Colorado: Exploring the Centennial State by running its trails
Colorado is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. The state offers locals and travellers a wealth of outdoor experiences from mountain hikes to cycling through lush pine forests to fishing in crystal clear lakes. In recent years, more people have been travelling to Colorado than ever before. According to a June 2018 article from the Denver Post, Colorado hit a tourism record high of 86 million visitors in 2017. Many of those people went for the exciting outdoor adventures just waiting to be explored.
One of the fastest growing sports in the United States is trail running. While it is new to many runners taking up the combination of adrenaline pumping pace and natural beauty, it is an activity that has been popular in Colorado for some time. The Centennial State is well-known amongst the trail running community. Many amateur and professional trail runners call Colorado home thanks to its miles of serene paths.
Why go trail running in Colorado?
Forests, mountains, lakes, and miles of untapped wilderness are around every corner. Trail running is not only incredibly taxing and a great workout, but doing it in the wild is something road running just can’t equal. Travellers can pack their running shoes and kit and spend an entire day running backcountry trails or even local parks that are far “wilder” than the average town greenspace. Colorado has a trail running community that is quite friendly, and they love sharing a running story as much as a couple of craft brewed IPA beers.
Trail running is much different than road running. In a destination such as Colorado, it can also be incredibly different than any trail running you have done before. Elevation and the thin air can play havoc with runners on their first time out on the trails. Runners often use much more energy while trail running despite going at a slower pace. Colorado trails are typically filled with obstacles which cannot only make running fun but dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.
Can you run all year round in Colorado?
The simple answer is yes. Colorado offers great temperatures all year round to run. Of course, in the winter when the snow falls, and the mercury drops, you will need to dress accordingly. Layers, gloves, hats, and other warm clothing is vital to trail running in Colorado during winter.
You won’t be the only person hitting the trails in winter as many of the paths get regular use from walkers, hikers, runners, and fitness junkies. While winter can be downright chilly, summer can be comfortable. The temperatures will rise, but just like in winter, you should use your best judgement when hitting the trails.
What are the best trails to run in Colorado?
Colorado has thousands of trails, and you can explore a new one on a trip to the state each day. Waterton Canyon is a popular spot for runners near Denver. The trail is part of the 486-mile Colorado Trail. The extensive trail runs to the town of Durango and features a wide route that runs alongside the South Platte River. You will see wildlife as you run along the path.
If you want to run through some elevated terrain, then the 18 Road Trails Fruita is a good place go. The slopes are perfect for trail runners wishing to experience some rougher terrain. It is also an excellent region for mountain biking, so if you want to ride rather than run, it is a good place to go. Fruita also gets you out of the city as it is a four-hour drive from Denver.
Located near the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre where popular touring bands play each year, you will find Bear Creek Lake Park. This year-round running trail is perfect for anyone who loves the great outdoors. The Mount Carbon Loop is a 6.8-mile, single-track path that is a favourite of local trail runners. Runners can pick up the Bear Creek Lake Trail which goes around most of the park when they tire of the Mount Carbon Loop. If you happen to be in Colorado during the summer and autumn, there is a good chance you will find a race taking place at the park.
Colorado is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the U.S. Whether you visit Colorado in the summer or the winter, there is always the chance to find a great running trail to explore the natural beauty. Trail running is a Rocky Mountain high like no other, and Colorado remains the king of the sport in the U.S.
Article by Drew Farmer
We are excited to announce that Drew will be a regular writer for us (bio coming soon, we’re getting there)
Drew can be contacted on his Twitter @DrewMTwitter