Photographic evidence of why you should run trails

A couple of years ago I wrote about the benefits of trail running. You know, sort of a list of reasons why you should do it if you’re one of those people who only runs on pavement.

One of these days I should revisit that topic. But while the benefits of trail running (and running overall) can make for a pretty healthy-sized list, some things are better left unsaid. Instead, I’ll let the images do the talking. So here goes, a little photographic tour from a recent run at my favorite local trail running spot, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness.

The views. This is one of my favorite overlooks on a trail called Ho Chi. Here, you see the Arkansas River, south Tulsa, and in the distance, downtown.

An overlook on Turkey Mountain's Ho Chi trail, with the Arkansas River in view and downtown Tulsa in the distance.

An overlook on Turkey Mountain’s Ho Chi trail, with the Arkansas River in view and downtown Tulsa in the distance.

Variety of routes. There are a boatload of trails out here. I’ve run nearly all of them, but in the last two years there are a few I haven’t seen yet. Yes, this place is that big. Some are mellow, some littered with rocks and roots. You get some flat stretches and plenty of steep inclines. Racing out here is a bit of a challenge, whether it be a footrace or a cycling event. Every now and then, you see sweet singletrack stretches like this.

A nice, mellow stretch of singletrack on Turkey Mountain's Snake trail.

A nice, mellow stretch of singletrack on Turkey Mountain’s Snake trail.

The rare slices of awesome. Whether you go here at dawn, in the middle of the day or near dusk, the way the elements interact can be pretty amazing to see. Every now and then, you catch a moment that sears itself into your memory.

The sun sets over the easternmost ridge at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness.

The sun sets over the easternmost ridge at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness.

Seeing stuff like this, whether you’re with a friend or on your own, is one of the biggest reasons you should go trail running. It’s more convenient to run your neighborhood or a well-worn path at the park. But over time the sameness of those routes might leave you wanting. You need nature. You need views. You need the freedom of wild places, the smells of the woods and feel of dirt under your feet.

Sure, I could give you a whole list of empirical reasons why you should run trails. But it’s a whole lot easier to show you.

Bob Doucette

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