Beautiful runs through the US’s Most Impressive Parks.
True trail runners like to be out there; feel the beauty of nature, the life of the trail. With endless possibilities in many of the greatest National Parks, they are a match made in heaven.
Here you’ll find six that offer the best of the best. Wether it’s the wonderful scenery you’re after, or the challenge of yet another mysterious or challenging trail: you won’t be disappointed!
This is by no means intended as a definite qualification of the Parks’ Trail worthiness, but the 6 described below did make our shortlist.
Read on right here, and try them one day out there!
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona
Lakeshore Drive and Northshore Road
At Arizona’s Lake Mead, hard-core runners looking for places to test their endurance will find plenty of trails leading into fantastic canyons. Most casual runners, however, are attracted to the popular area surrounding the southwest shores of sinuous Lake Mead. As a natural energizer, 11-mile Lakeshore Drive and the southern portion of Northshore Road offer pavement for firm footing as well as a perpetually scenic panorama of the lake’s clear blue waters framed against colorful distant hills and mountains. ………….
Rock Creek Park, Washington D.C.
Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail
Washington, D.C., isn’t just for politicians. Runners, too, can find much to enjoy, including several choice trails in Rock Creek Park, one of the oldest federal parks (established 1890). At just over 1,700 acres (twice that of Central Park), Rock Creek Park packs in an impressive 20 miles of dirt trails that usher runners into an assortment of tree-lined paths along wooded hillsides, ridges, and valleys that are perfect for easy hiking or a gentle jog. The blaze-marked single-track Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail are both well suited for runners ready for a moderate workout, not a marathon. ………….
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
The maze of trails in the Marin Headlands is a trail runner’s delight, offering myriad runs. One option is to scale a solid section of the Coastal Trail from Rodeo Beach, climbing into the headlands and cresting out along Wolf Ridge, then descend on the Miwok Trail to find a way through the Tennessee Valley. Another option from Rodeo Beach is to head south around Rodeo Lagoon and capture sections of the coast en route to water’s edge at the Point Bonita Lighthouse. ………….
Channel Islands National Park, California
A quintet of islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) makes up Channel Islands National Park, and each is proud to promote hiking trails that alternate between smooth and steady and rough and rugged. For runners, this means the trails are more suited to experienced cross-country runners, surefooted and well-balanced runners who can negotiate the trails at a steady clip. …………. It is only possible to reach the islands via boat or plane; the trip can take one to three hours.
Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania
Outer Line Drive Multipurpose Path
…………. Starting near the visitor center, the 6.6-mile Joseph P. Martin Trail, a wide, paved multipurpose path, parallels the scenic North and South Outer Line Drives, providing a perfect avenue for bicyclists and joggers. Sweeping across rolling hills and past re-creations of cabins troops constructed to shelter themselves from the snow and sleet, the path stretches from the visitor center past the magnificent National Memorial Arch and on to Knox’s Quarters. The trail connects with other trails to make a loop of the park’s windswept fields, filled with deer and birdsong.
- Acadia National Park, Maine
Carriage Roads 45-Miles Encircling Island
…………. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., advanced the design of 45 miles of carriage roads that encircle the isle. These roads now serve in part as excellent running trails. One pleasing stretch of about three miles wraps around Witch Hole Pond and offers a splendid path through eastern deciduous trees, including oak, maple, beech, and other hardwoods.
From the National Geographic book The 10 Best of Everything—National Parks