FALL TRAIL RUNS:
Take yourself on a journey around the South Central U.S., trail by trail, as we discover some of our Red Team's favorite runs.
LET'S TALK ABOUT TRAILS.
Trail running is more than just running. It’s exploring. It’s exhilarating. It’s escaping. Trails take us places both physically and emotionally, and fall is a wonderful time to get out and enjoy them. The weather is shifting, the leaves and changing, and the trails are calling.
There are great places to explore all across the country. But don’t take it from us—take it from our Altra Red Team athletes who have provided some of their favorite trails by region.
Singletracks and doubletracks, pushing peaks and pitstops, climbing hills and bombing descents, here are some of our favorite trails throughout the South Central U.S.
My favorite trail has to be the Lake Chicot Loop Trail in Ville Platte, Louisiana. This 20-mile loop offers a big dose of southern Louisiana terrain and wildlife. Watch for alligators as you cross narrow wooden bridges through cypress tree-filled swamps. If you pay attention, you might see hogs, deer, squirrels, raccoons, and tons of birds throughout. But watch your step because this trail has lots of roots! You'll also run through dirt, mud, gravel, and beautiful piney woods. The Chicot Loop Trail has been called the "most Louisiana trail around," and I agree.
Discover David’s trail adventures on his Instagram.
Dana Peak is one of my favorite trails that I have easy access to. It's a great trail for short runs, hikes, rides, or 50k-plus long runs or rides. You can stick to fast flats or take on more technical hills and climbs by hitting the various peaks. It's really a fun place to play. In the summer you can even take a swim in the lake after your run.
Check out Marc’s Instagram for a deeper look into his trail running.
When starting either loop, you will begin running a flat gravel road that will eventually cut into the dirt trail. As you cross over multiple roots and occasional mud puddles, you will begin to break free from the stress and worries of the day. As the trail becomes thinner and the trees lean into the trail, you start to feel mother nature hug you tighter with every step. The trail’s progression is almost as if it was planned strategically to invite you from the road to dirt and then to the beautiful singletrack switchbacks and creek crossings.
Just after your first mile, you are faced with a breathtaking view overlooking the Katy Trail and the Missouri River. As you pause your watch to take in the moment, you cannot help but feel completely free. When you finally start running again, you will be soaring down the first of many downhills with soft dirt and lots of fun trees and roots to dodge. But like most of the great descents, there is a hill to climb once you get to the bottom. On the 5-mile Clark Trail, there are three larger hill climbs and several small rollers. The 8-mile Lewis Trail has quite a few larger climbs.
One of my favorite parts of trail running is water crossings! If it has rained in the few days before your run, you will have a few small creeks you can splash through. If water crossings just aren’t your cup of tea, you can normally navigate around the creeks easily on the short loop (Clark). The longer loop (Lewis) is a bit more difficult to avoid the creeks. In the summer they tend to be dry enough to avoid them completely.
See more from Matt on his Instagram.
The Mount Kessler Trail System is a great representation of the Ozarks. I love the rocks, boulders, roots, the views of the Boston Mountains to the south, and downtown Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas campus to the northeast. Mount Kessler is actually within the city of Fayetteville, so it’s a nearby trail that feels like you are out in the remote wilderness.
Get your training tips from Cliff and his wife Patty’s coaching program, Fit 2 Endure.
The Violet Crown Trailhead is one of the newest trailheads added to the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail. This trailhead lets runners access some of the sweetest and most scenic parts of the Barton Creek Greenbelt. The trail is easily accessible, meaning it's located right in the middle of Austin and in just a few minutes of being on the trail, you forget that there is a city surrounding you. After a rain, runners will get their feet wet crossing tame creek crossings. Other times, runners get to zig-zag, run up and down hills, and during the summer, the canopy provides shade (and a break from the sun)! I love this trail because it is so diverse and easy to get to.
Follow along with Richelle’s running on Instagram.
The Clear Bay Trail at Lake Thunderbird in Norman, Oklahoma is one of my favorite local trails. If you head out early in the morning you can catch the sunrise over the water from multiple vantage points and chances are you will have plenty of deer alongside you to enjoy the view. There are several options on this trail to go long or short.
Keep up with Clint’s adventures on Instagram.