If you are a running enthusiast, you may be among runners worldwide who are making the transition from road running to trail running. Running on flat asphalt surfaces can be boring, as you can only follow the road. Although marathon running may offer more challenges, you are racing against the clock and other runners.

Trail Running in India

Trail running, also known as adventure or mountain running is a relatively new sport in India that takes place across challenging terrain. The sport allows you to experience India’s nature and scenic beauty at its finest. Many running trails in India are primitive, composed of dirt, sand, mud, grass and rocks. High altitudes, temperature fluctuations and waterways can be challenging if you are not thoroughly prepared with well-fitting running shoes and proper clothing.

Long-distance Swiss runner Viktor Rὃthlin provided some important tips when transitioning from road running to trail running:

  • Begin slowly, as trails can be difficult on the body.
  • Take shorter strides, especially when climbing steep hills.
  • Be aware of obstacles on the trail, such as rocks, tree roots, wet patches and wood debris.
  • Try to control your speed when running on downhill slopes.

Recommended Running Trails in India

Chandan Fort Trek

The Chandan Fort trail, located near Mahārāshtra is 2.41 km in length and is rated as moderate in difficulty. It is estimated to take 30 to 40 minutes to reach the top of Fort Chandan, where you will have an excellent view of an ancient shiv temple.

Photo Credit: Prashant Kothawade

Vandan Fort

When you reach the top of Fort Chandan, you will be able to see Fort Vandan, a large structure not accessible from the trail. To reach Fort Vandan, you must run back down the original trail and transverse Chandan. A round trip run to and from Vandan takes about 40 minutes. The trail is similar in length and difficulty as the Chandan Fort trek.

Photo Credit: Parag Purandare

Tailbaila Ghangad

This easy trail is perfect for beginner trail runners. Located near Lonāvek, Mahārāshtra, the trail is 38.96 km in length and has a trail rank of 3. Although the trail spans a long distance, the terrain is flat, without inclines or switchbacks. Beautiful fauna and flora enhance the beauty of the trail, which winds through a lush forested region.

Photo Credit: Suresh Isave

Kullu Valley

The Kullu Valley is the largest valley in the Kullu district, once known as Kulanthpiths, which means ‘the end of the habitable world’, in Himachal Pradesh, India. It runs parallel to the south of the Dhaula Dhar and Pir Panjal which are peaks of the Himalayas. From the Kullu Valley you are treated to amazing views of the mountains, torrents and vast expanses of snow in the upper regions. This ‘Valley of the Gods’ is gorgeous, calming and peaceful. Though difficult, there are many trails that are suitable for trekking, mountaineering and running.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia


The Vellore trail, located near Vellore, Tamil Nādu is 8.05 km in length. As a new running trail, it has not been rated for difficulty.

Photo Credit: HaRsH

Damdama Lake

Located in Sohna, Gurgaon district in the Indian state of Haryana the trail circumference around the Damdama Lake varies in length and offers runners spectacular views one of the biggest natural lakes in Haryana. In the serene location surrounded by the Aravali Mountains, you can enjoy boating in rowing boats, paddle boats or motor boats, and it is a popular spot to picnic away from the city, in a beautifully scenic atmosphere. Damdama is known for its variety of adventure sports facilities, such as kayaking, cycling, angling, para sailing, valley crossing and rock climbing. The nearby Aravali Hills are a great area for nature walks.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

“Run the Rann”

India’s first desert running footrace began its first season in January 2015 and attracted approximately 150 athletes from around the world. The trail, located in the historic city of Dholavira in Khadir Bat, provides runners with spectacular views of the scenic island of Kutch. The second trail running race, scheduled for early 2016, will cover the entire Khadir Bet Island, encompassing a total distance of 101 km.

Photo Credit: Run The Rann

India National Park Running Trails

Several national parks in India feature incredible running trails that offer stunning views of India’s magnificent mountain ranges, wilderness areas, waterfalls and wildlife. Some of the running trails are extremely narrow and wind through rough and rocky terrain, but the views are well worth the effort.

Photo Credit: 123RF

Running Trails in India

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, India is one of the most beautiful countries in South Asia. A trail running vacation to India may be the experience of a lifetime for a running enthusiast. You will be able to personally experience geographical regions that are inaccessible to other tourists. As running will not be the sole focus of your vacation, you will also be able to explore local history, culture, nightlife and dining. You will have amazing opportunities to improve your running skills and make new friends. Your trail running experience in India will undoubtedly encourage you to begin planning your next running vacation.

Aidan H.

Aidan is the Editor-in-Chief of RunSociety. With more than a decade of editorial and marketing experience working with over thousands of writers. Aidan has also written for several popular websites reaching millions of readers. Recognised as an expert on the web, his focus is to oversee RunSociety’s Creativity Channel, spanning a wide range of inspirational and enriching topics daily to the community. Get in touch with him if you have something to say, or want to weigh in on an interesting topic at hello@runsociety.com.

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