Midwest Running week 1:
No sense in talking about trail running without giving some top spots in the Midwest (Colorado included) to run. Remember, the beauty of trail running is that it can be a sport to enjoy almost anywhere by anyone. With some insider information you can easily heighten your experience if you have the inside scoop on where to run. So, with much-ado here is a top ten of places to run in the Midwest:
10) Kanopolis State Park, Kansas
This trail has seen a few runners. In fact, there is an event that features a 26.2 mile and 50 mile grueling trail race and marathon for those who feel inclined during the early months of April. Information can be found here http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/State-Parks/Locations/Kanopolis/Trails. For anyone else, the place itself gives way to Kansas scenery and wildlife.
9) Castlewood State Park, Missouri
Castlewood State Park is tucked away along side the Meramec River close to St. Louis, Missouri. The area is known for its steep trails and scenic routes. In addition, there are also a few “easier” routes with great scenery as well. Anyways, for information on the place go to http://mostateparks.com/park/castlewood-state-park.
8) Four Mile Creek Trail, Colorado
Colorado itself is a beautiful state. Four Mile Creek Trail offers itself as a scenic trail that gives way to the beauty that Colorado upholds. During this trail you will come across ridges of limestone and sandstone, where fossils are prevalent, traces of granite boulders and scenic valleys. This website will help those who want to explore the area, http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3007&Itemid=1035.
7) Palos Hills, Illinois
Just outside Chicago (about 30 minutes) this trail is popular for bike riders and runners alike. The trails itself can get pretty busy but can accommodate a larger crowd. This trail is more for those less serious about the sport but challenging enough to keep most happy. Given the suburban area this trail, http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails/palos-hills.html, accommodates those that are close to downtown Chicago.
6) Lake Metigoshe State Park, North Dakota
It doesn’t have to be warm outside to enjoy a nice run. Nestled in the northern part of North Dakota, Lake Metigoshe State Park is home to a 10 mile trail that challenges runners to brave the elements and landscape. These trails are also often used, in the colder months when snow is prevalent, by cross-country skiers and those wearing snow-shoes. Enjoy this area (http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/parks/lmsp/trails.html) when you visit North Dakota.
5) Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana
A unique place to say the least, this park is located near Lake Michigan and, as you can imagine, can offer some great views. Known mainly for its large sand dunes, the state park can also excite those looking for a good run, as the trails often overlook the scenery. Form more information go to http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2980.htm.
4) Whispering Pine Trail—Hawn State Park, Missouri
Run along side rushing creeks, boulder gardens and overlook some incredible views. This trail is known by runners in Missouri as one of the prettiest trails that Missouri has to offer. Everything Missouri has to offer is displayed and surely doesn’t disappoint. The area is magnificent, http://mostateparks.com/park/hawn-state-park.
3) Palmer Park, Colorado
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado this 10 mile trail is known as a top spot for trail runners. The course itself is challenging for most and adventurous enough for the rest. There are quite a few steep inclines and even more bikers. Also, it definitely opens itself up for some striking scenic views and really shows what Colorado has to offer. The entire trail is rocky and majestic. This is a trail that adventure seekers must run. Like always, here is a website that will help you get there, http://www.seriousrunning.com/10/5/Trail-Running/Palmer-Park.html.
2) Pictured Rocks National Lake, Michigan
Along the coast of Lake Superior there are incredible trails and views for the avid trail runner. In all, the 42 mile coastline is great for those wishing to have a marathon-like experience while viewing waterfalls and castle-like sandstone cliffs. This place takes the cake for both views and trails—which provide a fantastic platform. To view the trails check out http://www.nps.gov/piro/photosmultimedia/pictured-rocks-gallery.htm.
1) Berthoud Pass, Colorado
Colorado is full of areas that really give way to the idea of what the Midwest is really about. There are vast open prairies, high altitude hills, dense forests and rapid creeks and rivers. Berthoud Pass provides all of these majestic scenic views. A great way to get a good idea of what the Midwest is about is to run along the trails of Berthoud Pass. The trails here are long—the total trail system covers over 300 miles—and the elevation changes quite often. In some areas it is not uncommon to rise 1000’ or lose 1000’ all within 5 miles or so. The trail is competitive for those looking for a challenge but most certainly provides enough scenic views for those looking for the landscape. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berthoud_Pass