Nothing quite beats the colors and freshness of running in the fall. Here we take a run through our favorite foliage runs to get in before Thanksgiving.
Throughout the year, nature puts on some beautiful displays for us runners. Whether it’s crisp mornings and awe inspiring sunsets, or the brutal, icy cold of winter - hey, they can’t all be winners. But of all the seasons, fall is the easiest to love. The weather and temperature is right in the sweet spot between blazing summer sun and blizzard whiteouts, while the mesmerising colors make it a pleasure to get outside.
Acadia National Park Carriage Roads, Maine
As one of the top ten most visited National Parks in the country, Acadia sees a lot of visitors this time of year. However, the woodland carriage roads in Acadia are completely free of vehicles and span some 57 miles into the wilderness. Burrow deep into these roads, or follow one of the trails that hugs the banks of one of the park’s stunning lakes to soak in reflected colours from the edge of the water. Trail running has never been so tranquil.
The Emerald Necklace, Massachusetts
Not all foliage runs have to see you heading out into the boonies. Boston’s Emerald Necklace is a chain of parks that form 10 miles of greenway. Taking in Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum, you’ll explore a colourful thread through the city before ending up in Franklin Park. Finish the chain of nine parks before taking a bus back to your hotel, or doubling down for the long slog back to the beginning.
Trapp Family Lodge Trails, Vermont
If you’re looking for some serious trails, then the Trapp Family Lodge is where you need to be. This iconic landmark is tucked away in Stowe, Vermont and is famous as a cross-country skiing location. However, before the snow falls, this landscape is the perfect wilderness to take in the patchwork hillsides awash with yellows, reds and oranges. You’ll experience some dramatic terrain out on the trails here including all manner of inclines, twists and turns through beautiful leaf littered woods.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina
This national park has one of the longest seasons for fall foliage making it a guaranteed favorite for some pre-Thanksgiving runs. It’s also a hugely popular spot for mainstream visitors, but solace can be found in lesser known spots Roaring Fork nature loop, Balsam Mountain and Blue Ridge Parkway. For serious trail runners, you might want to take on Porters Creek, Spruce Flats Falls or the Charles Bunion that’s accessed by the Appalachian trail.
Champoeg State Park, Oregon
This might seem an incredibly niche location for a fall foliage run, but for good reason. Flying the flag for the west coast, this Oregon spot is home to the Autumn Leaves 50/50 Ultra. Being both competitive and recreational, this event weaves along the Willamette river where you’ll take in the dappled light beneath golden brown and auburn maple leaves. If you’re looking for a challenge, albeit one set in incredible surroundings, then Oregon could be the long distance event you’ve been waiting for.