Running Trails Near Me

If trail running is in your heart, you probably wonder what the best ways are to find new running trails. For me, I like to find the runnings trails near me both at home and when I travel. When I lived in East Tennessee, there were more trails than I could wrap my head around. However, when I moved to Chicago, I was stuck in a much different problem. Too little trails with not a lot of information. In order to find good running trails, it takes some time up front, a willingness to get lost and a sense of curiosity.


Step #1 – Google It

I’m not being a jerk when I say this, but legit you should google ‘running trails near me.’ This will at least provide you with a list of resources that can start your journey. If I’m staying at a hotel on a road trip, I’ll find the closest running trails near the hotel. You’d be surprised at the neat little trails you’ll find even in small towns. I’d also suggest jumping into trail running groups on Facebook. They’re a huge resource when you’e traveling and looking for new trails to run.

Step #2 – Beware

I’ve found in the midwest, that lots of things are called ‘trails’ that we would refer to as a ‘greenway’ in the South. Around Chicago there are lots of trails that are wide, paved paths. This is certainly not what I’m looking for when searching trails. Be sure to check out a description of the trail before heading out to the trail head or, even better, check out the images of the location.

Step #3 – Stalk It

What I mean by this is once you’ve found what seems to be reasonable running trails, bring the location up on Google Maps. If the trail location isn’t surrounded by green, then I would almost guarantee it’s a no go.


Step #4 – Print the Map!

Let’s all stay sexy and not get murdered. Be sure to print a map of the trails. A lot of running trails have poorly marked trails so you need at least a basic map to navigate.  I’d encourage to stay on the marked trails if it’s your first time hitting a specific spot. One of the running trails near me, Palos Trails has so many unmarked trails! I would have totally gotten lost my first time there if I didn’t have my map.

Step #5 – Find the Trailhead

This is sometimes an adventure in and of itself. You’ll have to ignore your GPS in some cases and rely on local signage in order to find the trailhead you’re looking for. This can take patience and a good sense of humor. When I’m looking for running trails near me on vacation, I’ve even found myself jumping into a trail running group to find some locals to provide that extra navigation I need.


Step #6 – Don’t Freak Out

Running new trails can be exhilarating and it can be terrifying. Take some time when you arrived at the trail head to get your bearings. Keeping a cool head will ensure you don’t make any rash decisions that can take you way off course. I’d also encourage taking time at any forks in the trails to make sure you’re going the right way. A couple minutes time verifying the turn is better than a half hour or more spent lost on the trails.

Step #7 – Have fun!

Don’t shoot for a FKT your first time on a brand new trail. Take the time to enjoy the trails you’re running!


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