wrong.
Trails can range from a few miles to hundreds of miles. Know your limits and also plan the route and time you want it to take before hitting the trails.
Trials can be full of obstacles that can hurt you. They can also be in locations that are not safe. Do some research ahead of time if this is a concern to you.
Finally, make sure the destination you choose has the scenery you want to experience. Trails can range from lush forests to mountain ranges.
Trail running shoes – Shoes are extremely important for long-distance trail running. Be sure to look for shoes built for your foot type and consider the type of terrain you will be running on. Here are some great options available on Amazon.
A GPS watch is a dream gadget for any trail runner. It tracks your movement, tracks your activity, and will help you know your exact location. This is a must-have to avoid getting lost in the wilderness.
A cap or headband will help soak up the sweat while protecting you from the sun or the cold. You won’t have time to stop and apply sunscreen regularly so a cap will help reduce the impact on your skin.
High-performance sunglasses can be a much-needed accessory when spending long periods of time
A running vest is a great option for long-distance trail running. These vests allow you to carry water that is easy to drink through the straw provided, but also give you space to carry some other important items with you such as a healthy snack bar.
A headlamp could be vitally important if you are trail running. If running in the dark, it could be easy to lose the trail and lose your way, if you are far out in the wilderness this could be very dangerous.
Don’t forget some tunes while out on the trials. A set of wireless headphones is a great addition to your running gear.
A first aid kit can come in handy as it is easy to trip and fall on some trails. A full kit might not be manageable but some of the basics can fit in your running bag. These first-aid kits from Amazon are a great place to start.
Distance: 180 km or 112 miles
Why it’s great: This is probably the most well-known trail in the world for trail running or hiking in the alps. It can take over a week to complete, with rest stops along the way. Being located in the Alps, and spanning 3 different countries in Europe you get a little bit of everything here when it comes to geography. Learn more on the official website.
Distance: 49.8 KM or 31 miles
Why it’s great: The McKenzie River Trail is a can’t-miss trail for trail running enthusiasts. The wilderness of Oregon offers some of the oldest forests on earth with beautiful scenery, including waterfalls, log bridges, lava flows, and more. There is an ultramarathon here every year.
Distance: 60 km or 37.2 miles
Why it’s great: Fiordland is a region of New Zealand that offers stunning scenery and great trails for trail runners. It is one of the top trail running destinations in the world as it allows runners to see much of the scenery. This includes moss-draped forests, bird watching, mountain ranges, waterfalls, and more. The trails are man-made and well-maintained for runners.
Distance: 20.4 km or 12.7 miles
Why it’s great: Every year thousands of tourists visit Patagonia to take in the stunning scenery and natural beauty. If you are looking for a trial to run, the Lagunas Altas Loop Trail is the perfect place to start. It’s shorter compared to other entries on this list but still has tons to offer. This is not a difficult trail by any means with a steep hill at the beginning only.
Distance: 42 km or 26 miles
Why it’s great: If you are looking to get off the road and go for a run this could be the trail for you. The beauty of this run lies in the fact that it is run along the coast of South Africa. The Otter run is actually an organized event you can take part in. The trail cuts through hills, forests, and rivers and really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any trail runner. If you feel like signing up here is the website.
Distance: 120 km or 75 miles
Why it’s great: The Dolomites, in Italy, are spectacular for many reasons. With trails of all difficulty levels, it is a great place for trail running. Accessible year-round, you won’t have to worry about the weather as much. The region is steeped in history, with sites of WW1 battles and huge mountain ranges. Keep an eye out for the rifugios, and mountain huts, that offer accommodations to travelers.
Distance: 15 km or 9.3 miles
Why it’s great: The Hong Kong trail is often at the top of trail runners’ lists for Asia. This trail is far shorter than other entries on the list but still worth a go if you are visiting Hong Kong. Specifically, sections 3 & 4 are recommended for trail running. This trial is more geared towards beginners as it is of moderate difficulty. It is close to the city and not a long trek so you really don’t have to bring much gear.
Distance: 17.7 km or 11 miles
Why it’s great: You’re in Hawaii… but seriously this is a great trail for any runner to try out and the final entry of the best trail running destinations. It gets you into nature and away from the streets. The best part is it ends at a beach so you can take a dip in the ocean. The weather is welcoming year-round so make this a part of your next Hawaii beach vacation.