Forget the treadmill. Running outdoors in the Pacific Northwest--among the mountains, beaches and forested paths--is an experience for all the senses. There are ample trails and paths accentuated by rugged terrain and sweeping views where the adventurous set can push their limits year-round (three cheers for the PNW's temperate climate) and enjoy all the stunning scenery around us.
Behold, a collection of Instagram photos that highlight just how awe-inspiring and challenging slipping on your sneakers and going for a run in the great PNW can be.
1. Winding passages in the forest
The 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Northwest Portland's scenic Forest Park is frequently named one of the best hiking trails in the city. And it's obvious why: The nature-filled paths are part of the area's 40-mile loop, which links up to other trail routes so there's always something new to discover.
2. Majestic mountain trails
Poo Poo Point on Issaquah's Tiger Mountain measures 7.2 miles roundtrip with incredible views from several spots. Poo Poo Point is a launching point for parasailers, so you'll likely see them gliding about. We recently named it a great local hike for advanced beginners and it's a favorite trailhead among local runners.
3. Steep, rocky adventures
Go north (passport required) to West Vancouver for this four-hour roundtrip trek up Cypress Mountain, which includes some rather sublime scenes of Black Mountain and Cabin Lake. It does get crowded, so plan to start your jaunt early.
4. Tree-covered country roads
You may not think of Redmond, Wash.--land of Microsoft--as the place for hiking and running trails, but this extensive list of equestrian and pedestrian trails begs to differ. Expect quiet, serene options like the one below where you can let go and just run.
5. Waterfront park trails with larger-than-life public art
For Seattleites who want an urban trail option that's got incredible views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, not to mention permanent public art from the likes of Alexander Calder in the adjoining Olympic Sculpture Park, give the Elliott Bay Trail a go. The paved path spans around 7.5 miles and in some areas, has separate sections for bicyclists.
6. Paths with views of snow-capped mountains
This 13.1-mile trail in Oregon's Mount Hood National Forest has a gradual climb that follows Eagle Creek. Look for the picturesque waterfall Punch Bowl Falls at the two-mile mark.
And if you're looking for ways to keep track of your performance while you push your limits on new trails, the latest wearable tech gadgets have scores of features and benefits. Consider checking out Suunto's Ambit3 Connected Family of GPS watches, which are loaded with full route navigation that enables you to plan your own running routes or download one from its Movescount app--a free online sports community where you can also create a sports diary (to track your adventurous feats) or plan your training. And with route and waypoints downloaded on your Amibt3, you can follow the plan or just explore and easily return to your starting point.
Of course you'll want to share those adventures, too. With the Movescount app, you can create a Suunto Movie: A shareable 3D animation of your journey that's embedded with photos, data and other highlights. See an example of a Suunto movie here.