Why Should I Hire A Trail Running Guide?

Running is supposed to be simple. Basically you need shoes and some non-chafe clothes. So why should you pay for someone to show you where to run? Here’s a few reasons why a guided trail run from Alpine Running Guides can improve your running experience…

1. It’s easy. As simple as we want running to be there is so much more to it than shoes and shorts. You need your watch, socks, sunscreen, hat, maps, food, water, and on-and-on. On top of that, you have to decide where to go and how to get there. A guided trip takes the decision making and transportation issues out of the picture. Once you get in the van you can turn off your brain and simply enjoy.


2. You can run outside your comfort zone. Most runners run the same routes repeatedly. Occasionally we will get crazy and run our loop backwards. But mostly, we are creatures of habit. A guided trip gives you an opportunity to explore a new trail with very little risk. Because we have done the leg work, you know there is actually a trail (you’d be surprised how many “map trails” are not actually “on the ground trails”), you know it’s navigable, and you know there are roads to get you there. You may never run that trail again, or you may have discovered a new favorite long run.


3. Food! If you have ever driven to a trailhead to do a run, then you know that the drive back can be miserable. Our pre-run selves rarely pack enough food for our post-run hunger demons. Alpine Running Guides will not let the post-run hangries get you! Lunch is included with all Alpine Running Guides tours, and don’t think that this is just a standard PB&J. We know that a good meal after the run is important not only for proper recovery, but also for emotional well being. So we take our time with lunch and offer quality meals to keep your engine burning clean. We also found that this cuts down on whining from the backseat on the drive back to town!

4. Navigation. Say you’ve broken the mold and have made it out to a new trail. You’ve studied the map, but the trail forks, and then forks again, and the again. There’s always a nagging doubt in the back of your head that you took a wrong turn. Are you on the trail or a well-used deer path? Alpine Running Guides takes the guesswork out of navigating so you can focus on what’s important. Enjoying the running experience.

5. Post Run Massage! There’s nothing worse than finishing a run then sitting a car for an hour. You may be fit enough to run at least 10 miles, but by the time you get home you need help getting from your car to the couch. That’s not a good feeling. That’s why Alpine Running Guides offers short post-run massages on most of our trips. A few minutes with our licensed therapist can leave you feeling fresh enough to run again, well at least fresh enough to leap from the car without help!

Give me a shout if you have any questions about our trips or see all of our trips here. 

Happy Trails,

Forrest Boughner

Preparing for a Guided Running Trip

By this point you’ve run your favorite long run so many times you can recognize when the neighborhood squirrel has moved a stick. You know the smells. You know the rocks. It’s your loop.

But now you’re signed up for an Alpine Running Guides trail run in Montana and are venturing into new terrain. It’s unfamiliar. It’s foreign. It’s okay! That’s where it gets fun.

We try to be as open as possible with what you can expect on an Alpine Running Guides trail run. There are always discrepancies between GPS devices, but we try to be close to what you’ll find on the ground. We try to be accurate with our elevation profiles and trail descriptions so you know what to expect. But we do encourage you to give us a call if you ever have questions on trail conditions.

Most of our runs will cover 10-20 miles. At a group pace this will take some time. We recommended being able to run at least 3 miles farther than your tour distance, just so you’re used to the time on your feet.

Because we try to put the ‘Alpine’ in Alpine Running Guides, there is a significant amount of elevation gain in most of our trips. That’s okay! Climbing gets you to the fun places. Find your nearest hill and get to love those hill repeats. You’ll be fine! There is no rule saying you have to hammer every climb on one of our trips, in fact we recommend taking your time.

All Alpine Running Guides trips are built to allow ample opportunity for breaks. We enjoy spending time outside and don’t want to simply run through nature. We want you to be able to enjoy your journey. We will give you a chance to take pictures, catch your breath, and smell that flower. There’s no rushing adventure!

If you ever have questions on how to train for one of our trips, or any other event, give me a call. I’m happy to help with some tips, pointers, or a full coaching plan.

Happy Trails,




Running the Divide

One of the trips I am most looking forward to this year is the Alpine Running Guides run along Reservation Divide. Anyone who knows me knows that I love running along ridge lines and over 10 of the 15 miles of this run is on a ridge line!

The Reservation Divide trail alternates between following the top of the ridge and dropping a hundred feet down the Ninemile Valley side of the ridge. In July this means that we will be running through high alpine meadows when we aren’t up on the ridge line. Flowers should be out. The weather is usually clear and warm. And we should find some huckleberries.

I also particularly enjoy running on this trail because of the trail itself. One of the beauties of ridge line travel is that you’re already high. There isn’t the need, or space, to climb thousands of feet at a time (usually) so I’m able to find more of a rhythm while running. The footing is technical in spots, but not overly so. I rate it as just enough to keep you engaged, but not so technical that you can’t appreciate the scenery. It ends up being a fun, flowy run where the miles just fly by.

If peakbagging is your thing, this trip also gives you the chance to summit potentially four named peaks and pinnacles. Each with a different feel and flavor of scenery. I still vividly remember the first time I went up Burnt Fork Pinnacle (one of the points we will cover on this trip). We ran up from the road below on a rainy day and ended up standing on the summit while not being sure if that was actually it. Visibility was severely limited in the clouds, it was windy, and rain pelted us. Now every time I think of that area I remember that storm swirling around while we stood on the summit. It’s a memory that is forever linked with that run, because of that particular mountain.

The Reservation Divide trail run has multiple mountains to cover! What memories will you make?

Happy Trails,


Lake Como Trial Trip!

Today we lead our first ever official Alpine Running Guides trail run. Okay, it wasn’t actually “official”, but we approached it like it was. We took eight people down to Lake Como on a trip in exchange for feedback so we can perfect our system for our first “real” trip in June.

After months of working on the behind-the-scenes stuff it was great to get things running, literally. This is why we do what we do at Alpine Running Guides. We love sharing the trails with others. Even though today was rainy and cold, we still had a great time.

We were able to test out a lunch recipe that, after feedback today, we will be keeping in the rotation. We also ran through our system of post-run massage vs. eating lunch, and figured out we need a longer music playlist. Anything you want to see on a playlist?

With more feedback from today we will be able to take our already great trip (at least we think so!) and make them fantastic! Our first few permits should be in our hands in the next week or so, so look for trip dates to drop soon!


Preparing for 2018

By this time most trail runners in the country have an idea of races they are running, or wanting to run, in 2018. A lot of registrations for the longer races have already opened and filled. I am excited to try out a new race in California, and Sara is signed up for her first 100 mile race, IMTUF.

As soon as I sign up for a run my training takes on more purpose. I have a goal in mind, another reason to get out the door. But I still want to be smart. I want to show up as prepared as possible on race-day.

We want to help you show up prepared for your event this year too! I love helping runners get prepared for a new challenge. Whether you are training for your first trail race, a 5k, a road marathon, or a mountainous ultra, we can help. Check out the coaching page for more details, or send me an email with questions. Make sure you show up as ready as possible this season!

Happy Trails,


Looking to Summer

This time of year I find myself looking at maps daily. I dream of high mountain passes and flowy single track trails.

We are devising some fun new routes for this year and can’t wait to get our feet on the ground. The Pintlers, Beartooths, Tobacco Roots, and Rocky Mountain Front are catching our eyes for future trips.

Where do you dream of running this summer?

Welcome to Alpine Running Guides!

20171231_121622.jpgI can’t tell you how excited I am to see this company come to fruition. It has been a dream of mine for the last couple years to turn my passion for the trails into a business; a way to share the magic of trail running with others. Sometimes the dream has been small, sometimes it pulled hard, but finally it’s here!

We are excited to see where we can go with Alpine Running Guides. In the next couple years we will offer single-day trips – and even a few overnights – every weekend throughout the long Montana summer. Each trip is permitted by the appropriate agency for the land we will be using and we hope you will stick with us as we add more and more trips to our calendar.

For now, if you have ideas of places you want to run, questions on what types of runs we offer, or simply want to chat, shoot me an email at

Happy Trails,

Forrest Boughner