Winter Trail Running

If you want to breathe crisp and clean fresh air with unrestrained lungs you need to be spending time out in the open during the winter months. Reconnect with nature while running for maximum mental health, cardiovascular and strength benefits.

Jogging throughout the city or in the gym can get very boring after a few miles. This is where trails come in. Change your running environment and make it more fun and challenging by swapping out hard asphalt for softer ground, even if that's snow.

Some trail runners prefer the challenge of conquering the most rugged of terrains while others thoroughly enjoy the calming effect of a relaxed run through a soft, tree-lined dirt path. All become a bit more challenging after a snowfall. Still, runners are exhilarated by the demands of a continuous climb and others are pleased by the rollercoaster effect of surging hills because trail running, in any season, guarantees the promise of stunning scenery and the opportunity for a peaceful retreat into the wild.

Best Cities For Winter Trail Running 2017

Boulder
 

Boulder

Boulder is one of the most fitness-friendly cities in the country. Thanks to more than 200 miles of routes in and around the city, trail running is always very popular. The locals' favorite Mesa Trail temporarily closes in the winter but you have plenty of options. Run along Cottonwood Trail or South Boulder Creek Trail the day after a snowfall. Picture Rock and Hall Ranch in Lyons, and Heil Ranch off Lefthand Canyon, are great alternatives.

Mammoth Lakes, California
 

Mammoth Lakes, California

The high altitude town is a preferred training ground for many trail runners. Even in winter there are groomed or snow-free roadways to the east toward Hot Creek and Benton Crossing roads, according to Mammoth Lakes Trail System. Running the Lakes Basin Path from the North Village to Twin Lakes Vista is one of the most popular and accessible. The rewards for jogging it include views of the Mammoth Crest and Lake Mamie Outfall.

Santa Fe
 

Santa Fe

Santa Fe has repeatedly made the lists of best trail running destination in America, and that doesn't change with the season. The Dale Ball Trails alone stretches along 30 miles of twisted single track trails that vary in difficulty. Take your time enjoying serene views of the desert, aspens, and evergreens along the way, which are even more beautiful tapped with snow. The Atalaya Mountain Trail is also popular.

Jackson, Wyoming
 

Jackson, Wyoming

The Tetons offer so many trails you'll need years to cover them all. The paths, which usually start or pass the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, are marked. Locals like running on Spring Gulch Road, an old ranching route just outside town that cuts through wide open farmlands. You won't ever run across many other people. It's very quiet. People like to run along the pleasant Valley Trail, the Rock Springs Yurt Trail, which is a bit more challenging because it changes in elevation, and the 6-mile Phelps Lake Loop.

North Conway, New Hampshire
 

North Conway, New Hampshire

The town and the surrounding Mount Washington Valley area have many picturesque trails. The 7.5-mile Lower Nanamocomuck Trail is a typical New England backcountry trail. Try your winter running skills to Diana's Baths, a series of waterfalls that resembles a true winter wonderland. Try running along the Presidential Traverse or to the summit of Mount Washington via the auto road, for which you will need special permission from the Mount Washington Auto Road Company.

New York
 

New York

New York is a famous "concrete jungle" but there are plenty of trails to enjoy in and around the city. The 843 acres in Central Park alone and Bronx’s 2,700-acre Pelham Bay Park provide endless opportunities for trail running. Other good locations are the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, Inwood Hill Park, and Fort Tryon Park, according to GearPatrol. Go upstate to find more natural trails for technical and strenuous running.

Leavenworth, Washington
 

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth has it all in the winter. You will never be bored there as long as you don't mind playing with snow. The faux Bavarian-themed town adds a nice element to the pristine natural atmosphere. Try running along the Skyline Lake Trail, a 3.3-mile loop near the city which features a lake, and the Colchuck Lake Trail, an 8-mile out and back trail.

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For the complete list of Best Cities For Winter Trail Running, go to TheActiveTimes.com.

More From The Active Times:
-- The Most Picturesque Winter Hikes in the U.S.
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