Why subject your shins to pavement and your lungs to traffic smog when you can run on a trail with soft ground and fresh air, instead? Trail running is a great way to combine a serious workout with scenic places. If you’re looking for a multi-day training session, consider running towards one of these trail running destinations where you can rest for the night and take some time to soak up your surroundings.
Our friends at OOFOS make recovery shoes that are perfect for resting your feet after a day on the trail, and hitting the dirt again in the morning. They helped us round up these campsites for trail runners, so that you can recover properly with a good night’s sleep and with OOFOS.
Camping + Trail Running Destinations
Check out these six trail running destinations across the U.S. and where to camp after you’re done pounding the trails.
1. Tahoe Rim Trail, California + Nevada
New runners and champions alike love this 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains, an ultimate trail running destination. Thanks to various access points, it’s also a great place to camp. You can drop your food and toiletries in a requisite bear barrel at a site before you begin running so you won’t need to run with the weight of a backpack.
Camping: Reserve a spot at one of three campgrounds in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park; North Canyon, Hobart or Marlette Peak campgrounds. Or, grab a self-issued permit for Desolation Wilderness for free at the trailhead before heading in.
2. Tomkins Cove, New York
Have you heard of the North Face Endurance Challenge? This series of trail races takes place in May at Tomkins Cove, NY. Run the Catskills through Bear Mountain State Park here with friends on one of the loops from 5 to 50 miles long. This section of the Appalachian trail is only 40 miles away from Manhattan and offers easy to difficult options, so it’s a great trail running destination whether you’re training for a 5K or working your way to an off-road marathon.
Camping: Head next door to Harriman State Park where you can grab a hot shower before enjoying a campfire dinner of fresh fish caught right out the lake. Make reservations through New York State Parks.
3. Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wisconsin
People don’t often think of this little-known and well-loved area of the U.S. as a trail running destination. They’re missing out! Wisconsin offers 1,200 miles of the Ice Age Trail with varied terrain thanks to glacial runoff from the past. Here you’ll encounter ponds, prairies, forests and wetlands — your eyes will never get bored!
Camping: Grab a copy of the Ice Age Trail Guidebook and pack it in with you. This great resource will help you find the perfect campsite along your route.
You’ll find 4 type of campsites here. Primitive ones offer no facilities and require no permits or reservations. Just set up camp over 200 feet away from water and 200+ feet away from the trail on IAT anywhere north of Langlade County. Dispersed camping areas were created just for long-distance hikers so you can only stay here if you’re out for more than two nights.
Backpacker camping areas exist on trail sections in Kettle Moraine State Forest and Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Areas. They offer pit toilets, fire rings and lean-to’s and some require reservations and fees.
You’ll also come upon traditional campgrounds that are great for one-or-two-night outings that include bathrooms showers, firewood for sale and other car camping amenities. Check the guidebook before deciding on your best campsite options. Make reservations through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
4. McKenzie River Trail, Oregon
The Cascade Mountains offer a unique landscape of old growth forests and elevation. Follow this 27-mile long trail along the riverbanks of its namesake waterway as you cross log bridges and dodge downed trees. The old growth is stunningly massive and green but don’t spend too much time looking up or you’ll trip on one of the many steep inclines. This is a great training run if you’re planning a mountainous race in the future.
Camping: Willamette National Forest features many coveted campsites. Visit Olallie Campground on your way from the northern trail head and stop at nearby McKenzie Bridge Campground where you can access the water via the public boat launch for a trout fishing break.
Four other campgrounds dot the trail so you’re sure to find one when you’re ready to kick off your running shoes. Make reservations ahead of time.
5. Double Oak Trail, Alabama
The more than 50-mile trail network at Oak Mountain State Park provides perfect opportunities for shorter runs, or dig in and stay for a few days. Double Oak Mountain Loop offers technical terrain with sudden rocky uphill climbs that end in gorgeous views like the top of King’s Chair. Keep an eye out for mountain bikers and horse poop on these unique multi-use trails!
Camping: Visit Hoover RV Park to rest your tired body and charge your phone for the podcasts that keep you company on long runs. The park offers several pet-friendly campgrounds so you can bring your furry running buddy on your great Alabama adventure. Book campgrounds here.
6. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas
This aptly named recreation area is known for vibrant fall foliage thanks to the resident bigtooth maple trees. The park also features beautiful wildflowers and does not get cell phone services so it’s a perfect place to get away from it all. Enjoy a run on the 10 miles of trails here, part of which follows a 2,200-foot cliff that’ll make you wish you’d packed a selfie stick.
Camping: When you’re done running for the day, take a dip in Sabinal River or Can Creek before going to one of 36 pre-reserved campsites at Lost Maples State Natural Area. Most have electricity and water but 6 primitive options are available if you prefer a more rugged, less crowded experience. The Dyrt user Emily M. recommends reserving campsites well ahead of time for better access to the park.
Grab your favorite trainers and a hydration pack so you’re ready to hit the road to these six trail running destinations. Check conditions before heading out so you’re prepared for potential trail closures or fire bans that may affect your trip.
Trail runners love OOFOS Recovery Shoes. Learn more about how their OOfoam absorbs 37% more shock than traditional footwear, so you can get back out there for more miles.