If you are a runner—or want to be a runner—in the El Paso area, you have a pretty big natural advantage compared to those who live in northern states.
In El Paso, we can be relatively assured of being able to run in an environment that does not turn into a frozen wasteland three months out of the year. (Not that this stops many of the more dedicated runners up there, but that’s beside the point.)
There are many great trails and spots in our region that can turn going for a no-frills run into a breathtaking experience—whether that’s through the outstanding vistas or a pickup in challenge!
We will be sharing a few potential running spots to check out. While we encourage you to give them a look, it can’t be stressed enough that you shouldn’t just run headfirst (pun intended) into just any trail without being properly prepared and knowing your body’s current limits. Taking on more than you are conditioned to handle is an express ticket to painful sports injuries like Achilles tendinitis and stress fractures.
We’ll discuss that all a little more later. But for now, on to the trails!
Located on the southeastern end of the Franklin Mountains, north of El Paso, McKelligon Canyon offers some great running room surrounding by gorgeous hills. You can even train for the annual McKelligon Canyon Challenge 5K Run!
Another perk? During the hottest part of the day, the canyon helps keep the temperature down a bit more than other locations. Consider that when you want to be a bit more comfortable.
The Pat O’Rourke Memorial Trail
Head over to the west side of the city if you want a simple, relatively solitary trail that still packs some incline for a challenge.
The Pat O’Rourke trail is a straight, paved path of about 2.1 miles, meaning more than 4 miles total if you want to get back to your car. The path allows runners, walkers, pet walkers (there are cleanup stations), and cyclists, making it an accessible and versatile destination.
A well-loved park in the historic Kern Place neighborhood, Madeline has lovely open areas, large trees, and is surrounded by beautiful houses.
While there is a walking path that surrounds the park, Madeline is also seen as a place for running groups to meet to start larger loops around the neighborhood. If you want to get in on some morning group activities, Madeline Park may be a great place to look into them.
Horizon City Trails
Southeast of El Paso, the Horizon City Trails present another well kept, paved option for all types: runners, walkers, cyclists, and pets! As the Horizon City area grows, more people continue to enjoy what these trails have to offer.
The Trails at Chuck Heinrich Park
Chuck Heinrich Park, in the northeast portion of Franklin Mountains State Park, is a great spot for more nature-inclined runners (as well as hikers).
Many miles of trails can be accessed from this spot, including the Lazy Cow and Mad Cow sections. Great views can be had from a multitude of spots throughout!
A couple words of caution for this area, however. Since the terrain is not paved and can be rocky, you will want to have trail shoes and keep a close eye on where you place your feet. Also, mountain bikers love these trails too, so watch out for them. You might want to leave the earbuds at home for this one!
Chamizal National Memorial
The trails here were made for running, and made for running hard—well, if you want to.
Cross country teams come here to take on one of the toughest trails in the area that can qualify for a race course, so keep that in mind. Even so, the red, hard-packed gravel paths are pleasant to run on, and bicycles are allowed as well.
Getting Out on the Right Foot
Remember, running is about enjoyment as much as challenge. Make sure you are properly prepared for what a trail throws at you, and it can help ensure you don’t get sidelined with a painful injury.
What does this mean?
- Don’t be afraid to walk and tour a trail before coming back for a run. That way, you have a better indication of whether it suits your needs and what you’ll require for a best experience (for example, do you need to bring to bring your own water, or are there stations along the trail?).
- Make sure you have the right footwear. A simple pair of sneakers will never cut it. Use running shoes or trail shoes that best fit the situation, and make sure you have spent some time in them to know they will be comfortable on your feet. You don’t want to be halfway through a run and realize your feet are in agony!
- Listen to your body. Length is not only a factor you should consider for your run limits, but elevation and terrain as well. Pace yourself properly on more challenging terrain, and slow down if you are feeling too strained. The average increase in workout intensity should be no more than 10 percent per week, and that definitely means not charging up a mountain path if you’ve only been on flat tracks to date!
If you have any questions about what you should best be doing for your feet and ankles as a runner, or are facing problems that need a professional evaluation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
You can schedule an appointment at either of our El Paso area offices at:
- Sierra Tower Building – (915) 533-5151
- George Dieter Drive – (915) 856-3331
If you would rather reach us electronically with any questions, our lines are open! Fill out our online contact form and a member of our office will get back to you.