As travel restrictions have lifted worldwide, trail runners across the globe are finding new opportunities to lace up for the simple joy of getting outside — and we are thrilled to see many retreats on pause for the past two years now back in action. Our favorite running retreats of 2023 reflect the spirit of playfulness and world exploration that inspired our original, pandemic-era list, each incorporating camaraderie and mindfulness into itineraries that allow runners to explore new terrain and cultures under professional guidance.
As we head into 2023, we have added even more retreats for runners who seek a challenge. Looking beyond North America, we’ve ventured into the Andes, the Japanese Alps, and even the High Himalayas. Whether you’re interested in meeting other mindful runners, want to stretch your skills, or simply want to experience nature in a new way, these retreats will transform you.
Sonoran Desert Trail Running + Wellness Retreat By Run Wild Retreats
Setting: The Sonoran Desert – Carefree, Arizona
Dates: Nov. 9-12, 2023
Learn More: Run Wild Retreats
Why We Love It: We’re crazy about the whole Run Wild Retreats calendar, which includes long-time favorites like Iceland and The Dolomites, as well as new North American destinations like Telluride and Victoria Island. But this recent addition has especially piqued our interest.
Maybe it’s the promise of striding past giant saguaro cacti. Maybe it’s the intrigue of “yummy yoga.” After a stressful year, it might just as easily be the prospects of lounging by the pool at the Civana Wellness Resort + Spa or indulging in the included spa treatment. As with all retreats offered by the award-winning team at Run Wild Retreats, the experience is led by experienced trail runners and includes mindful running techniques to tackle the trails with confidence.
Each retreat, regardless of ability level, also embodies a sense of playfulness and joy that encourages pausing to drink in the scenery and even stop for a photo. Founder Elinor Fish, a pioneer of the mindful running movement, has intentionally created each retreat to feel restorative and rejuvenating, with every mile leading to that “happy tired” feeling that indicates growth, not exhaustion.
As journalist Rebecca Meyers, who attended the Mediterranean Mindful Running Retreat, shared with The Sunday Times, “As a teenager I would run through trails without a watch, GPS tracker or phone, and return beaming, covered in mud. This is the closest I’ve come to that feeling in years.”
Check out the calendar to see the full range of destinations. Run Wild Retreats also offers the option to book a private retreat with your own group and dates.
Hut Run Hut
Setting: Colorado Rockies & Japanese Alps
Dates: September 10-15, 2023 (It’s back!)
Learn More: Run Hut Run (Colorado Rockies), Trail Run Adventures (Japanese Alps)
Why We Love It: The original version of Hut Run Hut is a 6-day, 100-mile journey that takes runners on a single-track adventure from Aspen to Red Cliff, Colorado, following a route typically traversed on skis. Led by Rickey Gates, a professional runner and veteran guide of the Colorado Rockies, the camp is more of a celebration of running for joy than an attempt to “conquer” the mileage or Instagram the process. As the website states, the oldest participant to date was 72 and most participants are in their 40s.
Brennan Wysong perhaps put it best in a feature for Bloomberg: “Hut Run Hut is a joyous exercise, a way for distance runners of varying abilities to reap the rewards of logging all those training miles.”
In a collaboration with Trail Run Adventures, Hut Rut Hut is now also available – with Rickey Gates – in Japan. This “fastpacking” rendition guides runners through the Japanese Alps, from mountain hut to mountain hut, in an adventure from Fujiyoshida City to the summit of Mount Fuji and back.
We at Mindful Escapes haven’t yet had the chance to try it ourselves, but the tantalizing appeal of six days without cell service in the untouched wilderness of Colorado has this camp squarely on our bucket list. Read more about the recommended prep and day-to-day experience at the link above.
Andros Weekend Running Escape by Go Running Tours
Setting: Aegean Sea, Greece
Learn More: Go Running Tours
Why We Love It: This relaxed weekend running escape, hosted by an Andros native, is as cultural as it is active. The 7-day adventure includes local cuisine, galleries and museums, and even a taste of the Andros nightlife scene. The Aegean Sea provides the backdrop for your retreat, but your daily running route might take you to a Byzantine monastery, a medieval castle, or lush trails with waterfalls.
Trail, Fell Running and Yoga Retreat at Bala Brook by Wild Running
Setting: The English Countryside
Dates: January 20-23, 2023
Learn More: Wild Running
A vast moorland in southwest England, Dartmoor National Park is a moody expanse of rivers, forests, trees and craggy rocks. Join this cozy, 3-day weekend on the park’s southern edge for yoga, nature, and gentle running. You’ll stay on the charming, 35-acre estate of Bala Brook with ample opportunity to explore the lush grounds, and you’ll enjoy daily chef-prepared meals. The package includes daily yoga sessions with a professional instructor and optional guided runs.
Travel-starved Americans may enjoy adding this experience to a London trip or longer stay in the UK — particularly with expanding opportunities to work remotely. We’re putting the kettle on just thinking of this countryside retreat.
Run South Africa with Rogue Expeditions
Setting: Cape Town, South Africa
Dates: October 7-15, 2023
Learn More: Rogue Expeditions
Why We Love It: This immersive running vacation covers the diverse terrain, scenery, and culture of South Africa, taking the time to explore its wildlife, cuisine and history. Ideal for runners who love to learn, this 9-day tour packs in visits to national parks, wine tours, and even an ostrich farm. Your running terrain might include oceanside cliff faces, lush forests, or hills of vineyards. Although the itinerary includes rest days, this retreat is best for intermediate to advanced runners who are comfortable covering up to 16 miles at a time.
Overland Track Tour by Find Your Feet Tours
Setting: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Dates: Nov. 15-18, 2023
Learn More: Find Your Feet Tours
Why We Love It: A retreat for experienced trail runners looking to challenge themselves on a world-famous course, this 4-day tour offers the world’s only opportunity to cover Tasmania’s Overland Track Run without running the race. You’ll run 40 miles in a single day, flying past alpine lakes and rainforests from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair, while meeting new friends and experiencing some of the world’s most interesting scenery. Find Your Feet has special permission from the Tasmanian National Parks & Wildlife Service to conduct this tour, making it a unique experience for well-trained and experienced runners.
Chamonix Trail Running Camp by Tracks & Trails
Setting: The French Alps
Dates: May-July (Flexible)
Learn More: Tracks & Trails
Why We Love It: This 8-day trail running camp in the heart of the Alps provides an ideal balance of challenging terrain with total relaxation. Each day, runners return to the luxurious La Folie Douce, an historic hotel within walking distance of cafes, shops and local culture. They can also rejuvenate after a long run with an on-site spa, yoga classes, pool, and bar. (We’re not above a post-run rose!)
Designed to help mountain runners improve technique, confidence and skill on mountain terrain, the comprehensive retreat also covers nutrition, equipment, strength, injuries and more. Daily runs range from 6 to roughly 10 miles a day for intermediate runners, and up to 14.5 miles in a day for advanced runners.
Run with Her Women’s Trail Running Retreat by Trail Sisters
Setting: Boulder, Colorado
Dates: June 1-4, 2023 or Aug. 10-13, 2023
Learn More: Trail Sisters
Why We Love It: This women-only retreat packs as much as it can into a 4-day, 3-night — all while managing to maintain a relaxed and leisurely pace. This education-focused retreat covers everything from Wilderness Awareness to Self-Defence, with plenty of ‘extras’ in between, like s’mores by an outdoor fire pit and dinners at local restaurants where participants get swag bags of gear – all included in the package price.
Although Run with Her retreats are open to all abilities, you’ll enjoy the experience more if you start with a baseline of running and hiking fitness. You should be comfortable running multiple days in a row and run/hiking up to 10 miles with breaks. Group runs are broken into pace groups, after which runners stick together in a “no drop” format. Runners looking to become better prepared on the trails — and more confident all-around runners — will love this low-commitment retreat. It’s also a great way to check out Boulder, from its local brews to its street performers.
Bruce Camp by Ben & Stephanie Bruce
Setting: Flagstaff – High Mountain Desert
Dates: August (2023 dates TBD)
Learn More: Bruce Camp
Why We Love It: This 4-day retreat will bring back memories of pre-season cross-country camp for those who ran in high school or college, but you need no such experience to enjoy it. Hosted by professional runners Ben and Stephanie Bruce, the camp is designed to teach everyday distance runners the habits that keep them injury-free and thriving through high mileage. Set in Flagstaff, Arizona at 7,000 feet above sea level, the camp will challenge even veteran runners, but that new environment also encourages participants to slow down, find a new rhythm, and enjoy the scenery.
Yosemite + Mammoth California Long Weekend by Runcation
Setting: Sierra Nevada Mountains
Dates: September 14-17, 2023
Learn More: Runcation
Why We Love It: This 4-day retreat explores Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne, Mammoth Lakes, and California’s Eastern Sierra for a comprehensive introduction to Northern California’s running scenery. Ideal for Californians seeking a long weekend of fresh air and physical challenge, the trip is recommended for intermediate runners who can cover up to 12 miles on mountain trails. Challenging as it may be, the experience won’t exactly have you roughing it. In between scenic trail runs, you’ll enjoy a dip in local hot springs, a chance to enjoy alpine lakes and beaches, and even local wine tasting.
Ecuador: Exploring the Andes with Trail Run Adventures
Setting: North and Central Andes
Dates: 2023 dates TBD
Learn More: Trail Run Adventures
Why We Love It: This 8-day trip explores the North and Central Andes, taking runners through the paramo landscape of Ecuador, past crater lakes and giant rosette plants. One day might take you up the Cotacachi volcano foothills to the Cuicocha lagoon; another, to the village of La Esperanza. Each day you’ll discover something new about Ecuador’s unique landscape and culture.
Since you’ll be running at about 8,000 feet above sea level, we recommend this retreat for runners with some experience at altitude. However, you need not be an advanced trail runner to enjoy this experience. Each day, the group may switch between running, hiking and other activities with an emphasis on community and enjoyment of the destination.
Bhutan Expedition by Trail Run Adventures
Setting: High Himalayas
Dates: October 27-November 10, 2023 (It’s back!)
Learn More: Trail Run Adventures
Why We Love It: This 15-day Himalayan retreat explores the alpine meadows, mountain passes and sub-tropical jungles above Paro, Bhutan, a hidden gem just south of Tibet. With daily runs reaching up to 18 miles at an average altitude of 13,000 feet, the retreat will challenge even advanced trail runners. However, participants are rewarded with unspoiled landscapes and a chance to spot Himalayan wildlife, including blue sheep and wild takins.
Guests stay at a 3-star hotel on off-trail nights and in tents on expedition days. Each day, you’ll enjoy daily tea, biscuits, chef-prepared food, and perhaps even a little wine. The package price includes all food, lodging, local guides, a training plan, sightseeing in Paro, and two massages.
Sausalito To Point Reyes Runners’ Trek By Wine Country Trekking
Setting: Bay Area, California
Ability: Beginner (Capable of running/hiking 9-10 miles per day)
Learn More: Wine Country Trekking
Why We Love It: Despite its made-for-running weather, scenery and terrain, San Francisco has yet to emerge as a trail running mecca in the same way that, say, Portland or Eugene just to the North have, and we’re thrilled to see a retreat that celebrates the area’s striking coastal terrain, while embracing its connection to wine country.
We like this retreat in particular because it makes trail running accessible to beginners and city dwellers alike with an itinerary that’s easily customizable. Primarily a hiking retreat company, Wine Country Trekking developed this special trail running version for Runner’s World in 2009, and it has since racked up multiple 5-star reviews based on the organization, guidance and ideal balance of running and relaxation.
Blue Ridge Running Vacation By Zap Endurance
Setting: Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
Dates: July 10-15 (Marathon Week: July 31-Aug. 5 / Half Marathon Week: Sept. 15-18)
Learn More: Zap Endurance
Why We Love It: This retreat reminds us of the camps that kicked off cross-country season in high school and college. The mixed-ability retreat focuses on training basics: nutrition, form, strength, and mental endurance. Runners enjoy five days of cruisy romps through the Blue Ridge high country, followed by an afternoon of tubing down the New River — just like camp.
Designed for all abilities, from never-ever trail runners to serious marathoners, the Blue Ridge Running Vacation provides a deep foundation for healthy long-distance running, while adding an element of playfulness that gives even the most earnest veteran permission to feel giddy on the trails again. We also love the spotlight on the East Coast, a surprising rarity among trail running retreats given the varied terrain this side of the Mississippi. Click above to see the full range of retreats offered by Zap Endurance with day-by-day detail.
Mediterranean Mindful Running Retreat by Run Wild Retreats
Setting: Costa Brava, Spain
Dates: April 29 – May 5, 2023
Learn More: Run Wild Retreats + Wellness
Why We Love It: This meditative retreat combines everything we love about travel: immersive culture, gourmet food, new friends, and spectacular scenery. This 7-day retreat also includes yoga, mindful running workshops, and a luxurious spa day to create for an experience that is truly equal parts “running” and “wellness.” We encourage clicking above to read the full itinerary and other experiences by Run Wild Retreats + Wellness, now that global travel is once again an option. (Iceland, anyone?)
Everest: The Conquest by Pure Trails
Setting: Foothills of Mount Everest
Dates: April 29 – May 15, 2023
Learn More: Pure Trails
Why We Love It: We love seeing unique, sustainable ways to support tourism in Nepal. Pure Trails makes Everest accessible to athletes who want to experience the mountain and Himalayan culture with a fully guided running adventure that includes Sherpa villages, Buddhist temples, and some of earth’s most extraordinary scenery, like the Renjo-la and Cho-la mountain passes. Although the adventure, which involves 12 trail running days, accounts for acclimatisation to altitude, Himalayan experiences are best suited to advanced runners.
Tuscon Winter Retreat by Alpine Running Guides
Setting: Tuscon, Arizona Desert
Dates: Jan. 3-8, 2023
Learn More: Alpine Running Guides
Why We Love It: Scenic and accessible, this retreat focuses on desert nature, with a chance to see wild javelina and even coyotes. With elevations reaching 6,500 feet and long runs of up to 16 miles, this mixed-gender retreat will appeal to advanced runners looking to level up their fitness in 2023. The itinerary also includes one day of cross-training with hiking and biking in Saguaro National Park.
We will update this post as retreat providers confirm dates for 2022 and new trail running adventures catch our eye. Did we miss something? Send us a note at email@example.com.
Table Of Contents
- Sonoran Desert Trail Running + Wellness Retreat By Run Wild Retreats
- Hut Run Hut
- Andros Weekend Running Escape by Go Running Tours
- Trail, Fell Running and Yoga Retreat at Bala Brook by Wild Running
- Run South Africa with Rogue Expeditions
- Overland Track Tour by Find Your Feet Tours
- Chamonix Trail Running Camp by Tracks & Trails
- Run with Her Women’s Trail Running Retreat by Trail Sisters
- Bruce Camp by Ben & Stephanie Bruce
- Yosemite + Mammoth California Long Weekend by Runcation
- Ecuador: Exploring the Andes with Trail Run Adventures
- Bhutan Expedition by Trail Run Adventures
- Sausalito To Point Reyes Runners’ Trek By Wine Country Trekking
- Blue Ridge Running Vacation By Zap Endurance
- Mediterranean Mindful Running Retreat by Run Wild Retreats
- Everest: The Conquest by Pure Trails
- Tuscon Winter Retreat by Alpine Running Guides
Discover New Escapes
The Sonoran Desert Trail Running Retreat by Run Wild Retreats + Wellness is an all-inclusive retreat through the trails of Carefree, AZ.
The Mediterranean Mindful Running Retreat by Run Wild Retreats is a guided, women-only trail running retreat in Costa Brava, Spain.
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