10 Signs of a Great Trail Run

What are the signs of a great trail run for you? There are a multitude of amazing sights, sounds and experiences to be had on just about any trail.

I’ve gathered up some photos of amazing sunsets, trail views, and creatures, racking up a number of unfortunate scrapes, scuffs and other injuries whilst at it. Thinking back over these, I thought I would put together a list of my top 10 signs of a great trail run.

Signs of a great trail run – Amazing Views

1. Those picturesque scenes, or sunsets as golden hour approaches or passes.

Signs of a great trail run - Sunset over some grassland in Hampshire (UK), near the South Downs
Sunset over some grassland in Hampshire (UK), near the South Downs
afternoon over a farm field with a trail running alongside it
View over a section of farmland, taken from a trail running parallel to it.
Running a trail on the cliff edges in the south of Sardinia, Italy
Running a trail on the cliff edges in the south of Sardinia, Italy

2. Rolling hills and expanses of forest. For a sense of total freedom, try tackling a landscape of rolling hills that appear to go on and on forever.

Rolling hills and a trail in-between two sections of forest, slightly misty.
Rolling hills and a trail in-between two sections of forest
Running a trail between following a power line between two sections of commissioned forest.
Running a trail between following a power line between two sections of commissioned forest.

3. Nothing beats a beautiful view point over an expanse of wild vegetation with no man-made objects in sight.

Looking out over a section of wild heather and grass, with a bit of forest in the background. Near the edge of the South Downs, UK
Looking out over a section of wild heather and grass, with a bit of forest in the background. Near the edge of the South Downs, UK

4. Landscapes that make you feel positively minuscule.

5. Endless wild flowers, herbs or other scenery that could easily be transcribed into a painting…

Signs of a great trail run - Heather and other wild flowers flowing down a hill into the landscape.
Heather and other wild flowers flowing down a hill into the landscape.

Creature Sightings

6. Those super rare creature sightings. Slow worm sightings here are rare indeed. You would be lucky to see them more than a few times in a year. Bush trail runs in South Africa will also yield some amazing animal sightings.

7. For that matter, any other wild animal sightings are always a welcome sight. Some of the more common around here are: Rabbit, Deer, and Fox.

A deer lying down in a lonely meadow.
A deer lying down in a lonely meadow.

Dirt, Mud, Scrapes, and Scuffs

8. When you return cut, scraped, battered, and bruised, you know you’ve found a good section of trails…

Signs of a great trail run - bramble damage after attempting a bit of a detour on an ultra trail run.
Bramble damage after attempting a bit of a detour on an ultra trail run.

9. Your sock lines are clearly visible from all the dirt and mud after trail run.

dirt and mud making up a clearly visible line on ankles after a long trail run
That’s no tan line…

Derelict buildings and magical forests

10. Those settings that look almost magical, or bring about a sense of wonder and get the imagination going. Beams of light that poke through the woodland trees and illuminate parts of the undergrowth can seem surreal at times. Derelict and abandoned buildings also tend to get the imagination going…

sun beams breaking through the tree line and leaves, illuminating the forest. Signs of a great trail run
Rays of light breaking through the forest canopy.
A recently derelict barn with pried open door.
Recently derelict barn. Soon nature will take over.

Trail running can be an amazing experience, even if just for the views and interesting sights you’ll see along the way.

Even if you continually run the same route, you’re sure to discover something new each time you head out.

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