A huge part of the reason why we run is because of the places it takes us. So for those of you looking for places to plan your next running retreat, look no further than the list below. A word of warning though, you might find yourself wishing you hadn’t read it because it will leave you dreaming of endless holidays!
Queenstown, New Zealand
There’s no shortage of great hikes in NZ, but if you had to choose one place to spend a week hitting trails, then Queenstown is the pick. There’s everything from epic mountain tracks, such as the climb up Ben Lomond, to flat paths around lakes or along rivers. Getting there is easy too, plus you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation.
A true 4 season resort town, Chamonix sits at the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy at the base of Mont Blanc. It’s a trail running and mountaineering mecca and apart from some of the most incredible hikes you’ll ever do, there’s also loads of great places for a meal, plenty of hotels and resorts as well as other more passive activities to keep you entertained.
Yosemite National Park, USA
One for the bucket list! Located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, this is one of the most famous parks on the planet. It’s a tough place to get accommodation, so book early, but it’s worth the effort even if you need to stay a short drive from the gates and travel in each day. You’ll need at least a week to explore it properly, as there are numerous hikes. From mountain missions to the summit of Half Dome, to walking beneath giant sequoias, you’ll never forget your time here!
A couple of hours drive west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a tourist hot spot and it’s no wonder why. The major lookouts get busy but if you take the time to leave the main attractions and hit some of the more remote or challenging tracks you’ll escape the masses and get jaw-dropping views. The Prince Henry Cliff Top Walk is not to be missed, neither is a trip to the Grose Valley. However you’ll need to be fit to visit the latter of the two as there’s a lot of stairs to climb if you want to see the valley floor.
If you’ve got the budget, then Grindelwald should feature in your travel plans. It’s an expensive place to visit, though the cost of meals and accommodation is off-set by not only the incredible experience but also the fact that hiking mountain trails is generally free, with the exception of the occasional lift ticket. It’s easy to get there via train from Geneva or other major centres in Switzerland and once there you can bunker down for a week and hit the trails without the need for a car.
Yep, this is an obvious one! Nepal is known the world over for the massive mountains and rugged alpine scenery that’s largely untouched by outsiders. It’s a place for the more experienced hiker as there can be limited choices for accommodation or meals and the trails can be challenging. Apart from altitude, they can also be rough going, not like the groomed paths you find in Chamonix or New Zealand where it’s also a short distance to medical aid if something goes wrong. But it’s these adventurous elements that make it so attractive!
Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Similar to Nepal, Patagonia is a place we all have heard of and want to visit, but it seems so far away and challenging a place for travelling. The huge mountains, pristine environment and epic views, as well as the unique culture, make for a life-changing experience. Summer is the best time to visit because more of the park is accessible to hikers, but regardless of forecasts, pack for all extremes in weather as it can be very unpredictable in this part of the world.
Canada is a lot like New Zealand. Great people, amazing scenery, loads of wilderness and countless places to go hiking. So if we had to choose one spot to focus on it has to be Alberta. Here is where you’ll find Japser and Banff National Parks, both within the Rockies. Linking the two is the Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s great drives. It’s easy to find places to stay in either locations and as a guide you’ll need at least 4 days in each spot to see the highlights.
Despite its small size, this little island sure packs a punch. It’s the quietest and greenest island in Hawaii and being removed from the more popular locales it’s also very peaceful and rich in plant and marine life. If you’re up for a challenge and want to see unrivalled coastal scenery, then take on the Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast. For more sedate options or shorter hikes there are beaches and inland walks at your disposal. What’s more, after a hard slog in the heat you can jump into the ocean for a refreshing swim!
Like Kauai, Tasmania is a relatively small island. But don’t let it’s size trick you into thinking there isn’t much to offer. To be honest, it’s the most underrated part of Australia. Apart from untouched rainforest wilderness and dramatic, windswept coastlines, there are also alpine landscapes all within a short distance of each other. Our pick of the places to explore are Cradle Mountain, Corinna and the all new 3 Capes Trail near Hobart.