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Why Can’t You Run in a Campground?

We’ve all seen the signs in campgrounds, “No Running!” Wait! Rules for running? Yep!

Ever wonder why you can’t run in a campground?

Keep on reading to learn about campground running. Fair warning, though, you’ll need a sense of humor.

Let’s get into it!

Why Can’t You Run in a Campground?

Runner or not, we bet we’ve got your attention with this no-running-in-the-campground rule. It could have something to do with space. Campgrounds don’t have a lot of room to share the roads with both vehicles and runners.

Or, it could even have something to do with wildlife. Campgrounds don’t want to be responsible for you surprising a bear while running.

It could be something even simpler than that. So, why can’t you run in a campground? Wait for it! You can’t run through a campground. You can only ran because it’s past tents!  

We know you’re totally rolling your eyes at us but don’t give up on us quite yet. We couldn’t help it. It’s the perfect way to introduce a few campgrounds with fantastic running trails right in their backyards.

Is Running Actually Allowed in Campgrounds? 

Joking aside, running is allowed in campgrounds. And within some of the larger campgrounds, you may have legitimate trails to conquer. Actual paths or not, donning your favorite pair of running shoes and heading out your camper door is a great way to get in some exercise before you head out to indulge in vacation things like eating ice cream, lingering on the beach, cocktail in hand; and all the hard work of shopping for souvenirs.

Pro Tip: Are you a rule breaker? We took a closer look to discover if Can You Get Away With Breaking the Campground Rules?

Two runners running together
Most campgrounds won’t allow you to run through them.

Camping Destination With Great Running Trails

But if you want to get your exercise on and don’t want to run loops around your campground, you might want to consider finding a campground with some great running trails nearby. We’ve got five campgrounds listed for you right here.

Whether you’re heading to the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains, or the Southeast, these trails will get you running far past the tents and beyond (pun intended).

Paradise Campground – Eugene, Oregon

Location: Mackenzie Hwy 126, 60 miles east of Eugene, OR

About: Paradise Campground is the perfect escape from reality for anyone with an adventurous spirit. It sits at 1600 feet in the Willamette National Forest of old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar. Paradise offers sublime riverbank fishing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking opportunities right on the McKenzie River. 

While there are no hook-ups, it does offer flush toilets, an on-site boat ramp, and an amphitheater hosting educational programs. And when it’s ready to run, there are trails right in your backyard.

Running Trails in the Area: McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is mere minutes from the campground. Here you’ll find several running trails to explore throughout the forest. Share the pathways, though, because this area is also quite popular with mountain bikers.

Sunset Campground – Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah

Location: Located within Bryce Canyon National Park just off of the Main Park Road, less than a mile south of the Lodge at Bryce Canyon

About: Sunset Campground has the perfect recipe for unforgettable camping experiences in Bryce Canyon. With 99 sites situated in 3 loops, Sunset Campground accommodates both RVers and tent campers. There are no frills, such as water, sewer, or electrical hook-ups, but it does provide a dump station, potable water, and portable toilets. 

For further convenience, Sunset Campground offers a camp store and laundry service during summer months, plus coin-operated showers. If all that wasn’t enough reason to stay here, just wait until you witness the magical beauty of Bryce Canyon’s geological wonders, such as its hoodoos, red rocks, and jagged peaks.

Running Trails in the Area: The Bryce Canyon National Park trails will take your breath away – literally and figuratively. Running through canyons and on top of mountains, there is no shortage of paths here. Bristlecone Trail is an easy one-mile loop, but you can choose from more than ten trails ranging from easy to intermediate. All of them will offer the stunning beauty that is Bryce. 

White River Campground – Mount Rainier National Park in Washington

Location: Northeastern section of Mount Rainier National Park, five miles up from Highway 410

About: White River Campground is the perfect place for adventurers looking to explore Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. Located on White River, the campground offers 112 sites with fire platforms, picnic tables, flush toilets, and water – ideal for climbers, hikers, and trail runners alike. 

Situated at an altitude of just over 4200 feet, White River Campground provides breathtaking views and an abundance of activities to those seeking an outdoor adventure. Best of all, no reservations are necessary as it operates on a “first come, first served” basis! 

Running Trails in the Area: With many miles to explore at elevation, hiking and backpacking are common, but running on side roads and sections of the world-renowned Pacific Crest Trail is very doable, and many people enjoy it. White River Road and the Carbon River Trail are just a few of the small roads and trails that offer fantastic scenery while running.

Oh Be Joyful Campground – Crested Butte, Colorado

Location: Approximately five miles from Crested Butte on 2343-2345 Co Rd 734, Crested Butte, CO

About: Oh Be Joyful Campground will have you exclaiming its namesake when you arrive. Just as Oh Be Joyful Creek boasts towering waterfalls and vibrant wildflowers in the summer months, Oh Be Joyful Campground offers delightful scenery at a breathtaking 9,000 feet with unparalleled views of the Elk Mountains Range in the Rocky Mountains. 

Here, you’ll find 30 sites along the Slate River featuring a fire ring, picnic table, tent pad for tent sites, and bear-proof food storage. This is the campground to experience the Rocky Mountains in their full glory – from fishing to horseback riding, sightseeing, hiking/walking, and more. 

Running Trails in the Area: Crested Butte has a wide variety of running, hiking, and mountain biking trails on Mt. Crested Butte and nearby. If you want to stay close to the campground, a footbridge conveniently brings you to the Oh Be Joyful Creek and Trail, where you can wander or run into the Raggeds Wilderness on the ten-mile trail.

Big Meadows Campground – Shenandoah National Park in Virginia 

Location: Just off Skyline Drive at the southern end of Shenandoah National Park, 75 miles from Washington, DC

About: Big Meadows Campground is one of the most convenient ways to see all that Shenandoah National Park offers. With proximity to Big Meadows, Dark Hollow Falls, and Byrd Visitor Center, Big Meadows Campground makes it obvious why it’s one of the most popular places in the park to stay. Plus, Big Meadows has access to 200,000 acres of unparalleled beauty within the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

They also provide essential campground amenities such as a camp store, amphitheater, laundry, potable water, and a dump station. Coin-operated showers and flush toilets offer even more convenience when you’re done exploring this beautiful national park.

Running Trails in the Area: There are 500 miles of trails in Shenandoah National Park, ranging from difficult – made more for hiking – to easy. Some of the best running trails can be found in the Snead Farm Loop and Big Meadows.

Pro Tip: Not a morning person? We uncovered Why Is Campground Checkout So Early?

Are Campgrounds With Running Trails Nearby Worth It?

Running past tents is one thing, but running on legitimate trails out in nature is quite another experience, And when you can camp in a beautiful setting with all the amenities of a campground combined with the rush of a run through a forest and alongside a mountain stream…well, why not? Seeking out a campground with running trails nearby is most definitely worth your time.

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