What’s Your Favorite Trail Town? (iRunFar Has Moved!)

Howdy, all. Bryon from iRunFar here to let you in on a bit of news. Over the past week, I have packed up the iRunFar offices and moved them from the outskirts of Yosemite National Park in California to Park City, Utah. There were many reasons for moving on as well as was plenty of time to consider where to end up. As I can operate iRunFar wherever I have an internet connection and a post office (and a girlfriend with similarly high locational flexibility), I could live anywhere I wanted. I was living a trail runner’s dream – trail access could be one of my highest considerations in the move … and it was.

It didn’t take long for me to narrow things down to Colorado or Utah. It should be no surprise that I love high elevation trails. I’ve thought to myself more than once, “My life begins at 7,000 feet.” So true. As much as the topography of these states makes my spirits soar, so, too, do the people who live there. While it’s true that I proudly bring some East Coast traits with me, I find I relate more easily to a greater percentage of people in the Mountain West than elsewhere.

Ah, but which Rocky Mountain town to call home? Among those seriously considered were Leadville, Carbondale, Breckenridge, Silverton, Telluride, Moab, and Park City. So why Park City? Well, I spent the summers of 2005 and 2006 here and I’ve never enjoyed trail running more than I did during those summers. How could I not with 350 miles of trails, much of which is singletrack on the flanks of the Wasatch Mountains and in the abundant open space around town. From nearly anywhere in town you can be on trails within a mile or two. The summers are moderate with low humidity. The autumns are even nicer. Admittedly, I find the prospect of winter and spring here daunting, but I’ll make do with more snow running and I’m excited to give Nordic skiing and snowshoe running a shot. On top of that, of the towns I considered, Park City had the best airport access and was more centrally located for driving to the big ultra races throughout the Western US.

Park City trails

A view of Park City Mountain Resort (foreground), Masonic Hill (midground), and the Uinta Mountains (distances) from Park City's trails.

So now you know that I and iRunFar moved to Park City. Quite simply, there’s no place that I’d rather be for trail running.

Call for Comments
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite town for trail running and why?

There are 26 comments

  1. Glenn S

    Bryon,

    You would have liked it if you had moved here to Telluride. If you like terrain as extreme as the Hardrock 100 course available to you by walking out your door, this is the place to be. Starting at 8,700 feet you can be at 12,000 – 13,000 in an hour or so. Lots of ridgeline running, tons of above treeline opportunities. The kind of place where you leave for a 2 hour run and don't come back for 8 hours. It is difficult NOT to run on trails here and everything is either up or down, climbing is the name of the game. You can run a different trail every day for a year. The amount of varied terrain within a 2 or 3 hour drive from here is incredible – Moab is 2.25 hours away for some desert running, Grand Junction and the Kokopelli trails are 2.5 hours away, Ouray's mountain trails and jeep roads are 1 hour away, and Silverton and the Weminuche Wilderness are another 20 miles from there. Lizard Head Wilderness is some of my favorite running on the planet. But Telluride isn't an easy place to live, unless you are used to $15 hamburgers and $4 ice teas. And do you have $1,000,000 minimum to buy a fixer-upper in town? If you ever get out here for a visit let me know, would love to point you in the direction of some great mountain runs.

    Glenn S

    Telluride

  2. Rob H

    Bend, Oregon (which includes Sisters). I do love the Wasatch range which has extensive trails and I just moved from the Salt Lake area but the winter season is a bit too long. If I get tired of the snow in Bend I can go down to Ashland or up to Portland or run the many trails along the coast of Oregon.

  3. Kaye

    Nice choice! In the winter, you can head out to the west desert for lots of trails and a lot less snow. I would say about 45 minutes west of Tooele would be a good start. (Look me up when you come out this way! Then, plan to run slowly so that I can keep up.) OR, head south to Moab which is probably the most beautiful place on earth.

    As for Park City trails, that Mid Mountain Marathon (September) kicked my butt. I'm just becoming a trail runner. It was so stinking hard (for me)!

    Another run NOT TO MISS is the Sapper Joe (SLC in May, http://www.fatpackracing.com/sapper-joe-trail-rac… HOLY CATS! Totally worth it with a low entry fee, great charitable cause, and really great aid station staff. The first four miles are an enormous kick in the pants!

    Welcome to Utah!

  4. Paul S.

    Hi Byron, Welcome to Park City! I have been here for 12 years and I run the trails all the time, never getting tired or bored of them. The only issue is the winters – then you can run on the X-country trails (which are usually packed down), on the dirt road that goes out the back of Jeremy Ranch, or drive down to lower ground…Contact me if you want more info!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Thanks for the greeting, Paul. Park City is such a great place to run. I do wish I could still be out on the trails, but I won't complain since I can still run from Old Town up over Empire Pass and beyond. I haven't hit the groomed Round Valley track yet… I still feel bad about messing it up. For now, it's strength building on the roads until the snow melts. Speaking of which, when do the lower trails like Round Valley typically thaw?

  5. Marcus

    I could not have said it any better. I am lucky enough to live in this amazing town. It truly is a paradise for people who run, cycle, mountain bike, and of course ski. I love getting on the many miles of single track and in the fresh mountain air, and hardly see anyone. Our little town is always full of many events and activities. Park City, Utah is truly paradise!

  6. Carson

    Hey Bryon, I know this post is a few years late but I couldn't help but give my two cents worth. Currently living in Fort Collins going to school, missing the trails in Missoula where I came here from, but totally excited to head to Duluth and the wonderful shores of Lake Superior! The North Shore has so much to offer. Wilderness and trails everywhere! And the best thing about it all is that Duluth somehow consistently flies under the radar. Not many people comin' in, but not too many leaving either because people like it there. That sleepy little northern town is just my style and is the only place I want to be!

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