Trail running as a family rocks. Running trails never gets boring. There’s always something new to see, hear, smell, or experience. Kids eat that stuff up.
Beyond simply running together for adventure, kids also make terrific running buddies and pacers. They can also be their own incredible racers, too. With the right training, nutrition, and grown-up oversight, kids can become accomplished trail racers–in short or long distances, and everything in between.
As trail running and racing grows more popular, and gains attention as a family-friendly sport, trail festivals have begun to pop up to take advantage of trail enthusiasm. These (typically) weekend-long festivals feature a series of races, sometimes including kid-specific trail races or other distances that welcome determined child racers.
Best Picks for Family-Friendly Trail Running Festivals
1. Jay Peak Trail Running Festival. Jay Peak, Vermont. The Jay Peak Trail Running Festival takes place around the first weekend of September. In 2016, it takes place on September 3rd & 4th. This family-oriented festival features a real kids trail race, three 5Ks, a 25K, and a 50K. The Festival location at Jay Peak Resort offers family accommodations and activities, such as Jay Peak’s Pump House Indoor Waterpark.
My family has attended the Jay Peak Trail Running Festival for several years, including the debut year. Over the years, my husband, kids, or I have raced, including the 50K, 25K, and kids trail race. Chris Bernier of Sub 5 Race Management and the Race Director, is super welcoming and encouraging of kid trail runners. It’s always nice to attend a race as a family and feel like you are actually welcome to be there–with four kids and a trail running husband who has raced in many different races and venues, I know this isn’t always the case.
2. Salomon Trail Festival at Pineland Farms. New Gloucester, Maine. The Salomon Trail Festival takes place annually at the end of May. In 2016, it took place during Memorial Day weekend. This family-oriented festival features a YMCA Kid Zone, with activities and entertainment to keep supervised children busy and in the trail-festival spirit. The Salomon Trail Festival features a number of race options, including the 5K, 10K, barefoot race, 25K, 50K, and 50 Mile Ultra.
My family loves this Festival at Pineland Farms. The terrain is rolling, with lush green, grassy farm fields and wide trails. It also features well-stocked aid stations that rock my kids’ worlds.
Know of an awesome family-friendly trail running festival? Share it below.