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Fall Trail Running in the Alps – And Two New Run the Alps Trips

Fall Trail Running in the Alps – And Two New Run the Alps Trips

Jun 24, 2024

A decade ago, I started Run the Alps. 

In those days, before my life was filled with long-stay visas and residency cards and a lot of French governmental paperwork, I would trail run as long as I could into the fall. 

Over the years, and without quite realizing it, fall has become my favorite season here. 

After a busy summer, the trails grow quieter. The weather shifts to cooler nights, brisk days, and the sky somehow seems bluer. 

Our friends at hotels, cafes, and other businesses around the Alps have a moment to catch their breath, and you can see calm expressions on their faces. 

Also a decade ago, I wrote about a friend, Manu Vaudan, for Trail Runner Magazine, who won a local Alps trail race. After crossing the finish line, he ran to the next summit, napped amid the rust-colored alpine sedge, and missed the awards ceremony. 

That’s what the fall in the Alps will do to you. It’s a relaxed time of year. 

fall in the Dolomites
Fall in the Dolomites. (Mark Brightwell)
downhill runner in fall
September in Chamonix. (Photo: Toni Spasenoski)

I’m not alone in this sentiment. Many of our guides and staff feel similarly. Here’s what they shared when I asked them what they love about trail running in the Alps in the fall:

  • The colors are beautiful and the temperature is perfect with fresh mornings and mild afternoons. – Sheridan Stride, Chamonix Online Shop Manager

  • Autumn has such gorgeous colors. There’s a peacefulness, and I love seeing all the mushrooms. It’s one of my favorite seasons. And if you’re lucky enough, you can hear the deer bellowing.Marion Giro, Guide

  • The red of the blueberry bushes, the cooler mornings, and “Des Alpes”– when the farm animals come down from the high pastures. Plus, the shorter days mean a higher chance of seeing sunrise and sunset! Carrie Craig, Finance Manager

  • It’s chilly and maybe almost frosty first thing in the valley, and so calm with clear blue skies. The day warms up nicely, too– it’s still t-shirt and shorts weather by mid-morning and never seems to get crazy hot. Giles Ruck, Guide

  • The crisp mornings and warm afternoons. The beauty of it all. The trails are calmer, and I feel strong after a summer of training. You can be out for the joy of it. Everything seems easier and lighter. – Georgina Fitzgerald, Caterer
Fall trail running in the Alps above Chamonix, France
Trail running on a fall day above Chamonix, France. (Photo: PatitucciPhoto)

Now, we’re able to share this time with you! Run the Alps is launching two new tours for the fall season:

Cortina and Lugano are ideal locations for trail running in the fall. Here are some highlights of these new trips:

Fall trail running in the dramatic mountain landscape of the Italian Dolomites
Trail running in the dramatic mountain landscape of the Italian Dolomites. (Photo: PatitucciPhoto)

Dolomites Trail Running – Cortina 

  • Start and finish in Cortina D’Ampezzo with time to take in the selection of shops, cafes, and restaurants – all nestled among impressive Dolomitic peaks
  • Sleep at comfortable hotels in cozy alpine villages, including Misurina, San Vigilio, and San Cassiano – and one special night at Rifugio Lagazuoi, a mountain hut perched on a summit with a 360° view
  • Trail run through the impressive Dolomites, famous for their pale, jagged peaks, cathedral-like spires, and rocky ridgelines with stops at rustic rifugios to fuel up on apple strudel, pasta, and strong Italian espresso
Trail running above the Ritom Lakes
Trail running above the Ritom Lakes (Photo: Patitucci).

Trail Run Lugano: Swiss Lakes and Mountains

  • Spend time in Ticino’s dramatic yet accessible mountains, verdant valleys, and beautiful lakeside towns 
  • Trail run through deep green valleys with tumbling streams, along ridgeline trails, and past high mountain lakes
  • Enjoy the region’s unique mix of Italian and Swiss cultures – a place we fondly like to call “Switaly!”

If your schedule doesn’t allow you to run with us during the summer months, or if you like the sound of fall leaves on the trails, we hope you’ll consider our new fall trips! In addition to our annual September in the Alps tour, we’re happy to have more ways to share this colorful season.

Contact us with any questions!

Get all the details on these new tours:

Doug Mayer
Doug Mayer is the founder of Run the Alps and lives in Chamonix, France with his labradoodle, Izzy. He is the author of The Race that Changed Running: The Inside Story of UTMB and writes for Outside Online and Ultrasignup News. His upcoming book is a graphic novel about Italy’s 330km long Tor des Géants trail race.