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.
Location: North Carolina Distance: 16.3 miles fs.usda.gov
Looking for a run ideal for two? Opt for Shut-In Trail outside of Asheville, North Carolina. It stretches for 16.3-miles between the Parkway entrance and the parking area at Mount Pisgah. You’ll hug a series of ridgelines along the French Broad River, climbing 3,000 feet over rocky, technical single-track lined with rhododendron and laurel thickets. Ask a buddy to run with you. Leave one car at the base of the summit at Buck Spring Gap Overlook connected with the Pisgah parking area. Drive your other car to begin the run at the paved parking spot at the Parkway’s entrance near NC-191. When you finish, you can collect your beginning vehicle. Take it easy to avoid sprained ankles—this one’s not for the fainthearted.