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Trail Running Around the World: What to Expect

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5 trail runs from around the world Trail Running Around the World: What to Expect www.runnerclick.com

Every runner has a bucket list of dream races they want to participate in, places around the world they want to explore by foot, and for the dedicated trail runner, a list of some of the world’s best and most unique trails. Fortunately, the list of interesting trails around the world is pretty long, and regardless of your weather or temperature preference, ability to acclimate to high or low altitudes, and whether or not you can afford to spring a cross-globe trip, we have you covered! The trails below are not only sites to behold and a running experience to be had, but you can expect to come across some incredible (natural and man-made) landmarks, diverse flora, and all kinds of wildlife.

1. Exploring the Jungle in Para, Brazil

You have probably seen some South American jungles on television and in film, and you might have a desire or plans to visit Brazil on vacation at some point, to experience the thick jungled rainforest first hand. But did you know you could run through it? These jungle runs certainly are not for the faint of heart, as the jungle can be quite intimidating, and racked with some dangerous animals and conditions. It is hot, extremely muggy, and the rivers and streams are full of snakes, swarming with mosquitoes, and it is likely you will come across some “larger than life” animals as well.

Brazilian Amazon Rainforest, By Brazilian things (http://brazilian-things-page.tumblr.com) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Training for these trails definitely takes some practice (i.e. it is basically like running in a 100 plus degree sauna), and without guidance, you are likely to get lost. We suggest signing up for the Jungle Marathon, which comes fully equipped with safety checks and briefings, as well as in-depth medical checks to make sure you can handle the extremes. At the Jungle Marathon, you get the extremely rare chance to experience Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest first hand. The plants, trees, and flowers are brilliantly bright, and truly something to see. You certainly will not be bored during this run, as with every step comes a changing landscape, a new twist or turn, and vivid new wildlife. Be prepared to get sweaty, muddy, maybe a bit scared, and have the time of your life!

2. Racing the Safari in Kenya

It’s basically every child’s dream to go on a safari. And as adults, we pretty much still dream about the same thing… but you don’t have to dream any longer. Make running through the safari a reality by traveling to Kenya and running through the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Right in the middle of the savannah, you will get the chance to run alongside elephants, zebras, and giraffes (in a safely guarded area under the care of the Conservancy’s game rangers). Although the terrain is flat with few trees, you still need to be prepared for possibly extremely hot temperatures and high altitude running (approximately 5,500 feet above sea level).

3. Running in Paradise in Hawaii

Should you choose to run the Awa’apuhi Trail on the Kauai Island of Hawaii, you’ve signed yourself up for a less conventional Hawaiian vacation than most people. But don’t let that stop you! Hawaii is known for its beautiful, scenic beaches and coastlines and the Awa’apuhi Trail in the Koke’s State Park gives you some of the best.

Kalalau Valley viewed from the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve Pihea Trail

The plants and flowers native to Hawaii are also extremely vibrant, beautiful, and unique, and this trail will put you right alongside some of the most luscious vegetation you have ever seen. If you are lucky, you can also catch a glimpse of some of the island’s native birds (such as the famed Hawaiian finches, red-crested cardinals, myna, and egrets) while covering this 3.2-mile trek.

4. Going Down Under for a Rainforest Adventure

Head to Queensland, Australia for one of the more difficult, but breathtakingly beautiful trail runs you have ever done. The Colourful Cairns Botanic Gardens Rainforest trail isn’t a terribly long one, at under 7.3 km, but the terrain can be a bit tricky. Never the less, you are bound to see some lush garden and jungle plants with plenty of wildlife along the way. Runners have the chance to spot vibrant birds, brightly colored butterflies, and exotic mammals. (If you’re holding out for a koala spotting, visit the Cairns Botanic Gardens Tourist Attractions and adventures). You also run past the Great Barrier Reef in the Michaelmas Cay, one of the most popular and beautiful underwater diving areas in Queensland.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
5. Traipsing the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Along the coast of Ireland lie the Cliffs of Moher, revered to be one of the most outstanding views and landscapes in the United Kingdom. The cliffs run for 20k along the sea, through the Irish countryside near the villages of Liscannor and Doolin. While the terrain can prove challenging, runners not only get to experience first hand what it is like to be in the midst of the brilliant green of Ireland’s rural country but an estimated 30,000 birds live there. This run is great for people interested in geology as well. The cliffs have formed over millions of years, layers upon layers of sandstone, which runners can see the various layers while running along them.


  1. Kelly McMillan, The Trail Runner's Bucket List, Outside Online
  2. Lisa Jhung, These Are 20 of the Best Running Trails in the U.S., Runners World
  3. Sonal Bhargava and Eleonora Betesh, Top 7 European Running Trails, Luxos