Things We Love: Mountain Trail Running - Orange Mud, LLC

Things We Love: Mountain Trail Running

Sometimes there’s nothing better than changing up your typical running routine and path with a trail run. The many benefits of trail running include a break from the physical stress of harder surfaces, spiritual and emotional relief, stronger muscles from extra stabilization, improved form, and faster times.  

While many of us can’t walk outside our front door onto a great running trail, there are certain trails that are worth the trip. If you live near any of the following destinations or ever vacation in these areaa, you should take advantage of what we consider to be five of the best mountain trails for running in the U.S.  

1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park - Canyon, Texas  

Runner’s World compared running in Palo Duro Canyon State Park to dashing across a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. It is believed that early Spanish explorers named the canyon “hard wood” due to the number of mesquite and juniper trees. Palo Duro is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide, and 800 feet deep—the second-largest canyon in the U.S. The 11-mile Givens, Spicer & Lowry Trail in the northernmost part of the canyon offers amazing views of the red rocks, creeks, and meadows.  

2. Rock Creek Park Washington, D.C. - Washington, D.C. offers a great escape from the city and politics with Rock Creek Park, one of the oldest federal parks. On more than 1,700 acres you’ll find 20 miles of tree-lined trails along wooded hillsides, ridges, and valleys. The two main trails are the green-blazed Western Ridge Trail and blue-blazed Valley Trail, which parallels Rock Creek and Beach Drive. Most of the remaining trails connect these two trails, making it easy to loop around. For more space, try the 13 miles of dirt and gravel equestrian trails.  

3. Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park Issaquah, Washington   If you’re looking for an easily customizable trail with diverse sights, check out Cougar Mountain. The 3,100-acre park of mature second growth forests, streams, wetlands, cliffs, and caves is on the outskirts of Seattle and contains 36 miles of trails that wander through the "Issaquah Alps.” Starting from one main point, you can follow a variety of loops to create a run of any length and difficulty. Along the way discover waterfalls, lush vegetation, boulders, and views of Lake Sammamish, the Cascades, and Bellevue, Seattle.  

4. Kalalau Trail Kauai, Hawaii

The 11-mile Kalalau trail begins at Ha'ena State Park and traverses five valleys before dropping to sea level at Kalalau Beach. The trail features waterfalls and streams cutting into the narrow valleys, white sand beaches, and ancient Hawaiian ruins. Because the trail is graded but rarely level, it can be difficult to complete. Shorter paths to Hanakapi'ai Beach include Keˆe Beach, a popular two-mile hiking trail, or Hanakoa, a four-mile uphill trek.  

5. Maah Daah Hey Trail Medora, North Dakota  

Located in the North Dakota Badlands, this 96-mile trail runs from Sully Creek State Park to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The name comes from the Mandan language and means “grandfather.” The trail actually used to be a Native American trading route. Today, you can gander at vibrant rock formations and continuous grasslands where you might even see horses.