7 Best Trail Runs In The World

From the snow-capped peaks of America’s Pacific Northwest to the fairy tale backdrop of the Slovenian town, Bled, this list of destinations are waiting for you to leave your footprint behind in some of the best trail runs around the globe.

Running is in our blood, and running on trails is an ideal combination of the physical gratification of running, while connecting with the natural world.

A large portion of the world’s population run on a regular basis, but why stop there?. Why not plan your next holiday around your love for running and similtaneously explore the natural scenery of some of the most idyllic locations known (or perhaps not) to man?

We’ve made planning your trip a little easier by finding 7 incredible trail running locations from around the globe, so that you can just pick one from the list and focus on booking your next adventure.

On your marks…

#1
The Otter Trail, Garden Route
South Africa

Distance: 41 km one way
Elevation Gain: 2,800 metres
Nearest Airport: George Airport

South Africa’s beauty is no secret and the staggering scenic value of the Garden Route’s National Park is not only easy on the eye but also exclusive.

This running trail is located within the within the Tsitsikamma National Park, and if you are keen to add this spot to your itinerary, you’ll need to book your place one year in advance, since only 12 people per day are allowed to hike or run the trail.

Think evergreen forests, waterfalls, rivers, pristine beaches that lead to rugged coastlines and some of the rarest flora and fauna you’ll lay eyes on.

#2
Lake Bled Loop
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Distance: 6km loop
Elevation Gain: Flat
Nearest Airport: Ljubljana International Airport

Now onto something that probably served as a source of inspiration for a fairy tale…In reality, the picturesque town of Bled lies on the slopes of a mountain that melts into an unspoiled turquoise lake where a tiny island houses a church, only accessible by boat.

Take your running shoes for an outdoor excursion of a lifetime along the flat, tree-lined lakeshore and if this 6-kilometre sounds like a walk in the park, opt for an extended experience up to one of the many trails that lead into the hills.

#3
Tour du Mont Blanc
Chamonix, France

Distance: 168km loop
Elevation Gain: 9,700 metres
Nearest Airport: Geneva, Switzerland

Adventure meets luxury in the Alps. This vast running trail has proven to be quite a challenge with its rugged terrain and elevated gain en route.

Journey along the mountainsides of France, Italy and Switzerland as you take in the serene beauty of this region. Finally, reward yourself with some down-time by savouring some of the finest wine and cheese before you make your way to your next destination.

#4
Timberline Trail
Oregon, USA

Distance: 60km loop
Elevation Gain: 1,800 metres
Nearest Airport: Portland, Oregon, USA

The Pacific Northwest’s is where writer Sheryl Strayed found herself along the 1,700 kilometre Pacific Crest Trail which is linked to the Timberline Trail looping around the 3,300 metres Mount Hood.

This trail is somewhat risky along the rivers. So, when in doubt, cross over from a bridge. Timberline Trail’s near-constant snow-capped peaks and alpine meadows make this a refreshing journey that unfolds as forests rich in wildflower vegetations and waterfalls.

#5
Copper Ridge Loop
Washington, USA

Distance: 54km loop
Elevation Gain: 2,600 metres
Nearest Airport: Seattle

Down under, the Fiordland National Park located on New Zealand’s South Island is some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. The Kepler trail takes you through tranquil forests that lead to neverending lakes that are perfect for a refreshing dip.

From gravel to dirt, this well-maintained trail can be experienced from hut-to-hut where you may book your bunk for the night on your way. Do note that permits are required and that most excursions take around 4 days to complete in its loop.

#6
Kepler Track
Te Anau, New Zealand

Distance: 22km loop
Elevation Gain: 1,200 metres
Nearest Airport: Balmaceda Airport, Chile

CEO of Patagonia, Kristine Tompkins has helped preserve and protect over two million acres of land in Chile – which is now known as Patagonia Park.

You’ll start your running trail along the Aysén region’s Chacabuco Valley (accessible from the West Winds Campground) and sweep over the Northern Patagonian Ice Field as you take in the mesmerising beauty of the region’s alpine lakes, lush forests and rocky terrains.

#7
Lagunas Atlas Loop Trail
Patagonia, Chile

Distance: 22km loop
Elevation Gain: 1,200 metres
Nearest Airport: Balmaceda Airport, Chile

CEO of Patagonia, Kristine Tompkins has helped preserve and protect over two million acres of land in Chile – which is now known as Patagonia Park.

You’ll start your running trail along the Aysén region’s Chacabuco Valley (accessible from the West Winds Campground) and sweep over the Northern Patagonian Ice Field as you take in the mesmerising beauty of the region’s alpine lakes, lush forests and rocky terrains.

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