serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

The Best Running Trails in Raleigh, NC

posted by Chris Barber

national-trails-dayThis is a guest post by Alexis Bonari, a Serious Runner who loves using the trail running resource tool to find new local running trails.  Alexis is a freelance writer and blog junkie.  In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.  I hope you wrote this on you desktop!

It’s easy to find amazing local trails with this effective locator tool.  From the homepage , it’s the bar that reads “Find the best running trails in….” with a drop-down menu of states and other options like “District of Columbia” and “International.”  The results are extensive and include reviews with photos of the trails, so try it out to get an idea of where to run in your area.

My search for trails in North Carolina offered results that specified which cities hosted the trails, enabling me to sort out which ones were nearby in Raleigh.  True to the reviews, there were some great finds that have me coming back pretty consistently.  Check out what I found and start a local search in your state to find trails that will inspire you to keep running in the great outdoors.

Beaver Dam Trails

These trails run for about 26 miles through a dedicated state recreation area.  Thanks to the photos posted with the reviews, I knew that the rocks would pose a challenge, so I wore my serious trail shoes.  It’s not ideal for anyone with knee problems or significant foot pronation – it’s easy to trip – but for anyone who would rather run away from the beaten path, it’s a great choice.  The only other caveat is to watch out for bikes, as this seems to be mountain bike territory, but the reviews were really helpful and prepared me to keep an ear out for them.

Umstead State Park

The other suggestion for the Raleigh area was this location, which is much more friendly to runners who aren’t looking for a technical challenge.  I found it to be easy going, with wider trails and some gravel for extra stability, just as the photos indicated.  The warnings about equestrians were really helpful and recommended some more specific locations that tend to be avoided by horseback riders.  When I’m looking for a light workout, this is my new go-to sport, but the Beaver Dam location really fits my running style.

American Tobacco Trail

Friends have been recommending this trail to me and I’ve been wanting to try it, so I looked it up with the locator tool.  Thanks to the reviews, I found that this is definitely not worth the drive out to Durham.  There’s no shade and all of the photos show paved trails – it’s described as “hot, flat, and boring” and looks inferior to the other great trails recommended by the search tool.  Besides helping to find ideal place to run, this tool is useful when it comes to checking out recommendations, so be sure to take advantage of it.

See what trails are listed in your area and review the ones you’ve already run so your fellow trail runners know what they are running into!

Thanks Alexis for the guest post.  If you would like to be a guest blogger too, then just send us an email to titled “Guest Blogger” and what trail running topic you would like to write about.  The Internet, bringing people together.

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  1. Jim Ells says:

    Visiting my son in Raleigh and used this site to find some trails to run. Great info, I’m headed to Umstead!