Trail Talk with Chelsea Bradley
I have been running for about 15 years. Seven years ago, I did my first trail run. I was totally hooked. We are blessed because Springfield has some pretty amazing trail options. Here are a few of my favorites.
Two Rivers houses 14+ miles of trail. I love Two Rivers for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is how runnable it is. Yes, there are some hilly and technical areas, but overall, you’re able to run almost everything at Two Rivers. Two Rivers always has two open bathrooms (huge plus), and a large wooden building, which houses a map of the various trails and connectors. The trails are labeled by level of difficulty, so Two Rivers is great place for trail runners of all levels! Another added bonus of Two Rivers is that one of the trail maps is the perfect size for most phones. You can take a picture of the map and have it with you at all times.
Being the closest trail systems to town, Sac River has about 14+ miles of interconnected trail. Sac is definitely a fun place to run. The trails are fairly rocky, making it a pretty technical trail system, but being deep in the trees, running on single track is one of my favorite places to be. Despite those technical areas, there is still a pretty beginner-friendly vibe. Sac is also undergoing some signage and marking changes, so be sure to check them out! Sac has a small pavilion past the parking lot, which can be rented out for functions as well.
If you want water crossings and rugged terrain, Busiek State Park is the place for you. Busiek boasts 20+ miles of trail, with some pretty serious elevation gain. Horses are allowed at Busiek, which adds to some of the uneven, technical parts of the trail. Busiek also has some pretty long, steady climbs that get your legs burning, but the incredible views make up for the muscle pain. Camping (by permit only) is also available. There is a public gun range at Busiek, so don’t be scared by the occasional gun shots – they’re a good way to wake up in the morning!
Not too far from Springfield is the White River Valley Trail System, which houses 10.25 miles of single track trail. White River consists of four looped trails with connectors. Near the lake side of White River, there is a paved trail, which is also a great spot to run. White River has a lot of variety, which makes trail running there an absolute blast. The trails are designated by level, so you can pick the level in which you are most comfortable.
Remember, we want to keep our trails in good shape, so steer clear of them if we have gotten a lot of rain or winter freezes/thaws. Yes, muddy runs can be fun, but damaging the trails we love is not. If you’re a lady and want to get some experience trail running on different trail systems, you’re in luck! We have a Trail Sisters Springfield group that meets every Saturday morning for no-drop group runs! ALL levels are welcome. Some of the girls get together for additional runs during the week, too. You can find us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to have you!
Chelsea Bradley is a 30-year old avid trail and road runner who blogs every day. She currently leads Trail Sisters Springfield and is an ambassador for the Go Girl Run Series. Chelsea just finished her PhD in Reading Education from Mizzou and is enjoying some downtime post-graduation. She is married to Jake, an ultra runner here in town, and they have Lulu, a Yorkie mix, who also loves to run. Please contact Chelsea if you’re interested in Trail Sisters Springfield and/or Go Girl. She loves meeting new people and helping them explore their love of running!