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In my past experiences running on trails, the paths are demarcated for hikers and bikers and I learned about these running-appropriate paths through word of mouth and in person park information. After moving to New England and the New York area, I haven't been able to discover a definitive resource for finding wooded running trails that include some information and reviews about the path and surrounding area. Does a resource like this exist describing running trails in this area? If not, how do I find running appropriate trails?

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You really should fill in your location in your profile. Remeber, it's not for you, it valuable context and a courtesey to us. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 16 at 13:52
    
Openstreetmap often shows trails that you can't find out about anywhere else online. –  Ben Crowell Mar 16 at 15:01
    
@Ben: OpenStreeMap can also be wrong, especially about not telling you trails are on private property and maybe you are not supposed to be there. That said, we (the Groton MA Trails Committee) is making a concerted effort to accurately map the trails and clean up OpenStreetMap. Every time I map a new area and go to OSM, I'm always impressed by two things: How much detail there already is, but also how off some of the detail is. It will probably be a couple of years before the OSM trail data for our town is properly cleaned up. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 16 at 18:32

4 Answers 4

I have not seen information regarding trails specifically from a running perspective, but there are a number of sites with information on hiking trails. Most trails suitable for hiking can also be used for trail running, and most trail reviews will cover sketchy sections which will be even more important if you're running.

I am not in New England, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy for any of these sites.

http://www.hikenewengland.com/

http://www.mountainsummits.com/homepage/mountains.htm/: Information on mountain summits in NE.

http://www.hikingnewengland.com/: Forums specifically on hiking in NE.

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There are many trails in New England that have long sections where running isn't really an option. There is also the traffic problem; some very popular trails have long sections where overtaking isn't easy for either the runner or the people being passed. I'm pretty sure every trail listed has been run at some point and I'm pretty sure a lot of them aren't much fun on a busy weekend. –  Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Mar 14 at 19:42

American Trail Running Association keeps a list for every state. It's not an exhaustive list, but it has some details for running.

http://www.trailrunner.com/trails/main_state_page.htm

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Well, depending on your definition of "known" and "documented", you're in luck. There's a workout tracking app that has gained enough popularity in New England to map out a large number of trails. In the areas I can geographically confirm, all the well-traveled trail-running trails have been tracked multiple times using Strava, and hence show up strongly highlighted on their Global Heat Map.

So for a great map of well-traveled trails (many of which do not appear on published maps), check out: http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#6/-75.12855/42.91677/yellow/run

For a particularly striking example of how Strava's maps are superior to the published ones, compare the official map of a park called Boston Lot to its Strava map.

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Most trails for hiking are also good for running. In fact, I'd make the assumption that a hiking trail is a running trail without specific knowledge that makes it inappropriate.

One way to get a list of trails others deem acceptable for running is to use those that trail races are run on. There are quite a few of those. For example in my area, trail races are held every fall in the Groton Town Forest. The specific routes used are carefully cleaned up over the previous week, but really, these are just ordinary hiking trails that work out to the right distances.

The Groton Town Forest race is part of a larger trail races circuit. You can probably find a list of the other races by digging around a little. All those will show you courses that are obviously fine for running.

However, I know several avid trail runners in town, and they use a number of our local trails that aren't special with respect to running versus hiking.

Local trails will largely be documented on local web sites. Again, you haven't specified your location so I can't tell how relevant it is to you, but if you're near Groton MA, check out http://www.grotontrails.org. We have a network of over 110 miles of trails (more miles of trails than paved roads), and I can't think of good reasons why they aren't just as runnable as they are hikable. And, we're just one town in north-central MA.

For longer routes, check out some of the regional trails, like the Midstate or M&M, in central MA, but there are others in other regions.

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