From a rugged, ultra-muddy backcountry path in New Hampshire, to a lung piercing, single-track in New Mexico, we present America’s finest and toughest trail runs — totally worth it, but guaranteed to kick your butt.
Don’t let Atalaya Trail’s short distance fool you into thinking it’s easy. The arid desert surrounding Santa Fe, New Mexico sits around 7,500 feet above sea level and only gets higher — and tougher to run — from there. Atalaya begins at Wilderness Gate, an entry point to the 22-mile Dale Ball Trail Network. Follow the wide, dusty double track that scales a couple steep, rocky watersheds and then converts into a series of switchbacks. You’ll climb (seemingly forever) up to Atalaya Mountain’s crest, but the vistas of sprawling red-clay valley and shrubbed foothills are worth it. Plus, going down never felt so good.