America’s Premier Trail Races

Try any or all of these off-road adventures this season.

Racing on trails is a liberating gift that allows runners to move beyond the comfortable realm of consistent splits, well-practiced routes, and tried-and-true race routines. In trail racing, even on familiar routes, you never really know what’s around the corner. Heat, cold, sun, shade, rain, ice, snow or dry conditions all play into trail run-ability and overall race experience, as do elevation gain and loss and congestion on the course (both human and wildlife).

So what’s a curious road racer to do? Trust your fitness and tune into nature to experience the sights, sensations, smells and sounds as you push yourself to new, often dizzying, heights!

We’ve cleaned up 12 of the country’s best trail running events, guaranteed to challenge your abilities, dazzle your senses and get you dirty. Adventure is the name of the game when it comes to these top trail races.

Rock/Creek Scenic City Trail Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

April; Chattanooga, Tenn.

Run on the mountain bike trails at  Raccoon Mountain — Scenic City’s rolling hills and Tennessee Valley views make a friendly transition for road racers looking for a trail event. A short section of asphalt at the start gives racers time to space out before hitting the singletrack, loop course that’s peppered with just enough twists, turns, roots and rocks to keep beginners and elites on their toes.

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