Every Runner has as least one favorite place to run. I have fallen in love with a few places over my 10 plus years of running. You will find them below.
1. Rattlesnake National Recreation Area – Missoula, MT.
To Say I fell in love with this place is an understatement. I would run here every day of my life if I could. (And I did during the summers in college) The Rattlesnake NRA, or The ‘sanke as locals call it, is a good sized trail system that offers everything from very easy to very challenging. You want to do a long run on a fairly flat, unpaved surface?, the ‘snake has it, 15 miles one way. You want to run to the top of a mountain? Just pick one and go. What you discover each and every run here will take your breath away.
2. The Flume Trail – Black Hills, SD.
First, if you have never been to the Black Hills, go now. This place has some of the best trails in the world. The Flume Trail is my favorite. It is a rough, single track, foot traffic only trail, 12 – 15 miles in length, depending on what route you follow. It follows along the path of an old logging flume from Sheridan Lake to Rockerville, SD. Hence the name, The Flume Trail. The trail does see a fair bit of use but still seems wild and natural at the same time. So if you ever find you self in the Black Hills, look for Trail #50
3. Mickelson Trail – Black Hills, SD
A second trail from my college days in SD. This trail is a rails-to-trails trail and by default wide and never very steep. During the school year I did most of my Sunday long runs on this 110 mile beauty, save when there was a lot of snow on the ground. The Mickelson Trail runs North-South through the Black Hills starting in Edgemont and ending in Deadwood, while making its way through many small towns, thus it is very accessible. If you are running between Custer and Hill City, you go by Crazy Horse but that’s not the only sight worth seeing along the trail. Nature is at its best here and easily enjoyable
4. Petersburg National Battlefield – Petersburg, VA
I don’t know how I fell in love with running in a Battlefield, but I did. I found I could let my mind wander here and just run. Petersburg National Battlefield is split up into many units in and around Petersburg, VA. I feel in love with the part that lies adjacent to Fort Lee. I would say there are about 10 total miles of trail (not counting the road) in the battlefield and most of it is dirt or gravel. The main loop works its way around the good majority of the battlefield and runs past some of the sites of significance. The trails are good all year around, and especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colors. There is an entry fee unless your military, but its totally worth the price to go run and explore the battlefield.