Meghan M. Hicks November 18, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 1

Purple Mountains and Fruited Plains

U.S. national parks offer endless singletrack trails—and you own them!

Photo by William Snyder

Whether it's from a glacier's melt-y foot in the Pacific Northwest to the Rocky Mountains' purple haze, from a waving sea of head-height grass on the fruited plains to an orange sunrise burst above the Atlantic Ocean, the trails managed by our National Park Service take you there.

The National Park Service was created 95 years ago to preserve wildlands across the United States. Since then, the agency has established more than 84 million acres of American soil as national parks, monuments, historic sites, lakeshores, preserves and other areas. Included in this acreage are thousands of singletrack miles, a trail runner's dreamscape.

Here you'll find beta for eight National Park Service areas, including their trail-running opportunities and the information you need to pull off a vacation there. We've chosen some of America's sweetheart parks, like Shenandoah National Park and its showiest waterfalls. We've also tossed in some surprises, like the unknown trail-running mecca of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and its wheat-colored sand dunes.

So, go ahead, rip out a page, or two, or four, and get planning. Alternately, let this inspire you to choose your own adventure in a National Park Service site not listed here. But, whatever you do, get out and trail run America's national treasures.


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