Caprock Canyon State Park
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Best Trail Races in Texas Plus Texas Trail Running Calendar

With a state as large and diverse as Texas, it should be no surprise that there are a wealth of trail running opportunities and organized trail races in the Lone Star State.  These stellar races happen to be organized by some of the best trail running groups in Texas as well!  And while each of these outstanding organizations have their own lists of trail running events and races, don’t you sometimes wish you could just see an entire year’s view of ALL the best trail races in Texas, from all the best trail racing organizations in Texas, ALL in ONE place?  As an avid trail racer myself, and someone who likes to plan out my trail races in advance for the whole year, I have spent countless hours scouring each of these organization’s events pages to check out their individual calendar of events.  So I figured, why not make a list of the best trail races in Texas from across the state, so that you can see EVERYONE’S top events, and get to creating that trail running calendar!

 

By the way, you won’t find an all inclusive list like this of all the best trail races in Texas, from all the best trail running organizations in Texas, for the entire year, broken down by month, with a bonus, downloadable, Texas trail running calendar, so enjoy.  This is for my fellow Texas trail runners!

 

The best trail races in Texas

Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t make any recommendations on this page that I haven’t tested or personally used!

 

 

The Best Trail Races in Texas

(Plus Texas Trail Running Calendar)

 

These best trail races in Texas include races from the top trail running organizations across the state.  These trail races embrace the varying seasons, elements, terrain, ecosystems, and environments across the immense state of Texas.  Get ready to run the Texas deserts, mountains, rivers, forests, hills, canyons, lakes, grasslands, even beaches, with this complete list of best trail races in Texas, broken down by month.

 

Caprock Canyon State Park
Learn more about the best trail runs in Texas – like the Wild Canyon Ultra in Caprock Canyon State Park

 

 

Map of the Best Trail Races in Texas

 

Before we jump into the actual list of best trail races in Texas, glimpse a quick overview of the wide range and variety of locations where these events occur.  There is something for everyone, whether you are a local or a destination trail runner!

 

The best trail races in Texas are spread across the whole state – there’s something for everyone!

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in JANUARY

 

January is a dicey month in Texas to trail run.  You could get some mild and moderate days, and then you could encounter freak ice storms and frigid temperatures.  While snow and ice are typically isolated and rare in most of Texas, you still have to be prepared, and at the least, count on some pretty chilly, and windy, conditions.  The good news is, while much of the rest of the country may be too snow – bound to put on their best trail races, Texas is still able to pull that off, as evidenced by these 6 best trail races in Texas in January, which include locations from the deserts of Big Bend Ranch State Park in the south, to the expanses and hills of north Texas.

 

Bandera Endurance Trail Race – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 mile, 25K, 50K, 100K

When: Mid January

Where: Hill Country State Natural Area

Why It Made the List: Not for the faint of heart, the Bandera Endurance Trail Race is a Western States 100 Qualifying Race (one of the best trail races in the entire U.S.) for a reason.  The scenery of hill country may seem deceptively beautiful and welcoming, but this is a rugged race, not for the faint of heart!

Get More Info Here

 

Big Bend Ultra – Trail Roots Running Company

 

Distances: 10K, 20K, 30K, 50K, 50 Mile

When: Mid January

Where: Big Bend Ranch State Park

Why It Made the List: while Big Bend National Park gets most of the attention in this corner of Texas, you’d be remiss to miss out on the outstanding trails at Big Bend Ranch State Park, a park identical in many ways to its bigger National Park sibling, but with fewer crowds!  Trail Roots Running Company takes advantage of the great trail running opportunities in this park (and have been doing so for 20 years now), by putting on a rugged and fun event, one of the highlights of their yearly event calendar!

Get More Info Here

 

Franklin Mountains Trail Runs – Human Potential Running Series

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, 30K, 55K, 50 Mile, King and Queen

When: Mid January

Where: Franklin Mountains State Park

Why It Made the List: If you didn’t know already, some of the best trails in the state are here in El Paso, including Franklin Mountains State Park.  If you ever fell prey to the rumor that Texas is all flat and boring, this trail run will quickly point out that there are true mountains in Texas, and you will get to conquer some of the tallest and toughest on these trail runs.  When you are finished racing, explore some of the best hikes in El Paso, including the trek to the mysterious abandoned tin mines, or check out some of the mountain biking trails or rock climbing opportunities nearby.

Get More Info Here

 

Running The Rose – Blaze Trail Running

 

Distances: 7K, 11 Mile, 22 Mile, 54K, 108K

When: end of January

Where: Tyler State Park

Why It Made the List:  head over to East Texas for this iconic trail run put on by Blaze Trails Running, and get ready to be stunned by the amount and height of the pine tree forests here!  This is a very unique region to run in, as rich forests like these are sparse in Texas, which makes this trail run favorite a welcoming and popular destination.

Get More Info Here

 

Wildcatter Ultra – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 25K, 50K

When: end of January

Where: Wildcatter Ranch and Resort in Graham, TX

Why It Made the List: north Texas is not exactly known for challenging trails.  There are limited forests, limited hills, limited climbs, etc.  But the Wildcatter Ultra makes this region shine on the trails of Wildcatter Ranch.  There are shady canopy sections, open expanses, and some big climbs, all on the serene private trails of this north Texas ranch.  For those local runners based out of the thriving metropolitan area of Dallas/Fort Worth, this is an easily accessible trail run for you, but also worth traveling from further for!

Get More Info Here

 

The Franklin Mountains Trail Run
The Franklin Mountains Trail Run is one of the best trail runs in Texas in January!

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in FEBRUARY

 

If you thought January was cold, get ready for Texas’s coldest month – February.  You may notice that the amount of trail races in Texas go way down in February, and for good reason.  You will see the coldest temperatures, and some of the highest chances for freak ice or snow.  But if you feel up for it, here are 3 awesome choices for trail running in Texas in February!  And don’t forget to brush up on these 9 tips for running in cold weather!

 

Natural Bridge Caverns Trail Run 

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon

When: beginning of February

Where: Natural Bridge Caverns

Why It Made the List: heralded as the “only trail race in the world to start in a cave’s belly”!  And not just any cave, but Texas’s largest cavern system!  Enjoy this one of a kind race through mystical and magical subterranean trails!

Get More Info Here

 

Rocky Raccoon 100 – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 100K, 100 Mile

When: beginning of February

Where: Huntsville State Park

Why It Made the List:  True to form, Tejas Trails highlights the best of Hill Country with these last two February offerings on the list.  The Rocky Raccoon 100 makes you work for it, with some serious long distance running.  But the reward is equally as impressive.  While it is no easy feat to complete the Rocky Raccoon 100, Huntsville State Park offers some appeal with its lake and towering pines to surround you as you run! This is also a Western States 100 Qualifying Race.

Get More Info Here

 

Tinajas Trail Race – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 52.4 Mile

When: end of February

Where: Colorado Bend State Park

Why It Made the List: Colorado Bend State Park and its iconic Gorman Falls is one of the most popular outdoor spots in Texas.  What better way to experience this beautiful park than to trail run through it!  The name “tinajas” comes from the word which means a shallow rock formation or pool, that has been eroded over time by water.  You can expect to witness tinajas during this race, as well as the streams, creeks, and multiple waterways found throughout Colorado Bend State Park.  There are also multiple distances to choose from, which appeals to a wide range of trail runners.

Get More Info Here

 

The Longhorn Caverns Trail Race is one of the best trail runs in Texas
The Natural Bridge Caverns Trail Run is one of the best trail runs in Texas in February!

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in MARCH

 

Spring brings new life to the state of Texas, and that includes a revival of trail races, following the lesser offerings during the harsher winter months of January and February.  As the temperatures warm, and runners start itching to get outside and run again, there is a corresponding “boom” of outstanding, organized trail races in Texas!  In fact, March is one of the busiest trail racing months of the entire year!

 

While the temperatures and conditions will be more friendly, especially later in the month of March, for those early morning starts, still be prepared for some cold temperatures and possible strong, windy conditions.  Layers are a good thing to invest in for these spring races, as you can shed as you warm up.

 

Crazy Desert Trail Race – San Angelo Road Lizards

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, 25K, Marathon, 50K, 100K

When: beginning of March

Where: San Angelo State Park

Why It Made the List: this trail race takes a desert setting and makes it pop!  There is something special about San Angelo State Park, from its “cacti forests” to its prehistoric dinosaur tracks still visible in its creekbeds, to its endless horizons, to its surprising climbs that seem to come out of nowhere!  There’s a lot of flat, easy portions of this trail race, making it easy to score a personal best.  But there is also enough diversity to keep you on your toes and enjoy the surroundings!  Expect small town vibes and friendliness from this event, where you’ll feel welcomed and supported whether you are a local runner from San Angelo, or a visiting trail runner (like myself).

Get More Info Here

 

Border to Badlands Ultra – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50K, 50 Mile

When: beginning of March

Where: Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site

Why It Made the List: Another offering from Ultra Expeditions in the Eco Challenge Series.  When I first signed up to run the Border to Badlands trail race, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this run set in the far southern reaches of the state, just across the border from Mexico.  As far as border canyons go, most of the credit goes to Big Bend National Park’s Santa Elena Canyon.  However, Seminole Canyon State Park blew me away with its humble charm, and this trail run quickly turned to one of my favorites out of all the Ultra Expedition events.  The course starts off simply enough, surrounded by desert shrubbery.  But this quickly gives way to rocky rim trails that parallel Seminole Canyon, offering stunning views from above of the Rio Grande River below!  While the course itself is relatively easy, the views are mesmerizing and majestic!  Ultra Expeditions does a superb job of highlighting the southern environment of Texas with this race.

Get More Info Here

 

Cross Timbers Trail Run – The Active Joe

 

Distances: 5 Mile, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50K

When: beginning of March

Where: Juniper Point Trailhead in Gordonsville, TX

Why It Made the List: the Cross Timbers Trail is one of the best long distance trails in north Texas, which is saying a lot as there aren’t a ton in this region.  Get to know it up close and personal in its entirety on this trail run, which traverses the shores of Lake Texoma. The year 2024 marks the 43rd annual running of this classic race, billed as the oldest trail run in the state.

Get More Info Here

 

San Felipe Shootout – Trail Racing Over Texas

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon

When: beginning of March

Where: Stephen F. Austin State Park

Why It Made the List:  With trails rated as easy containing very little elevation gain, it’s not the courses themselves that are difficult, but the amount of courses!  This trail running event gives runners the chance to experience a triple dose of racing.  Attempt to complete all 3 distances within 24 hours (some strategy involved), or just choose a single or double event.  Regardless of HOW you choose to conquer the San Felipe Shootout, you’ll be rewarded with the forests and soft pine needle trails of east Texas’s Stephen F. Austin State Park.

Get More Info Here

 

Grasslands Trail Run – Blaze Trails Running

 

Distances: Half Marathon, Marathon, 50 Mile

When: Mid March

Where: Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands

Why It Made the List: if you are looking for a trail run that highlights the grasslands and prairies of Texas, this is the one!  Running through the National Grasslands themselves, runners will enjoy rolling hills, pastures, prairies, forests, and of course, grasslands, with some local livestock sprinkled in along the way for authenticity!

Get More Info Here

 

Hidden Hills Ultra – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50 Mile

When: end of March

Where: Gragg Ranch in Graham, TX

Why It Made the List:  I will always give props to trail running organizations that can take an under-rated or overlooked region, and produce a stellar race from it!  North Texas is not known for having the most exciting trails, but Ultra Expeditions has crafted a great trail run in the heart of the region, that contains hills, forests, escarpments, and lake views of Possum Kingdom Lake.

Get More Info Here

 

The Tangle – Rogue Trail Series

 

Distances: 5K, 9 Mile, 19 Mile, 29 Mile

When: end of March

Where: 4R Ranch Vineyard and Winery

Why It Made the List: come run through a vineyard and winery in the scenic foothills of north Texas.  “Ramble” is an accurate definition for this course filled with lots of continuous ups and downs, with a whopping 2,400 feet of total elevation gain for the 29 mile event!  A beautiful atmosphere that makes you work for it!

Get More Info Here

 

Southwest 100 – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50 Mile, 100 Mile

When: end of March

Where: Fort Davis National Historic Site

Why It Made the List: I can’t say enough good things about this trail run, the course, the area itself, and the town of Fort Davis.  That’s why I am a repeat runner of the Southwest 100 trail race.  The Davis Mountains are a challenging opponent on this course, but they are memorable for their panoramic views from the top, as well as the chance to run past the historical buildings of Fort Davis National Historic Site at the base.  The longer distances continue their courses into Davis Mountains State Park, with its wealth of outdoor attractions and trails.  With your downtime, enjoy all the other quirky and charming attractions in this little west Texas town, like the old west main street, the world’s largest collection of venomous snakes at Rattlers and Reptiles, the converted train caboose now ice cream shop, the McDonald Observatory, and the botanical gardens at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, to name a few things! And for those of you keeping track, this is the “southwest” race of Ultra Expeditions Eco Series trail events.

Get More Info Here

 

Fort Davis and the Davis Mountains
The Davis Mountains are home to one of the best trail races in Texas in March – the Southwest 100

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in APRIL

 

Trail races are in full swing now in April, one of the “friendliest” trail racing months in Texas!  Not too cold, and not too warm, though you might encounter some rainier conditions.  

 

Brazos Bend 50 – Trail Racing Over Texas

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 25K, 50K, 50 Mile

When: beginning of April

Where: Brazos Bend State Park

Why It Made the List: this is arguably one of the fastest courses on this entire list of best trail races in Texas.   There are easy trails, tree canopy, and zero big hills.  If that all sounds a little too docile for you, don’t worry, there are also gators!  Yes, Brazos Bend State Park is home to gators, and occasionally, runners have the chance to actually pass some of these critters along the course.  Yes, there are race pictures with gators in the background.

Get More Info Here

 

The Mammoth Race at Cleburne State Park – the Mammoth

 

Distances: 2K, 5K, 10K, 15K, 30K

When: beginning of April

Where: Cleburne State Park

Why It Made the List:  as a native to Fort Worth, Cleburne State Park is one of my favorite state parks in the DFW area, at just over an hour south.  This state park feels worlds away, however, from the hustle and bustle of the DFW metroplex.  There is plenty of trees and shade, but the trails contain some challenge with plenty of ups and downs, and portions filled with some rocks and tree roots.  This course keeps you engaged, and is a surprising highlight of trail running in north Texas.

Get More Info Here

 

Wild Canyon Ultra – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 25K, 50K, 75K, 100K

When: beginning of April

Where: Caprock Canyon State Park

Why It Made the List: this might just be my favorite trail race in all of west Texas (this is Ultra Expeditions “canyon ecosystem” race in its Eco Series).  Caprock Canyons State Park is simply gorgeous, with its deep canyons, majestic plateaus, and brilliant red rock.  The courses aren’t easy, but you might just be distracted enough by the stunning scenery to not notice.  That, and you may spot a roaming bison, residents of this park.  And if canyons are your thing, pop over to neighboring Palo Duro Canyon State Park after, and check out the 2nd largest canyon in the entire United States!  Palo Duro Canyon State Park hosts its own trail race too, later in this list!

Get More Info Here

 

West Texas Ultra – Texas Outlaw Running

 

Distances: 10K, 25K, 50K, 50 Mile

When: mid April

Where: Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

Why It Made the List: Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is a bit of an alien landscape in the Texas panhandle.  Some would say its barren, others would call it rugged, but regardless, it is a very unique place to trail run in west Texas.  If anything though, this terrain is challenging, with plenty of elevation, especially if you are doing the longer distances.  This is the “west Texas” event of Outlaw Runnings 4 part ultra series, spanning 4 different regions in Texas (north, south, east, and west).

Get More Info Here

 

Coyote Trail Run – Blaze Trails Running

 

Distances: 4 Mile, 8 Mile, 25K, 50K, 50M

When: mid April

Where: Cleburne State Park

Why It Made the List: this is not the first time Cleburne State Park has made an appearance on this list of best trail races in Texas.  That’s because when it comes to state parks in north Texas, Cleburne State Park has some of the best and funnest trails to run!  It’s just that good!  The Coyote Trail Run is Blaze Trails Running favorite, with high energy and camaraderie!

Get More Info Here

 

Pandora’s Box of Rox Trail Race – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 4 Mile, 8 Mile, Half Marathon, Marathon, 52.4 Mile

When: end of April

Where: Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, TX

Why It Made the List: A simultaneously challenging yet beautiful setting with granite domes, stream crossings, lakes, meadows, and scenic overlooks.  Everything you would expect from the varied terrain and vibrant geography of hill country.

Get More Info Here

 

Caprock Canyon State Park
Caprock Canyon State Park is home to one of the best trail runs in Texas in April – the Wild Canyon Ultra

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in MAY

 

May is another pretty conducive month to trail race in Texas, though the temperatures will start creeping up the further you delve into the month of May, and by the end of May, you may see some temperatures at start time that are downright uncomfortable!  But take advantage of May, and embrace the elements, because the full brunt of the Texas summer heat is coming, and for many, May trail races are a chance to enjoy trail running to its fullest before having to reign it in during the following months. 

 

Chupacabra 50 – Texas Outlaw Running

 

Distances: 9K, 20K, 53K, 50 Mile

When: beginning of May

Where: Copper Breaks State Park

Why It Made the List:  the Chupacabra 50 is a great way to shine a light on a overlooked state park in midwest Texas, Copper Breaks State Park.  While this may not be the most well known trail running destination in the state, this is a great opportunity for a destination “runcation”!  Enjoy the endless panoramas and horizons of Copper Breaks State Park, plus lake views, canyon floors, and even some forest mixed in.  For a state park bordering on Texas’s desert regions, there is surprising diversity at Copper Breaks.  Plus, this is a mostly flat, fast, and non-technical race, so it has a lot to offer various abilities and stages of trail runners.

Get More Info Here

 

Wildflower Trail Runs – Trail Racing Over Texas

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 7 Mile, Half Marathon, 25K, Marathon, 50K

When: beginning of May

Where: Bastrop State Park

Why It Made the List: Bastrop State Park’s trail names give really good clues about what to expect on the courses of these trail races.  The Scenic Overlook Trail contains fantastic overlook views.  The King of the Mountain Overlook is one of the best lookouts in the park.  The Lost Pines Loop contains pine forests.  Even though some of Bastrop’s forest groves were burned in a 2011 wildfire, the regrowth is something special to witness as you run the trails during this event.

Get More Info Here

 

Spider Mountain Trail Race – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 4 Mile, 8 Mile, 12 Mile, 4 Mile Ruck, 12 Mile Ruck, 6 Hour, 9 Hour, 12 Hour Relay

When: mid May

Where: Spider Mountain Bike Park in Burnet, TX

Why It Made the List: there’s a handful of unique things about the Spider Mountain Trail Race.  Yes, there is uphill mountain running involved.  It takes place at the Spider Mountain Bike Park, which is Texas’s first and only lift served mountain bike park.  Every runner will get to experience riding the chairlift!  These courses feature some intense uphill climbs, as well as downhill descents, plus the obvious intense long distances.  Finally, this is a night run, adding to the one of a kind vibes of Spider Mountain.

Get More Info Here

 

East Texas Ultra – Texas Outlaw Running

 

Distances: 7K, 14K, 28K, 50K

When: mid May

Where: Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

Why It Made the List: the piney forests of east Texas have been featured in several other of these best trail races in Texas, but this time it takes place in the scenic Bob Sandlin State Park.  The tall trees provide shade and dappled canopy, while still being open near the bottom, offering incredibly serene views.  The courses also feature some portions with idyllic lake views.  This is the “east Texas” ultra in Texas Outlaw Running’s 4 regional ultra trail running races.

Get More Info Here

 

Possums Revenge – Blaze Trails Running

 

Distances: 4 Mile, 8 Mile, 17 Mile, 56K, 52 Mile, 69 Mile

When: mid May

Where: Possum Kingdom Lake Hike and Bike Trail in Graford, TX

Why It Made the List: the catchy name will get your attention right away.  The Possums Revenge trail race takes place at Possum Kingdom Lake in north Texas, one of the most popular lakes in the region, with its towering cliffs and panoramic overlooks.  Plus there are forested trails with plenty of engaging gains and losses, rocks and roots.  After it all, finish on the shores of Possum Kingdom Lake.

Get More Info Here

 

Spartan Trail Austin (Armadillo Trail Run) – Spartan Trail

 

Distances: 10K

When: mid May

Where: Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, TX

Why It Made the List: Spartans haven’t always contained a trail race, but it is a nice addition to this best trail races in Texas list.  Spartan trail races are unique in that they contain a few small glimpses of the obstacles that traditional Spartan events contain, while keeping the focus on the trail run itself.   You may face some small obstacles, like moderate creek crossings, and jumping over smoldering beds of coals.  But Spartan events always go all out on the energy no matter what!

Get More Info Here

 

Possum Kingdom Lake is home to one of the best trail races in Texas
The finish line of the Possum’s Revenge Trail Run at Possum Kingdom Lake

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in JUNE

 

June is the full start of the Texas summer, and while you will see a corresponding decrease in the amount of trail races in Texas offered during the summer months, there are still a couple great ones, for those that want to push through!  Just be prepared, acclimated to running in the heat, and outfitted with the proper gear for summer running.  You can also follow these insider tips for running in the heat to help get ready!

 

Texas Trail Running Festival – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon

When: beginning of June

Where: Krause Springs in Spicewood, TX

Why It Made the List: one of Texas’s favorite “watering holes” is the perfect home for a summer trail running festival!  Enjoy Krause Springs and a private ranch setting, which is geared fully towards a festival style running weekend.  There are many options for morning, daytime, and night running, as well as outdoor movies, food trucks, games, and kids activities.  This trail running event is the perfect way to kick off summer in Texas.

Get More Info Here

 

Capt’n Karl’s Trail Series – Pedernales Falls – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, 20K, 30K, 60K

When: end of June

Where: Pedernales Falls State Park

Why It Made the List: this trail running event is known as the first and longest running trail race in the country.  It also happens to be a night race, which helps offer some respite in the summer heat.  Run along the Pedernales River, a lifeline in Pedernales Falls State Park and the entire hill country region.  Lots of technical trail and climbs up multiple mountains are in store, with seasonal creek crossings and incredible overlooks.

Get More Info Here

 

The Texas Trail Running Festival in Krause Springs, Texas
The Texas Trail Running Festival in Krause Springs, Texas

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in JULY

 

July is a brutal month to run outside, but if you are looking for the best trail race in Texas for this month, here’s my recommendation.  Tejas Trails continues their trend of pushing out the best summer trail races in Texas!

 

Capt’n Karl’s Trail Series – Muleshoe Bend – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, 20K, 30K, 60K

When: mid July

Where: Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

Why It Made the List: start and finish on the iconic Lake Travis in Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area.  This is another night run, which is a smart move for a race in the heart of summer in Texas.  Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area contains some thick woods, which actually creates a greater amount of humidity during the summer, so even at night you are guaranteed to break more than a sweat.  Besides the heat, the course is challenging in terrain and elevation gain as well.  Tejas Trails definitely doesn’t take it easy on its runners, but the payoff is worth it!

Get More Info Here

 

Lake Travis is home to one of the best trail runs in Texas in July
Lake Travis is home to one of the best trail runs in Texas in July

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in AUGUST

 

While parts of the country begin their “cool down” in August, it is not so in Texas!  Temperatures will continue to soar and running conditions will continue to be brutal, but the increased offerings of trail races seem to reflect a somewhat “willing” of the Texas summer to begin its end!

 

Capt’n Karl’s Trail Series – Colorado Bend – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 10K, 20K, 30K, 60K

When: beginning of August

Where: Colorado Bend State Park

Why It Made the List: Tejas Trails continues their run of exciting summer trail running with the next race in their Capt’n Karl’s Trail Series, the Colorado Bend Trail Run.  And like the other summer events in the Tejas Trails roster, this one is also a night run.  Colorado Bend is a favorite state park in central Texas, with its most famous waterfall, Gorman Falls.  There are plenty of waterworks along the way, including streams, creeks, and of course, waterfalls.  Plus cliffs, caves, and canyons!

Get More Info Here

 

Blazin’ Summer Sufferfest – Blaze Trails Running

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 18K, 36K, 54K

When: beginning of August

Where: Cedar Hill State Park

Why It Made the List: it’s appropriate for a trail running event in August in Texas to be called the “sufferfest”.  Blaze Trails Running has fun with their best summer race, by asking “why not suffer together on a blazin’ summer night?” This night race takes place on the challenging 12 mile long DORBA trail in Cedar Hill State Park, which is home to forests, grasslands, and Joe Pool Lake.

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Habanero Hundred – Trail Racing Over Texas

 

Distances: 10K, 20K, 30K, 40K, 50K, 100K, 100M, 100K Relay, 100 Mile Relay

When: mid August

Where: 7IL Ranch in Cat Spring, TX

Why It Made the List: because it is the “hottest” trail running event in Texas.  This multiple distance event features daytime races, which literally makes it the hottest trail running event.  This 2 day event features several individual distance options, as well as relays.  It is the ultimate in taking on the elements!

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Six O Trail Run – Blaze Trails Running

 

Distances: 6 Mile, Half Marathon, Marathon, and 50K

When: end of August

Where: Six O Ranch in Cleburne, TX

Why It Made the List: this event is held on a working cattle ranch, so expect to be immersed in frontier feel race, complete with dirt ranch roads, open fields, water crossings, and of course, cattle.  The Six O Trail Run gives off that true, authentic, Texas summer ruggedness.

Get More Info Here

 

Cedar Hill State Park
Peaceful Cedar Hill State Park is home to one of the best trail runs in Texas in August

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in SEPTEMBER

 

You might think it is “all clear” to run outside in Texas by September, but there are many years where summer hangs on in full swing throughout this month.  Regardless, there are some great trail races in Texas in September, for those that can’t wait any longer, and for those who are acclimated to running in the heat at this point!  It does help slightly that all 3 of these races offer some respite from the heat, as the Mellow Trail Race takes place on the shores of Lake Travis, the  Night Moves Trail Race occurs in the slightly cooler evening hours, and the Piney Woods Ultra is shaded by the towering forests and pines of East Texas!

 

Mellow Trail Race – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon

When: beginning of September

Where: Pace Bend Park

Why It Made the List:  enjoy a post run splash in Lake Travis, a nice reward for a summertime trail run!  Pace Bend Park in Spicewood is one of the most enticing spots in Hill Country, and makes for an exciting race, before, during, and after.   The trails here are set on a “peninsula” that juts out into Lake Travis.  There are plenty of lake views, including some from atop the cliff edges that parallel the lake.  The trails themselves will keep you engaged, with some portions of hard packed dirt, and other portions populated with tree roots and rocks.  And there is some elevation to count on.  How else would you be able to scale the tops of those cliffs to see Lake Travis below?

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Night Moves Trail Race – Trail Racing Over Texas

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon

When: mid September

Where: Stephen F. Austin State Park

Why It Made the List: another chance to enjoy an epic nightime, summertime, run!  And this isn’t just a run, it’s an entire party!  Extra lights and costumes are encouraged on the course.  This is a fairly easy and fast course, that is wide and well maintained, with just a few spots of slight elevation gain.  It is great for beginners, or those more noviced trail runners looking for a fun chance to snag a PR.

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Piney Woods Ultra – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 25K, 50K

When: end of September

Where: Tyler State Park

Why It Made the List: this trail running event takes place in almost all dense forest, which is a rare thing to say for trail runs in Texas!  The piney forests of Tyler State Park are among the best in the state, just be prepared for some intense humidity beneath all that forest canopy.

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The Piney Woods Ultra in Tyler State Park
The start line of the Piney Woods Ultra in Tyler State Park

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in OCTOBER

 

Much like the months of March and April, October sees a plethora of awesome trail races in Texas, after the understandable summer lull!  This is my personal favorite time of year to trail run, and there is no shortage of great offerings across the state! Enjoy those mild morning temperatures and mostly stable conditions to their fullest during October!

 

Dana Peak Trail Run – Blaze Trails Running

 

Distances: 10K, 20K, 50K, 100K

When: beginning of October

Where: Dana Peak Park

Why It Made the List: this trail race is a great chance to take on some significant uphill ascents and downhill descents, with some forest parts and some exposed parts overlooking Stillhouse Hollow Lake.  This is a challenging course, not only for the elevation gain and loss, but the rocky terrain in some spots.

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Mission Tejas Trail Run – Trail Racing Over Texas

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 25K, 50K

When: TBD for 2024

Where: Mission Tejas State Park

Why It Made the List: combine fun trail running with a little dose of Texas history with this event.  Nestled in the Davy Crockett National Forest, Mission Tejas State Park still has several standing remains of early Texas life, such as the El Camino Real, built by the Spaniards in the 1960’s, and the Rice Family Cabin built in the early 1800’s, and the remaining work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, like the rock stairs you will have to scale on the course.

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The Mammoth at Dinosaur Valley – the Mammoth

 

Distances: 1K, 5K, 10K, 15K, 30K

When: mid October

Where: Dinosaur Valley State Park

Why It Made the List: Dinosaur Valley State Park is one of the most interesting state parks near Dallas/Fort Worth, which creates the setting for one of the best trail races in Texas!  The trails here include forest, limestone cliffs, water crossings, and best of all, dinosaur tracks!  There are several places throughout the park where you can spot dinosaur tracks in the rock.  Enjoy the mild to moderate elevation gains and the multiple running distances, which offer something for all types of trail runners.

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Oktoberfest Trail Run – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50K

When: TBD for 2024

Where: Chaparral Trail in Farmersville, TX

Why It Made the List: enjoy the best of the prairies, pastures, and grasslands of north Texas on the Oktoberfest Trail Run.  The Chaparral Trail is unique, in that it is a converted railroad turned long distance multi use trail.  This is a flat, fast course, complete with sweeping countryside views, with a complimentary beverage at the end!

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Palo Duro Trail Run – Lone Star Runners Club

 

Distances: 25K, 50K, 50 Mile

When: mid October

Where: Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Why It Made the List: Palo Duro Canyon is affectionately referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas”, and that is because it is the 2nd largest canyon in the United States, second only to Arizona’s Grand Canyon.  What better place to trail run in the heart of the red rock, while scoring a view of sunrise in the canyon!

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Cactus Rose Endurance Trail Race – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 5 Mile, 25 Mile, 50 Mile, 100 Mile, 5 Mile Ruck, 25 Mile Ruck

When: end of October

Where: Hill Country State Natural Area

Why It Made the List: this is a trail race for those who thrive on a little extra challenge.  The name “cactus rose” is fitting, as this is a deceptively beautiful but “prickly” race that will test your endurance.  Tejas Trails makes no excuses and does not hide the fact that they make this run as challenging as they can.  It is a self supported race, with plenty of climbs,  and rugged, technical, terrain.  But the effort to reward ratio is proportional, as the views are breathtaking.

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Full Moon Ultra – Race Roster

 

Distances: 10K, 20K, 50 Mile, 100  Mile

When: end of October

Where: Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, TX

Why It Made the List: race under the light of the moon over the rugged terrain of renowned Reveille Peak Ranch in Texas hill country, and get in the spirit of Halloween!

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Rocky Horror Trail Run – San Antonio RoadRunners

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 25K, 50K

When: end of October

Where: Eisenhower Park in San Antonio, TX

Why It Made the List: it wouldn’t be October without a ghoulish, Halloween themed trail run!  This trail running event is meant to be fun, with a “Time Warp” looped course, and costumes definitely encouraged.

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Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to one of the best trail runs in Texas
Palo Duro Canyon is home to one of the best trail races in Texas in October

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in NOVEMBER

 

November continues the trend set by October, as winter typically does not make a full appearance yet, and conditions remain mostly moderate.  This is great news for Texas, as most of the rest of the country starts seeing snow and other winter conditions that can hinder an organized trail race.  Texas however, can keep on running in full gear through November!

 

Dinosaur Run Trail Race – San Angelo Road Lizards

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, 2 Hour, 4 Hour, 6 Hour

When: beginning of November

Where: San Angelo State Park

Why It Made the List: dinosaurs!  This isn’t the only trail run in a state park that features dinosaur tracks, but it is always a good reason to add a race to your bucketlist.  This is the same course as the Crazy Desert Trail Race held by the San Angelo Road Lizards in early March, but now you have the chance to pick your favorite season to run in this unique state park with its fast, fun, and one of a kind trails.  Run in the spring, run in the fall, or run in both!  Either way, you get to enjoy the endless horizons over the desert, the quirky “cacti forests”, and of course, the dinosaur tracks.

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Friends of Government Canyon Recharge Run – Friends of Government Canyon

 

Distances: 8K, 15K

When: beginning of November

Where: Government Canyon State Natural Area

Why It Made the List:  back to back dinosaurs!  The slogan of the Government Canyon Recharge Run is “running amongst the footsteps of giants”.  You can have a great time trail running, while also doing some good by raising money for Government Canyon State Natural Area, to go towards preserving this unique slice of land where dinosaurs once roamed.  There is an interesting blend of trails here, that contain both grasslands and rugged canyons, which offer some great overlooks.  And of course, there are dinosaur tracks!

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Barrier Island Ultra – Ultra Expeditions

 

Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50K, 50 Mile

When: beginning of November

Where: Mustang Island in Port Aransas, TX

Why It Made the List:  the sole “beach” trail running representative on this list of best trail runs in Texas, and it takes place on one of the best beaches in the state.  While that may sound relaxing, running on sand is no easy feat, so be prepared to work for those shoreline views and vibes.   You do have the choice to run in the harder packed sand near the shore, or the softer packed sand near the road.  Either way, you’ll have no shortage of beachy sights and sounds to enjoy, as this trail is entirely sand.

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Rockledge Rumble – Blaze Trails Running

 

Distances: 15K, 30K, 50K

When: mid November

Where: the North Shore Trail in Grapevine, TX

Why It Made the List: the North Shore Trail of Lake Grapevine is one of the most popular local trails in the area, for good reason.  It’s technical and rocky sections, lakeshore views, and even the steep wooden staircase you have to climb, are all the diverse reasons that it is loved by trail runners.

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Wild Hare Trail Run – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, 10K, 25K, 50K, 50 Mile

When: mid November

Where: Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda, TX

Why It Made the List: the Wild Hare Trail Run has crafted the reputation of a fun, lively, and spirited trail running event, one of Tejas Trails most popular favorites.  It is held on the Bluff Creek Ranch and adventure park, which is the perfect environment for runners, plus their families and spectators alike.  There are lots of ups, downs, twists, and turns on this fun course.

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San Angelo State Park
The Dinosaur Run trail race in San Angelo State Park

 

 

Best Trail Races in Texas in DECEMBER

 

December begins to bring about the arrival of true winter, which doesn’t bring trail races in Texas to a full halt, but it does slow them down.  Still, there are two fantastic choices for getting in an invigorating trail run before the holidays!

 

Brazos Bend 100 – Trail Racing Over Texas

 

Distances: Half Marathon, Marathon, 100K, 100 Mile

When: beginning of December

Where: Brazos Bend State Park

Why It Made the List: Brazos Bend makes another appearance on this list of best trail runs in Texas, with the same great perks as before: a fast, flat course with next to no elevation gain, and the occasional curious gator participant!  December in south Texas can still be relatively mild, and even though there is the chance for some early winter weather, there’s a strong chance you can enjoy a very pleasant running day.

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Mosaic Trail Race – Tejas Trails

 

Distances: Youth 1 Mile, Youth 2 Mile, 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50K

When: mid December

Where: Indian Mound Ranch in Liberty Hill, TX

Why It Made the List: the story behind the name “Mosaic” is quite endearing.  Tejas Trails named this trail running event after the “mosaic” they hope to create by joining different sizes, shapes, colors, sizes, and ages together for a common goal – trail running – sort of like creating a mosaic from various pieces.  This event is held at the historic Indian Mound Ranch on the San Gabriel River, with a special goal of targeting families to run together.  This event has several youth distances to reflect that mission.  This is a great trail running event to close out the year and this list of the best trail runs in Texas!

Get More Info Here

 

Alligators at Brazos Bend State Park
Gators at Brazos Bend State Park and the Brazos Bend 100

 

 

Gear Recommendations for the Best Trail Races in Texas

 

Whether you are a seasoned road runner navigating the transition from road running to trail running, or a newbie to running altogether, there are a few key gear recommendations that will come in handy for these best trail races in Texas!  These include:

 

  • Trail Runners – my go to’s are HOKA One One Speedgoats.  I’m not alone in my love for HOKA Speedgoats, just look around at everyone else’s footwear at your next trail run!  You can’t beat the cushion and grip of Speedgoats!

 

  • Performance Socks – my favorites are Hilly Twin Skin Socks.  I used to be blister prone on long distance trail runs, until I discovered the “twin skin” of these socks, which helps prevent the friction that can cause blisters.

 

  • Water System – there are multiple ways to stay hydrated on a trail run, make sure to figure out what works for  you.  I love my Camelbak hydration vest with water bladder, but for shorter trail runs I also like my water hydration belt.

 

  • Trekking Poles – not every trail run requires trekking poles, but if you prefer the added support, especially on challenging uphills, downhills, and rocky terrain, go with the best – Black Diamond trekking poles!

 

  • Fabrics and Layers – running with the right fabrics and layers will make trail running far more enjoyable.  Avoid cotton, and opt for synthetic fabrics or fabrics like fleece and wool.  Fleece and wool are moisture wicking, quick drying, and breathable.  In winter, I like to run in this merino wool baselayer and merino wool midlayer.  These fleece lined leggings are also great for cold weather.  If rain is in the forecast, I make sure to bring my ultralightweight and fully waterproof Outdoor Research Helium II jacket.  And don’t forget the extremities.  In summer, help beat the heat with a head covering like a hat.  In winter, stay warm by protecting your head with a wool beanie or Buff, as well as gloves if necessary.

*This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all trail running gear.  You can check out this trail running gear checklist for beginners, as well as this sister post on the best cold weather layers, clothing, and gear for athletes.  

 

BONUS – Texas Trail Running Calendar

 

Want this list as a convenient PDF, where you can see a complete snapshot of ALL these trail races in Texas for the entire year?  

Here’s your BONUS – get your own Texas Trail Running Calendar HERE!

 

Texas trail running calendar
Texas trail running calendar

 

Texas trail running calendar
Texas trail running calendar

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

 

No matter your distance, some preparation for any trail race in Texas is a good idea!  Check out these related articles for resources on training for long distance trail running, how to fuel for trail running, training calendars, and MORE!

 

 

Ready to Explore the Best Trail Races BEYOND Texas?  Check out this list of the Best Trail Races in the entire U.S.!

 

 

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