Running is one of the best and most popular ways to stay fit. It’s free, it’s easy, and, assuming that you’ve been given the okay from your doctor, it’s one of the best methods of exercise available to improve your overall fitness level.
While running on a treadmill at home or in the gym is fine and will certainly help you achieve your fitness goal, it can become more than a little mundane and boring. Unfortunately, when you get bored with an exercise program it can become more difficult to feel motivated.
Luckily, there are many places around the United States where runners can enjoy the outdoors and a variety of beautiful scenery while utilizing well-maintained urban trails and the more rugged dirt paths that can accompany them. Not only do these trails serve as a way for you to ditch the gym when you want to run, but using them is great way to meet other like-minded runners in your area and embrace the health benefits that come with trail running.
Here are a few of the best places in the country to take advantage of amazing urban trails.
The runners who call Minnesota’s largest city home have a lot to be excited about. The beautiful trail called Grand Rounds is more than 50 miles long and is also recognized as a National Scenic Byway. One of the most popular parts of this trail is known as Chain of Lakes. This portion of the trail is just a little over 13 miles in length and offers runners exceptional views of the lakes. It has the advantage of abundant, natural shade. Purchase one of the many heart rate watches available to keep track of your fitness while running on this beautiful trail. Visit the Minneapolis Parks website for more information.
San Diego, California
San Diego is located on one of the most crowded areas of the California coastline, but as a very active and health-conscious city, San Diego also offers some amazing places to run. The Silver Strand trail begins in Coronado and ends at Imperial Beach. As a 15-mile round-trip journey, this trail hugs the coastline the entire way and provides some incredible views. The abundant hotels, restaurants, and shops along the way make the Silver Strand trail perfect for those times when you want to take a break, cool off, and enjoy the scenery.
Known around the country for its outdoorsy lifestyle and its fair share of unique and eccentric citizens, Portland is a beautiful city perched on the banks of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.
Active residents of Portland have a number of running trails to choose from, but the best and most scenic of these is the Wildwood Trail. Located to the west of downtown Portland, the Wildwood Trail is 28 miles long and features both paved and dirt paths. Open year-round, this trail is at its most beautiful during the fall when the local trees show off their beautiful colors.
Any city with a young and vibrant population is bound to have abundantly available outdoor activities and Austin is no exception. The city is rife with beautiful parks and scenic areas that just beg to be explored. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of the most popular areas in Austin and is hailed as an urban oasis. With only a little more than 7 miles of trails, Barton Creek Greenbelt makes up for its lack of distance with a number of activities along the way. In addition to running the trails people can swim in the creek and test out their climbing skills on the number of rock overhangs.
Whether you live in an urban area or a small town, there are always great ways to leave the gym behind and exercise in the great outdoors. Consider trail running if you’re looking for a fun and interesting way to burn calories and get fit.