WHY YOU NEED A TRAIL RUNNING VACATION THIS SUMMER  

In Advice, Summer
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July 4, 2024 | Words by Tyson Newell

LEAVE THE PAVEMENT BEHIND 

This is an opportunity to take one of the fastest-growing sports in North America to its very heights. No, we’re not talking about pickleball. We mean trail running, and not your local 5k park loop.

This is a dance with geological skyscrapers, dotted with alpine lakes and swirling glaciers, accompanied by professional guides who know the area backwards, forwards, up, down and every which way.

Oh, and there’s a helicopter that allows you to start and end your runs right in the alpine. Runner’s high, anyone?  

WAIT, WHERE AM I GOING TRAIL RUNNING?   

This is a trail running trip in the heart of one of the world’s most famous mountain ranges: the Bugaboos. Tucked into the southeastern part of British Columbia near the towns of Golden and Radium, the Bugaboos are home to striking scenery and a hotbed of mountain culture history.  

Think towering spires of granite (the kind climbers and mountaineers travel the world for), rocky ridgelines, turquoise tarns and the serenity of real wilderness. This is a place far from crowds and close to adventure. This is guided trail running at its very peak.   

Three people running on a Ridgeline with mountains in the background.

ALPINE RUNNING HAPPENS IN THE ALPINE  

With a playground like we’ve just described, who wouldn’t want to do some exploring on their own two feet? These are the sorts of landscapes trail runners of all ages and abilities dream to move through.  

And because you’ve got use of the helicopter for access at the start of your day and to get you back to the lodge at the end, most of your running will be up in the alpine. Slogging up to get there? Nope. Having to leave that gorgeous ridge running to run back down into the valley? Also nope. On this trip, you spend your time in the high country, bagging peaks and clocking those highly-prized alpine kilometres.     

READ NOW: WHAT IS ALPINE TRAIL RUNNING? 

A female runner high fives a CMH running guide.

GETTING FIT FOR MOUNTAIN RUNNING   

Just looking at the scale and size of these wild, immense mountainous landscapes suggests one needs to be a regular Courtney Dauwalter or Jim Walmsley to even contemplate coming on one of these trail running trips, right? If you don’t have a few Western States buckles above the fireplace, you’ll never be able to keep up, will you?  

Nope and nope! While we certainly wouldn’t turn Courtney and Jim away (call us?), our guided trips can cater to different experience and fitness levels. There are two guides for the group, so any splits required for speed and ability are easy to manage. And if your legs erupt in a volcano of lactic acid and simply can’t run any further, you can switch to heli-hiking and appreciate these absurdly, ridiculously beautiful mountains at your own speed. Win, win, and win?  

To get the most out of this experience, we do recommend that you build your endurance and strength by running (roads are fine, but preferably trails) three-to-four times per week. This’ll get you ready for three days of vert and views at CMH Bugaboos.  

READ NOW: TRAINING TIPS FOR ALPINE TRAIL RUNNING 

A fitness instructor demonstrating stretches.

A DAY-IN-THE-LIFE TRAIL RUNNING AT CMH BUGABOOS  

Your eyes peel open. It’s early, but not rudely so. You make your way to a dynamic warm-up class to get the blood flowing and the muscles moving so everything is primed for the adventure ahead.  

Right around 8 AM, you’ll tuck into a hearty breakfast to fuel up, and pack your lunch for the day. It’s go time!  

The helicopter lifts off and glides above glaciers and by granite spires before landing and dropping you off for the start of your run. Distances and vertical gain will depend on the group, but on Day 2 you can expect to run up to 10 km (6 miles) with approximately 400-600 m (1300-2000 ft) of ascent and Day 3 you may run up to 20 km (12 miles) with approximately 500-1000 m (1600-3300 ft) of ascent. 

Kilometres will be run. Views will be admired. And that packed lunch of yours will likely be devoured. Come the late afternoon, you’ll return to the lodge for après-adventure beverages, put the feet up in the hot tub. Exhale, team. Time to relax.  

Until it’s time to eat, that is. A big family-style dinner—runner’s fuel prepared by an in-house chef—is served with guests, guides and lodge staff all swapping stories from the hills. Ready to do it again tomorrow?  

READ NOW: 6 THINGS YOU SHOULD PACK ALPINE TRAIL RUNNING 

A mountain lodge in a mountain valley with the Bugaboo spires in the distance.

READY OR NOT, HERE WE RUN 

Not that we’re into keeping score, but we think this trip ticks a whole lot of boxes for the exploratory adventures out there who like to push just a little further, higher and longer. Running through postcards with professional guides and a crew of like-minded trail runners with a 32-room log-hewn lodge full of modern comforts as your basecamp sounds pretty damn good. And that begs the question: When are you coming?