We’ve all been there: you have a lot of energy, and you want to channel it into a great run. But where to go? Your normal route is beginning to get stale, but you don’t know enough about other trails to safely head out on your own. By the time you make the decision, your pre-run high has left; you either head out on your usual path or skip the run altogether.
Utah runners are trying to fix that. Enter: Trail Run Project. This is a crowd-sourced website for cataloging the best trails for running. The site posts local weather advisories, forecasts, and warnings for those running in certain areas. Individuals can search for routes by location using the helpful map. Trails are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced, and users can search by experience, difficulty, distance, and rating.
An interesting community has popped up around the Trail Run Project. Users upload helpful photos, reviews, and advice regarding their favorite trails. If you see somebody posting enough, and you run that route enough, you’re nearly guaranteed to run into them! I’ve attended a few running meet-ups organized by people on the site, and it’s a really cool way to get to know your area and runners who love Utah as much as you do!
Each trail review has several pieces of important information. You’ll get a map of the route with clearly marked starting and stopping points, helpful directional arrows, and a rating created from cumulative group reviews. An elevation map will show you where increases and decreases are scattered throughout the trail, and pictures will help you anticipate the type of views and terrain you’ll likely experience.
Below these images, you will see a list of important figures. This will include trail length, the percentage of the trail that is runnable, ascent and descent footage, the average and maximum grades, and the highest and lowest elevation points. Below that, you’ll see the forecast, and below that, you’ll see other runners’ reviews, photos, and favorite features.
I’ve been using this project to branch out of my usual running routine, and you should too. Rather than sitting around on the computer looking for the perfect route, save your favorites and choose one at random. You’re bound to have an interesting and unique experience.