Serious runners don’t leave the running shoes behind when they go on vacation. In fact, the most dedicated runners often choose vacation spots with superb running trails either as the main draw or part of a getaway plan. The United States has some of the finest running vacation destinations in the world. Here are some of the best.
Chicago in the summer
The 18-mile trek along Lake Michigan’s shoreline is a breath of fresh air. Cool breezes and the Chicago skyline make this a terrific summertime trail. Chicago also offers tons of other attractions, including the Natural History and Art Museums, theater, concerts, professional sports and fine dining and superb shopping along the Magnificent Mile.
Colorado’s Estes Park
Colorado has multiple running vacation spots, but none of them beat Estes Park’s Active at Altitude lodge. The spacious, relaxed accommodations have mountain views from every bedroom. Options include bed & breakfast, private rooms with full-service kitchen living room, deck and entertainment center, and group apartments. From the lodge it’s a 15-minute drive to Rocky Mountain National Park with 355 miles of trails. Run level ovals around a lake or challenge yourself on an adventure run up a mountain. Numerous forest trails are within a half mile of the lodge.
Outside magazine awarded Duluth, Minnesota, the No. 1 spot on its 2014 “The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S.” list. Criteria included the availability of green spaces, bike lanes, running trails and healthy eating options. Running is a favorite pastime of Duluth residents and visitors alike. The Lakewalk, a four-mile path alongside Lake Superior, is ideal for bikers, walkers and, of course, runners. The Superior Hiking Trail is 43 miles around Jay Cooke State Park then on to Duluth. Highlights include magnificent Lake Superior views, Spirit Mountain and Enger Tower.
The Oregon Trail
Portland, Bend and Eugene, Oregon, are all in close proximity to one another and all have great running trails. The moderate temperatures make a running vacation doable even in July. See stunning views of the city as you run along Portland’s Willamette River tree-lined trails.
It’s a Grand Canyon
What better vacation could there be than running in one of nature’s wonders? The Grand Canyon gives runners of all skill levels a challenge. North Rim temperatures average 77 degrees in the summer and South Rim temps average 84. Check the visitor center for information about trail runs of varying lengths along the rim and the ultimate rim-to-rim run. Don’t attempt a rim-to-rim run unless you’ve trained heavily for it. It’s a killer.
Mammoth Lakes, California, is where runners go to for elevation training. A favorite of the elite, including Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, Mammoth Lakes offers a wide variety of terrain and trails that make it ideal for recreational runners as well. Trails include the paved Town Loop and Lakes Basin Path. Non-paved wilderness trails in the Inyo National Forest are plentiful.