Check out what 'Nike' has to say about running in Gunnison, Colorado
Nestled in the rugged Rocky Mountains, about three hours west of Denver, lies a small running jewel called Gunnison, Colorado. Visit Gunnison, and you’ll be treated to some of the best outdoor recreation this planet has to offer.
Gunnison towers at 7,700 feet elevation, making it the perfect place for some good old-fashioned altitude training. Runners in Gunnison are accommodated by miles and miles of high mountain desert trails under nearly constant sunshine (at least 300 days a year).
Runners can head up the local landmark, “W mountain” for an extreme uphill challenge, or check out Hartman Rocks (pictured) for more traditional trail running. Rolling up and down through this sage and boulder laden landscape on single and double track trails, this is a perfect place for die-hard runners. There is also a great trail system located near Western State College, where one can stick to flatter running if desired. Or head to neighboring Crested Butte for an even higher Rocky Mountain running experience, at over 8,800 feet, with trails reaching up to well over 10,000.
There is, of course, one little catch. It is called the Gunnison winter. Because it sits in a valley, Gunnison is typically several degrees colder than surrounding areas. The brutal winters in Gunnison frequently make it one of the coldest places in the country during the winter months. The upside is that, while it is so harshly cold during these months, it is still vibrantly sunny. Runners by summer can take up cross-country skiing or snowshoeing by winter, as all of the aforementioned trails provide a terrific environment for these endeavors as well. And the summers all but make up for any wintry shortcomings, as the weather from April to October is simply divine.
So if you ever find yourself in Denver, Colorado, consider taking a three hour detour west, to some of the best running you’re sure to find.