Culture

Destination America: The Ultimate Running Guide

There's no better way to see America the Beautiful than during a run.

There’s no better way to see America the Beautiful than during a run.

Runners tend to have the personalities of explorers. We love seeing new places during our runs, we sign up for destination races every year, and in some cases, we even plan vacations around the running opportunities that are offered. What better way to see a place for the first time than on a run?

With that in mind, Competitor started a series highlighting different locales that are runner-friendly, complete with routes to run, races to sign up for and even the best spots to eat, drink and shop.

Here’s the list of locations that we’ve hit so far. Bookmark this page, as we’ll be continually adding new places. Safe travels, and don’t forget your running shoes!

Albuquerque, New Mexico – The city’s climate and elevation has attracted professional runners, but there’s plenty for any level of athlete to enjoy.

Ashland, Oregon – Near the Oregon-California border, this small town has great trails, from Lithis Park to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Asheville, North Carolina – The town of 80,000 has been making its own mark as a mountain destination for endurance athletes.

Aspen, Colorado – A summertime favorite, this small ski town 8,000 feet above sea level is filled with paved paths and mountain trails of varying difficulties.

Bend, Oregon – On the eastern flanks of the Cascade Mountains, Bend is a trail running utopia that endurance athletes are falling in love with.

Boulder, Colorado – It is one of the headquarters for elite endurance athletes in the United States, and there are plenty of reasons why.

Flagstaff, Arizona – One of the mildest high-elevation spots in America, this town has a vibrant running community and the races and routes to support it.

Las Vegas, Nevada – The Strip gets all the attention, but venture away from Las Vegas’ calling card and find a great place for runners to explore.

Madison, Wisconsin — The college town has produced many distance-running stars, but has something for every level of runner.

Marin County, California – Just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area’s big cities is this quiet county with unforgettable routes and a fantastic running community.

Moab, Utah – The trail running scenery is without peer, and the growing community has led to top-notch races on those unforgettable trails.

Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii — Featuring the Kalalau Trail and its 11 miles of stunning beauty, this should be on every trail runner’s bucket list.

North Conway, New Hampshire – A charming, rural New England town with miles of hilly fire roads, trails and more.

San Antonio, Texas — The second-largest city in Texas takes care of its endurance athletes.

San Diego County, California — Ideal year-round running weather, amazing scenery and a vibrant endurance sports culture makes this a runner’s paradise.

Santa Barbara, California – Tucked in between the beaches and the mountains, this Southern California destination is hard to beat for its routes, its races and its weather.

Santa Fe, New Mexico — At 7,000 feet elevation and trails “to treasure,” Santa Fe is a great getaway for runners.

Ulster County, New York – It’s far enough from New York City to get away from civilization and enjoy fantastic running routes at places like Minnewaska State Park.