Is Trail Running Dangerous? (What trail runners think)


When I started sharing my trail running videos with my friends, they wanted to experience the trail of the sport. However, there’s one particular question that almost all of them asked… “Is trail running dangerous?”.

Like all sports, there are some dangers associated with trail running including getting lost, falling, getting attacked by a large animal, or getting bitten by a snake. However, there are things you can do to avoid these from happening. 

Ahead, we’re going to talk about the dangers associated with trail running and some safety tips so you can avoid them.

The Dangers of Trail Running

Getting Lost

One of the dangers of trail running is getting lost.

This is common if you’re trail running in the jungle or any unfamiliar place. In fact, I’ve been lost a couple of times myself.

Getting lost should be fine as long as you find your way back. But the danger comes when you get lost and run out of water.

Or maybe you get trapped in the jungle overnight without any food or shelter.

If you’re running in an unfamiliar area, it’s important to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If you can, bring another friend or run with a group.

It’s also a good idea to wear a GPS watch or bring a map and a compass with you. That way, if you do get lost, you can find your way back.

Falling Down

Another danger of trail running is falling down.

This can happen if you trip on a root, a rock, or you just simply lost your balance. Slipping in mud or ice (if it’s winter) is also very common.

As a trail runner, I’ve experienced falling down countless times. More than I can ever count.

Most of the time I’m able to go home with just minor scratches and bruises. The one time I had to take a break from running for a month was only when I twisted my ankle and couldn’t walk without pain.

To avoid falling down, it’s important to pay attention to the ground in front of you and to watch your step.

You should also adjust to a comfortable speed. Running on trails is not the same as running on a flat surface.

I have a full article containing tips on how to not fall down while trail running. Be sure to check it out.

Getting Attacked by a Large Animal

Another danger of trail running is getting attacked by a large animal.

This is more likely to happen if you’re running in an area where there are bears or mountain lions.

To avoid this, it’s important to make a lot of noise while you’re running.

You can do this by singing, clapping your hands, or carrying a whistle with you.

Or better yet, run only in an area on populated trails.

Getting Bitten by a Snake

One of the dangers I fear most is getting bitten by a snake simply because you hardly even noticed them.

This is more likely to happen if you accidentally step on them when running through thick bushes or jungle.

To avoid this, it’s important to watch where you’re stepping and to avoid running in areas where snakes are known to live.

Safety Tips For Trail Running

Now that we’ve talked about the dangers of trail running, let’s talk about some safety tips so you can avoid them.

Related post: 34 Running Safety Tips For Every Runner

Familiarize Yourself with the Area

If you’re running in an unfamiliar area, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the area first.

This means knowing where the trails are and what the terrain is like.

It’s also a good idea to bring a map with you so you can find your way back if you get lost.

Tell Someone Where You’re Going

When you’re going for a run, it’s important to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

That way, if something happens to you, they’ll know where to find you.

Wear the Right Shoes

Wearing the right shoes is important for trail running.

You want to make sure you have shoes with good traction and stability so you don’t slip and fall.

You also want to make sure they’re comfortable so you can run for long periods of time without getting sore feet.

One of my favorite trail running shoes is the Salomon Sense Ride. They have fantastic traction, good stability, and decent foot protection.

A photo of me standing on a rock wearing my Salomon Sense Ride 4 trail running shoes
A photo of me standing on a rock wearing my Salomon Sense Ride 4 trail running shoes.

If you have no idea what to wear when trail running, I made a complete gear guide in a separate article.

Related post: Trail Running Shoes: How Are They Different?

Bring a Phone

It’s a good idea to bring a phone with you when you go for a run.

That way, if you get lost, you can call for help.

You should also bring a phone in case you need to call for help if you’re injured.

Don’t Run Alone

If possible, don’t run alone.

It’s always safer to run with someone else in case something happens to you.

If you do run alone, make sure you tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

When you’re running, it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings.

This means looking out for obstacles in your path and being aware of your surroundings.

If you see a large animal, make sure you make a lot of noise so you don’t startle them.

Follow the Leave No Trace Principles

This is probably not an obvious safety tip, but it’s a good practice to do this anyway. When you’re running on trails, it’s important to follow the Leave No Trace principles.

This means leaving no trace of your presence behind.

This includes things like not littering, not disturbing wildlife, and not damaging the trail.

By following these principles, you can help keep trails safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Be Prepared for Emergency Situations

It’s important to be prepared for emergency situations when you’re out on the trails.

This means having a first aid kit with you and knowing how to use them in case you’re injured.

It also means knowing how to find help if you’re lost or stranded.

Being prepared for emergency situations can help you stay safe on the trails.

What Trail Runners Think About The Dangers of Trail Running

I’ve asked my friends from the trail running community with regard to the dangers of trail running.

Kobe, who was one of the first guys I met in the trail running community, said that he doesn’t mind knowing there are dangers out there.

According to him, the only way to really enjoy a sport is to embrace the dangers associated with it.

Another trail runner that I asked revealed that when he started out trail running, his greatest fear was getting mauled by a large animal. Which, thankfully, has never happened.

He added that in his 7 years of experience running on trails, he has never seen a large animal on a trail he has been.

The general consensus among trail runners seems to be that the dangers of trail running are overblown.

While there are certain dangers associated with it, they are relatively small compared to the benefits.

Related post: Does Trail Running Regularly Help Build Muscle?

Final Thoughts

Trail running can be dangerous, but by following these safety tips, you can help keep yourself safe. So next time you head out for a run, remember to be aware of your surroundings and to take the necessary precautions. Happy trails!

Nicho Mauricio

Running wasn't always my favorite sport. I was a CrossFit athlete and I loved every bit of it. But since the pandemic began, I was forced to stay away from the gym and train at home instead. Things got boring. That's when I decided to trail run with my friends. I instantly got hooked. So I started training and researching all things running. As a beginner, I want to buy only the best running gear and do only the best practices. This blog is where I share what I've learned in my journey and my experiences as a runner.

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