Carbondale is a GREAT running town. We have some of the best trails in Colorado….
MUSHROOM ROCK/RED HILL
Red Hill, known to locals as Mushroom Rock, is a cornucopia of trail running options. Trails weave and loop around to offer over 20 miles of winding, fun single track with popular options of 14 miles (Northside Loop), 6 miles (Bogus/Fairie Loop), 3 miles (Three Gulch/Blue Ribbon Loop) and much more. Be ready though, all the runs start with a steady climb! Also, the trails are usually dry enough to run for 9 months of the year — and possibly even longer if you use winter traction devices or snowshoes.
This is a somewhat hidden run or hike that works its way up a steep, tight creek valley before opening to a beautiful high meadow. It can be extended for nearly as long as you want to run … if you’re up for a bit of route finding. Summer and early fall are the best times to explore Perham Creek. It’s unlikely you’ll see many people out there, but be prepared for some wildlife sightings — members of our staff and race team have seen bears a little beyond the first meadow.
PRINCE CREEK ROAD/ THE CROWN
Prince Creek is a runners dream of trails and dirt roads winding for many may miles just outside of Carbondale proper. Every runner has his or her favorite route, and the trail system is open for all types of runs and exploring. The Prince Creek trails usually dry enough so you can run parts of it by April but Prince Creek Road is usually run-able with snowshoes or traction devices all winter long.
The Lorax is a newer, semi-secret trail in the area; it’s not yet on maps, but if you come by the store we will gladly direct you to it. This single-track trail over rocky, rolling terrain features exceptional and dramatic views of Mt. Sopris’ dual 12,953′ summits. The primary “lollipop” route will only get you 3 miles or so, but the true secret portion of the trail can extend your run into a 10 mile out and back.
A locals’ favorite, this sublime out and back trail weaves along Avalanche Creek for some of the most enjoyable trail running in the valley. The run can be stretched out to a very difficult 22 miles if you are in the mood to visit Avalanche Lake, but most locals enjoy the 5 plus mile out and back to the bridge over the cascading Hell Roaring Creek, or a 10 mile out and back to beautiful Duley park where the trees open for spectacular views. Avalanche Creek is generally snow free from late spring through October.
Only a half hour down the road is the town of Marble, where there are enough miles of trails to keep even the most serious ultra runner happy. One of the favorites is the Lead King Loop, this super challenging 15 mile run is a challenge either way that you decide to run or hike it, and gives you some the most spectacular view around, including the 100+ year old Crystal Mill and the ghost town of Crystal. Just be ready for some super rocky terrain and tired legs. There is a race contested on the loop every September! If you don’t want to do all 15 miles you can run or hike or drive out the Crystal Mill for a scenic 8 mile out and back adventure.
A classic back country out and back run on the edge of Mount Sopris, that can be stretched out to nearly 20 miles, but is most popular as an 8 mile round trip run. Try this run in July, when the Wildflowers abound!
DRY PARK ROAD
Don’t let the fact that this is a road discourage you, it is a hilly dirt road that cuts through open range and has some of the most beautiful views in the entire valley. The run is a locals favorite for all 4 seasons and the road is just over 5 miles end to end for the potential run of over 10 miles.