Yosemite and Colorado have some of the most popular trails on mother Earth.
And that’s for a good reason- they’ve got Elegant, Grand, and Splendid appearance that’s irresistible to all outdoor lovers.
All their trails will provide you with everything you need to satisfy your trail running needs and expectations- from grand mountain peaks, vast fields of wildflowers, alpine lakes, beautiful wildlife, and so much more.
Simply said, they never disappoint!
Below, I’ll give you a list of the 9 best trails in Yosemite and Colorado that you can’t afford to miss.
Best Trails In Colorado:
1. Mesa Trail (Boulder)
If you’ve just started out your trail running career, Mesa Trail would be an excellent destination for you.
Located near Boulder, Colorado, this trail has a total distance of 12 miles out and back plus it has up to 3250 feet of climbing.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy beautiful wildflowers as you take in the fresh air of this moderately rated trail. Even more amazing, most of the trail’s middle miles pass through old growth forests, meaning you’ll enjoy a natural shade in case you’re running in hot weather.
For the 1-2 miles exposed parts on both ends, you’d want to warn yourself with your sunscreen.
2. Imogene Pass (Telluride)
The Imogene Pass is also among the best of the best trail runs you can find in Colorado (Telluride, to be precise).
It’s slightly longer than the previous trail- at 17.1 mile- and involves running through a dirt road that connects the small mountain towns of Ouray and Telluride.
The two towns sit at elevations as high as 7810 feet and 8750 feet respectively, while the pass connecting them reaches up to 13,114 feet (making it Colorado’s second highest pass).
Amazingly, this pass has served as a training trail for Pike’s Park Marathon for many, many years.
The most notable scenes you’ll witness along the trail include a breathtaking country, Camp Bird Savage Basin, and Tomboy mining towns.
3. Manitou Springs Incline (Colorado Springs)
For the experienced trail runners willing to take on a more challenging trail, there’s no better trail to do than in Manitou Springs Incline, Colorado Springs.
At the base, the incline has an elevation of 6,600 feet; the top about 2000 feet climb and just 0.88 miles away.
The history behind this trail is impressive…it was built back in 1907 to serve as a funicular railway system for the water tanks and hydroelectric plant at the top of the mountain. It was in use until 1990 when it was hit by a rockslide, prompting the railroad company to neglect it.
Today, it’s one of the most popular destinations for experienced trail runners and hikers alike. Military dudes as well as Olympic athletes also frequent this area for the best trail running experience.
4. Huron Peak (Buena Vista)
If you’d like to trail run on a 14’er, then consider visiting the Huron Peal.
The mountain has an elevation of 14,003 feet, and it’s located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area (in the San Isabel National Forest). Mind you, it ranks at position 52 of the 53 14’ers in Colorado, in terms of height.
The mountain is rated as “highly runnable,” but just like any other trail, you should be prepared to meet some physical and mental challenges along the way.
You’ll have a more unobstructed view of the Browns Peak (13,523) before proceeding to the peak.
And when you hit the final stretch (which is always a bit tricky, you’d have an easy time gazing down at the base of the thirteeners of the Three Apostles (North Apostle, West Apostle, and Ice Mountain).
5. Crag Crest Trail (Grand Junction)
How about running through the world’s biggest flat-topped mountain?
Well, the Crag Crest Trail gives you this golden chance; it’s a 10.3-mile long loop that accommodates the world biggest flat-topped mountain- the Grand Mesa.
What makes the vast (350,000 acres) Grand Mesa national forest even better is the eye-grabbing, scenic views it exposes you to- including a thick pine forest, 300 lakes, and many, many trails.
This spectacular, natural wonder trail is not only a hotspot for trail runners, but also for hikers, mountain bikers, and anglers who want to get the best of their lifetime experiences.
That’s it for Colorado (the home of bewildering natural beauty and fitness). Next, we look at the best trails in Yosemite…
Best Trails In Yosemite:
6. Tuolumne Meadows
If you’re looking for a breath-taking adventure in the High Sierras, the Tuolumne Meadows do not disappoint.
Offering you a 2-mile running distance, the trail has a trailhead elevation of 8500 feet and 0 elevation gain.
If you’ve run in a meadow before, you know there’s something about it that gives you some peace of mind. As one of the greatest meadows, the Tuolumne Meadows will provide you with more than this.
The river winding through it (River Tuolumne) combine with the surrounding domes and striking granite peaks to give you a breathless scenery!
7. Yosemite Valley
If you are looking for an easy to run trail- ideal for starters- the Yosemite Valley will easily meet your needs.
With a full distance of 11.5 miles, this trail loop offers you a rare chance to run on fairly level ground that’s less challenging for an absolute beginner.
While some parts of the trail pass near the roads, most of it goes through meadows, forests, and beside the Merced River.
Additionally, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of sites such as Yosemite Falls, El Captain, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, and Bridalveil Falls.
8. Sentinel Dome Trail
The Sentinel Dome Trail is also an extremely easy to do trail, with some challenges showing up at the final stretch- which is usually short but steep.
The trail presents you with only 2.2 miles running distance. And has an elevation of 7700 feet (at the trailhead) and 8100 feet (at the final altitude).
Running on Sentinel Dome Trail is a great way to enjoy miles and miles of eye-grabbing view in any directions you run in.
Most notably, you’ll get a clear view of the Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, and El Captain to the west, Merced River Canyon, Mt. Diablo along the coastal range, to name but a few.
9. Mariposa Grove (of Giant Sequoias)
The Mariposa Grove is another top destination in Yosemite for trail runners.
It’s tucked right inside the Yosemite’s entrance at the South. It covers a distance of 2.2 miles (lower groove round trip) and around 5-6 miles (for both the upper and lower grooves round trip). It has a trailhead elevation of 5600 feet and a gain elevation of 1,200 feet- depending on the parts of upper groove your reach.
As one of the most extensive sequoias grooves in Yosemite, you can’t resist the urge to visit this place. It also accommodates hundreds of beasts that you’ll enjoy watching.
So, these are the 9 most scenic trails in Colorado and Yosemite. As you can see, all of them expose you to different natural settings which translates to an overwhelming, memorable experience and the ultimate fun.
These natural wonders include high mountains, deep forests, alpine meadows, rivers, glaciers, amazing wildlife, and so much more.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level, the 9 trail running destinations above will give you endless possibilities and unlimited experience.