By Alli Hill
There’s nothing quite like venturing off the beaten track and hitting a woodland trail for a good run. Trail running offers a unique experience that track and road training simply can’t beat: from varied terrain for uneven footing to narrow straightaways and plenty of natural scenery to keep you motivated, trail running can be as good for your mind as it is for your body. As a result, you can get a good workout that’s miles away from ordinary while enjoying all the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. These five awesome trail running spots in South Carolina mean you never have to endure a boring run again.
Located in Paris Mountain State Park, this nearly-four-mile trail comes complete with wildlife sightings and beautiful natural scenery you wouldn’t expect to find this close to the city. Hikers have rated the trail as moderate to strenuous, but trail running usually presents additional challenges due to speed. If you can make it past the first mile and a half, the rest of the trail is mostly flat with few obstacles.
This moderate-rated 4.4-mile loop is a favorite among runners who love the great outdoors. Set against a backdrop of rocky outcrops, a lake, and picturesque mountains, the sights alone are worth it to make this your new favorite running spot. The first section is relatively easy, but quickly turns uphill to give you an early challenge. You’ll descend at Lake Jocassee, but the way back is filled with steep ascents and drops, but as an end result you’ll have challenged yourself more here than any gym or roadway could offer.
This almost-eight-mile trail runs along the banks of the lake for most of the way. Though rated as moderately difficult, the majority of the trail is flat and even with very few challenges. The trail features several tight turns and short climbs that will test your stamina. Beware, black bears have been known to frequent the area.
The famed Swamp Rabbit Trail is a favorite among hikers, bikers, and runners because of its diverse setting and terrain. The trail runs from Traveler’s Rest through downtown Greenville and into Mauldin, giving runner several potential points to hop on and off the trail. It’s a great spot to feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere with the city tucked just a stone’s throw away. However, given the popularity of the trail it’s a highly trafficked one. If you want to enjoy an uninterrupted run, it’s best to use it during early morning hours during the week.
Short and sweet, this 2.2-mile loop is about as easy as they come. It’s the perfect spot for those just getting into trail running, or for seasoned runners who want to enjoy beautiful views and a quick workout. The trail is nestled in a community park and travels to ruins of an old mill and other sights. The trail here is mostly paved, which doesn’t give the same feel as most trail running spots, but it’s a nice, easy run through the woods that can make your workout more enjoyable than running on a treadmill.