Before we get into these routes, one must first understand what it is about this sport that makes it so popular. Running can be a great way to stay in shape and there are many different running trails across America that offer beautiful scenery and a great workout.
From challenging trails with lots of hills and obstacles, or more leisurely paths through the woods, these trails are sure to please. So lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement for a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise.
If you’re a bold traveler, you’ll want to experience three sorts of challenges on your journey: biking trails, hiking routes, and of course running paths. Apart from that, prepare your stay in a tent to make your journey more adventurous and closer to nature.
It’s been said that working out can be dry at times, so try exercising outside in a lovely running path with a stunning vista to liven things up.
Thus, here is a list of the gorgeous running routes in America that are actually part of the greatest half marathons held in the United States. They’re definitely worth a look.
Table of Contents
- Most Beautiful & Best Running Trails in the USA
- Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
- Lakefront Trail, Chicago, Illinois
- Wildwood Trail, Portland, Oregon
- Broken Hill Trail, San Diego, California
- Mesa Trail, Boulder, Colorado
- Venetian Causeway, Miami, Florida
- Hidden Valley Trail, Moab, Utah
- McKenzie River Trail, Eugene, Oregon
- The Presidio, San Francisco, California
- Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas
- Hollywood Loop, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California
- Charles River Esplanade, Boston, Massachusetts
- Shut-In Trail, Asheville, North Carolina
- Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC
- Central Park, New York, New York
- The Pacific Crest Trail
- Laurel Highlands National Scenic Trail Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
- Appalachian Trail Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine
Most Beautiful & Best Running Trails in the USA
Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
The Kalalau Trail, Kauai is considered one of the most beautiful routes to run in the United States, located on Kauai’s Coast. The trail is surrounded by gorgeous lush green tropical forest and is a length of 11 miles. Although the running trail is a little rugged, it gets more slippery when it rains as a result of the tropical climate.
The Hawaiian Islands are a wonderful place to visit since they provide various activities and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The only challenge, if you want to call it that, is that everything happens at such a rapid pace.
It’s recommended for first-timers to go on short excursions up to 4-5 miles long for people who want to experience something different. The Kalalau Trail is a coastal trail that features ancient Hawaiian Ruins, towering sea cliffs, and several scenic viewpoints.
The nearby Kalalau Beach is also a great spot to take a break, relax, and enjoy the view. The Kalalau Trail is the only land access to the Na Pali Coast on the island so if you are willing to put in some extra work, you’ll get a chance to see some of the most untouched beautiful scenery and even ancient Hawaiian ruins.
What’s not to love about that?
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Lakefront Trail, Chicago, Illinois
This terrific trail is being used by both the bikers and runners. It’s one of the most beautiful places to run in the Midwest, situated in front of Lake Michigan which is around 18.5 miles long.
The amazing view of this running route is surrounded by Chicago’s skyscrapers – they’re simply out of this world!
The trails have a modernized touch of the Chicago city buzz and are properly manicured by beautiful parks which make you feel really good. The running trail also covers the most iconic buildings of Chicago like the Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier, John Hancock Centre, and much more.
This trail is paved and features no elevation gain so it’s a good option for both beginner and experienced runners.
Like what you are hearing? Check out these fun things to do in Chicago to make the most of your trip to the Windy City.
Wildwood Trail, Portland, Oregon
This beautiful running path is bordered by a thick forest region and runs through the heart of Portland, Oregon.
The trail is approximately 30 miles long and includes some spectacular sights such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington Park, the magnificent zoo in the forest sector, and the forest reserve, which has one of the widest species of bird and mammal life.
The trail’s diverse beauty will give you a sense of wonder and motivation as your cruise through the rolling terrain, mountain ridges, and forest trees that you may never experience again.
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Broken Hill Trail, San Diego, California
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego has an extremely tiny length of running trail. It is surrounded by some incredible natural beauty, which is the trial’s major attraction.
This trail is ideal for novice runners who typically speed up when they reach the official length of 1.5 miles, as they will have the opportunity to explore Torrey Pines while jogging slowly.
Apart from that, the trail faces the Pacific Ocean, and nighttime jogging is particularly pleasant because the temperature is usually mild.
Mesa Trail, Boulder, Colorado
This Colorado trail is considered one of the most inspirational hiking trails in the United States. The trail is 6.7 miles long and the city of Boulder is also popularly known as the mecca for marathoners as most athletes or runners perform their training sessions on this running trail only.
This is one of the best trail running destinations in the US which is surrounded by tiny foothills and gives you a rugged feeling as well. Apart from running, the athletes sometimes make their running trail a bit challenging by climbing up the Green Mountain and Bear Peak in the Rocky Mountains.
Venetian Causeway, Miami, Florida
If you love the summers of Miami, then you must not miss the amazing view of the city that you will get from the famous Venetian Causeway. The trail is constructed in an extremely modernized way and passes through a series of bridges and other man-made islands.
This running trail is a great place to ride, and it’s also popular with joggers who use the beautiful seaside path for exploration and enjoyment. If you’re an early riser, you won’t want to miss the stunning view of the sun rising. Check out these best things to do in Miami during your visit.
Hidden Valley Trail, Moab, Utah
This is a really strenuous route since you must climb 600 feet in just 6 miles to reach the top, and once you’ve reached it, the sight of the area is out of this world.
The site is encircled by rust-colored sandstone that’s breathtaking. You have two alternatives after running for around 2 kilometers each. If you prefer dusty canyons and dry conditions, this will be one of the best running trails for you to explore.
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, there’s no better place than Moab, Utah. With its towering red rock cliffs and winding river canyons, Moab is a paradise for hikers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Check out these other best places to visit in Utah to make the most of your visit.
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McKenzie River Trail, Eugene, Oregon
The McKenzie River Trail is a gorgeous running route is found between the Cascade Mountains and is multifunctional in that it is utilized by hikers, bikers, and runners.
The distance of the McKenzie River Trail is about 27 kilometers and the trail winds through several large forest trees. McKenzie River Trail is a continuous dirt footpath stretching from Eugene to several tourist destinations like the Belknap Hot Springs on the northern edge of the Williamette National Forest.
You’ll get to see a variety of things, such as waterfalls, blue pools, ancient thick forests, log bridges, and of course the hot springs.
You may stay at a nearby accommodation and enjoy your weekend getaway by booking a room at one of the many great lodges at this trail-running sanctuary in Oregon.
The Presidio, San Francisco, California
The city of San Francisco is famous for its amazing running routes which are built across the Golden Gate National Recreation Area covering the old military base and other beautiful sights.
This is one of the best running routes in the US as it does not have a plain path instead it is a bit hilly and has steep climbs making it a great option for more experienced runners. The trail is surrounded by beautiful cypress trees which make the scenic view quite amazing.
Avoid running in foggy weather, which can happen quite frequently in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas
The stunning 10-mile-long running route and boardwalk are located on the Colorado River’s water shore.
Austin Mayor Roy Butler, his wife Ann, and former first lady Lady Bird Johnson created it. It has now become one of the most popular areas for exercise such as running and cycling since it was erected. The route goes through Austin’s skyscrapers, ballparks, and folk activities.
Hollywood Loop, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California
Greater Los Angeles offers an excellent location for nature enthusiasts, hikers, campers, and photographers. Griffith Park is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in North America, with numerous running and hiking paths.
The trek is 53 kilometers long, which makes it difficult for runners to accomplish the whole distance. The height of elevation is also around 809 feet, making it a tough challenge for hikers. Because the climate here is usually mild, the run may be done at all times of the year.
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Charles River Esplanade, Boston, Massachusetts
This is one of the amazing running routes in America situated near the Charles River is a combination of natural and historic beauty. The path is around 17 miles long and covers some really beautiful bridges in Boston and Cambridge.
Apart from that the trail also covers the Hatch Shell and the Museum of Science. The trail has a beautiful backdrop of Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and Fenway. The bridges actually have shortened the route of the trail and the best season for a perfect run is the spring season when the weather is mild.
Shut-In Trail, Asheville, North Carolina
This path links George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate to his hunting lodge at Mount Pisgah Ridge at Buck Spring, which was built in 1890 and is around 18 kilometers long. This is one of the finest places to run in America, which also incorporates natural and historical beauty.
The shut-in trail is an excellent spot in the fall as you run through the historic Blue Ridge Mountains. The leaves change color to create an amazing landscape, and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep things interesting. Make sure you add this trail to your Asheville itinerary.
Want to make a trip out of it? Book your accommodation for one of these best areas to stay in while visiting Asheville, North Carolina.
Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC
Rock Creek Park is a beautiful place to go for a run, and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular running routes in America.
The park offers plenty of scenic views, and it’s also well-maintained, ensuring that runners have a safe and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re looking for a challenging route or a relaxing one, you can find it here at this historic park in Washington, DC.
The easiest way to get to Rock Creek Park is by taking the Metro. The park is located close to the Tenleytown-AU Metro station, so it’s easy to access. You can also drive to the park, but there is limited parking availability. If you do drive, I recommend arriving early to ensure that you get a parking spot.
Central Park, New York, New York
This is the only location in New York City where you will find breathtaking natural beauty, which is why it is a favorite among runners and breathers of fresh air.
This is also one of America’s running routes seen in movies, marathons, and TV shows. Its expansive gardens, ponds, and views of New York City make it, unlike any other place to run in the world.
The route was developed in Manhattan’s historic Central Park, where many Hollywood films have been shot. The longest loop of the trail covers approximately half of the park at 6 miles.
The Pacific Crest Trail
If you’re looking for a running trail that will take you through some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery in America, look no further than the Pacific Crest Trail.
This lengthy trail (2,663 miles long) stretches from Mexico to Canada and takes runners through California, Oregon, and Washington. You’ll go from desert to mountain ranges and everything in between, so it’s perfect for those who want to experience as many different landscapes as possible.
Laurel Highlands National Scenic Trail Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
The Laurel Highlands Trail is a 70-mile trail that winds through the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. The trail starts in Ohiopyle and ends in Connellsville. The trail is popular for hiking, biking, and running. The trail is well-maintained and has a moderate elevation gain, making it a good blend of strenuous effort for both experienced and beginner runners.
If you are a trail runner, you’ll enjoy this spot as the trail occasionally emerges from the forest to showcase great views Youghiogheny River and valley.
If you are looking for a place to stay near the trail, there are plenty of options. The Ohiopyle State Park offers camping and cabins, and there are also a number of inns and bed-and-breakfasts in the area.
Appalachian Trail Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine
We are saving the best for last, which is the historic Appalachian National Scenic Trail which spans from the Appalachian Trail Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only the longest-running route in America but also one of the most beautiful with an array of landscapes and ecosystems.
The entire trail is around 2,200 miles long, so it’s definitely a commitment, but if you have the time, it is definitely worth it to experience everything the Appalachian Trail has to offer.
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