“How can I find running trails near me?” This is a question that I’m often asked when talking to new trail runners.
I have found most people rely on information from random blogs and websites. There had to be a better and simpler way to find great and enjoyable routes for runners. To be honest, a lot of the information that people had found was outdated and would lead to dead-end trails or a stroll onto private property.
Luckily, as I’ve traveled and searched endlessly for trails to run, I’ve discovered some handy apps/websites that make finding trails a breeze.
So, I’ve compiled this list to help you so you can find the trails you’re looking for, no matter where you are in the world.
Find Running Trails Near Me: A Quick View
As with everything, there’s no ‘best,’ depending on you and what you’re looking for. But here’s a general breakdown:
Here are some of the top tools to find some great trails:
AllTrails is one of the first apps I started using when I began trail running and needed to find running trails near me.
I was visiting different areas and had no idea where to begin finding a running trail near me.
We all enjoy the process of exploring and discovering things on our own. Still, we don’t always have the time to get completely lost and unable to find our way back.
AllTrails is, by no means, an unknown name to anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
Boasting over 60,000 trails and over 10 million members worldwide, it’s one of the most comprehensive trail databases in the world.
AllTrails is one of the best hiking apps to find trails, and that means you can easily find running trails, too.
You create an account and log in, and it will ask you for access to your location. It then recommends trails based on your location and their proximity.
You can find a running trail using the search function. It allows you to filter by:
- elevation gain
- trail rating
- activity type
- route type
- if the path is completed
So, you’ll have many options at your disposal to find the exact trail you’re looking for.
The website and app do a great job of mirroring each other and immediately get a search bar in your face.
This makes it easy to start searching in your desired city, park, or other areas.
Like the app, you can also select the explore option and then browse the map to see the best running trails near me. Or you can filter down the options to find the type of trail you’re looking for.
AllTrails Cost & Features
It offers a Basic membership, which is free, and a Pro membership, which costs $29.99/year or $59.99/3 years.
- Access to the entire database of trails
- Search using name, city, and area, or can browse on your own
- Save routes you prefer to view later
- Filter different trails depending on the level of difficulty, and distance, among other options
- Ability to add your own trails
- Online map access (will not be available if offline)
- Activity recording and upload
- Enter information about trails such as conditions, your own review, and any photos
- Connect with others through social component
- Everything in the free membership
- Offline access to maps by downloading them to your phone
- Access to Lifeline
- Can share your location with friends or loved ones to help keep you safe
- Alerts when you go off-trail
- No Ads
- Real-time map overlay
Trail Run Project is run by REI, the outdoor clothing and gear company.
This app is similar to AllTrails; however, it has about half the trails.
This app is better if you’re in the United States. The majority of the trails mapped by runners are located there and trails are constantly added.
You can filter by state, which lists how many trails exist, and how many are recommended. Or, if you’re running internationally, there is a tab to select by country.
Using Trail Run Project
Trail Run Project App
The app is relatively easy to use and can get you started on finding trails quickly.
When you log in, you can search by area or select the areas tab and explore by state/country. If you’re searching on the map, you can select ‘top runs’ to see the popular trails in the area.
It offers a filter option as well. You can filter by:
- difficulty (easy to extremely difficult)
- elevation gain
- recommended routes
- trail type
- photos attached.
While it doesn’t have as many trail options as others on this list, the community-based approach allows trails to be added consistently.
Currently, it boasts over 76,000 trails, and it’s growing every day.
Trail Run Project has sister projects such as Mountain Project, MTB Project, Hiking Project, Powder Project, and National Park Trail Guide.
So, those would be worth checking out if you’re looking to explore additional activities/sports.
Trail Run Project Website
The website works similarly to the app.
You’re greeted with a search bar and the ability to immediately start searching trails, cities, countries, etc. This makes it easy to jump in and start finding running trails near me.
In addition, you can find top-rated routes (mainly in the United States) and upcoming races.
Trail Run Project mostly looks to get out of your way and provide the least number of barriers possible to finding trails.
Kudos to them for this one, as runners we are just looking to find a new running trail, put our shoes on, and get out the door.
Trail Run Project Cost & Features
Trail Run Project is completely free to use. And, unlike AllTrails, you can download trails for offline use without a subscription.
Trail Run Project Features
- Offline trail use
- Trail type
- Weather pulled from the National Weather Service
- Trail features (dog-friendliness, need to know, history & background, flora & fauna, local clubs, land manager, and more)
- Ability to add own trails and to make corrections to existing trails
- Activity recording and upload
- Ability to favorite trails
Wikiloc is the wise old man of the group here, as it was created in 2006. It probably remembers when someone searched ‘find running trails near me.’
Having been around for a while, Wikiloc has amassed an impressive 27 million-plus trails and almost 9 million users.
Like Trail Run Project, it’s community-driven. It allows you to upload your routes to contribute to the community.
Wikiloc is a great option if you’re looking for trails worldwide. As well it’s an excellent option for a variety of activities. These include activities:
- on foot
- with animals
- on wheels
- and more
Overall, the app is basic and doesn’t provide a lot in the way of features. But, for anyone searching for running trails near me, this is a no-frills way of getting it.
When you open the app, you will be greeted by a handful of trails based on your location. You can filter through these or select the map option to scan and search by the map.
Like the app, you can immediately select the type of activity you’re looking for, then pull up the map and begin searching by area.
You can also filter by country, and it will pull up all available trails across the map of the country.
Wikiloc Cost & Features
Wikiloc offers two membership options. Basic, which is free, and premium, which offers a year for $9.99 or 3 months for $4.99.
- Ability to find all trails
- Can record and upload own routes
- Filter through trails by area, activity type, distance, elevation, difficulty, and only loop routes
- Everything in basic
- Outdoor navigation to give you heading indicators, compass features, and audio clues. Works offline as well.
- Offline maps downloading
- Search by passing through areas
- Ability to download and send GPS route to your watch
- Live tracking to share with friends and loved ones to keep you safe
- Weather forecast
- Can search trails by a member of Wikiloc
- Advanced trail filtering
- Trail lists to save your favorite trails and share
- 1% of your purchase goes to 1% for the Planet. 1% for the Planet is a group of businesses working together to help the environment
Most runners are familiar with Strava. However, you may not know their heat maps feature, which I love. When I’m struggling to find running trails near me, I immediately turn to Strava.
Strava aggregated all the GPS data from their user’s activities and compiled it into a massive map showing routes—especially trails—that don’t appear on a normal map.
There will be two options for you, depending on whether you’re a premium member.
Strava Premium Heat Maps
If you’re a premium member, you can access the heat map from your console on the website or the app.
Finding Running Trails Near Me Using the Strava App
From the app, you’ll click the “Maps” tab on the bottom navigation, and the app will show your location. For this example, I used New York City.
From there, you can view popular routes the app suggests.
Or you can use the heat maps feature to see where most of Strava’s users are running. These routes are represented by thick blue lines. You enable this feature by selecting the layers button.
From here, select global heat maps, and it’ll show the routes where most users are running.
Unsurprisingly in New York, it’s virtually everywhere.
Finding Running Trails Near Me Using the Strava Website
The process will be similar for the website. At the top, highlight the “Explore” option, then click “Create a Route” near the bottom of the tab.
Then, check the “Global Heatmap” box once the map opens to your location.
For example, here is Chamonix, France:
From here, you can click and form a route by following the blue heat map lines, and the map will update, telling you the distance, elevation, type of terrain, etc.
You can then save and download this route to a GPX file, which you can use on your phone with a GPX reader, or send to your watch if your watch can hold maps.
This is an invaluable and primary tool for someone searching ‘finding a running trail near me.’
This is an excellent option for those who don’t want to/can’t pay for Strava premium. You still get access to the wonderful aggregated sports data Strava has to offer.
The only downside is you can’t form a route from it and save it to your device.
Using Strava Global Heatmap
Using the heat map, whether premium or free, is very straightforward.
It’s as simple as selecting the area you want to search—whether it’s a country, city, or town—and then following the lines to form a route.
The thicker and heavier the line is, the more traveled it is. The lighter and skinnier it is, the less traveled it is.
Best to do your research a bit before venturing out and following an unknown path that isn’t well-traveled.
Strava Cost & Features
Strava offers two tiers: basic and premium. Basic is free, while the Premium option is either $5/month or $59.99/year.
- Activity tracking
- Social media feed
- Local clubs
- Everything included in basic
- Segments and leaderboards
- Training log
- Cumulative stats
- Matched activities
- Race analysis
- Custom goals
- Training plans
- Live performance data
- Pace analysis
- Custom heart rate zones
- Relative effort
- Personal heatmaps
- Workout analysis
- Power analysis
- Fitness & Freshness
- Group challenges
- Grade Adjusted Pace (GAP)
- Additional perks
Each of the apps/services will be great for finding a running trail near you in any area you visit.
My best advice is to use them all in conjunction with each other, as this will yield the best results.
Beautiful trails are everywhere, you just have to find them….on Strava.
As always, be safe and take the proper precautions so you don’t put yourself in a bad situation.
Let me know in the comments if this helped you or if there are any services I missed so this can be the best it can be. As trail runners, it’s important to always help each other out!