Best Mud Runs and Obstacle Course Races in the United States

Best Mud Runs and Obstacle Course Races in the United States

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There are many amazing mud runs and obstacle courses that can be found through the United States. While some are well known by virtually everyone, most people only know one or two until they get further into the world of mud running.

There are many, many options out there. This ranges from beginner level races, some of which are still truly challenging, to serious hard core courses that only the heavily experienced should attempt, you’ll find some of the best in the country right here.

Top 5 Mud Runs and Obstacle Races

  • Warrior Dash
  • Down & Dirty
  • Savage Race
  • Tough Mudder
  • Spartan Race Sprint
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1. Best for Runs for Beginners: Warrior Dash or Rugged Maniac

There are some races that are pegged as “beginner” challenges that involve foam or even easier courses, but if you’re looking for mud runs then chances are you want some degree of challenge. You want to be able to push your self and then work your way up the ladder if it ends up being your thing. With that in mind even a “beginner” mud race and obstacle course should be challenging, or what’s the benefit of doing it?

Warrior Dash is a very popular choice for beginners. Touted as the world’s largest running adventure series, this is a challenging run with plenty of obstacles to give you a taste of what’s out there. Warrior Dash is a 5k setup that is is mostly an unntimed race. More competitive types can go with the timed first wave but after that it is very much a fun run setup.

Some run from obstacle to obstacle while there are beginners only beginning to get fit who choose to walk most of it or jog what they can and walk the rest. This is fine since Warrior Dash is designed to open the world of obstacle courses and mud races to others. There are mud pits, cargo nets, walls, slides, and more. Not to mention a quality beer garden and party for first-time finishers at the end of the day.

The Warrior Dash Facebook Page can be found at:

  • Rugged Maniac

This is another “beginner” obstacle course with a heavy emphasis on obstacles. The days starts with 25 different obstacles to hit along with plenty of fun along the way. Climb man-made towers from boxes, crates, and shipping containers, climb more cargo nets than you’ve seen in a life time, hit the monkey bars and mud pits, but then enjoy shooting down a giant water slide or jumping on a trampoline before moving on.

Rugged Maniac is definitely a step up from Warrior Dash but quite a bit less challenging or hard than Spartan Race. Like the Warrior Dash this includes a well-earned cold beer and group party at the end of the day.

You can look for their next event at the official website:

2. Down & Dirty Obstacle Race: Best for Mud?

I’m not sure how you judge for sure who has the best mud, but the Down & Dirty Obstacle Race is happy to lay claim to that bragging right! A popular option that includes a 5K and a 10K option for competitors, both courses have over 20 obstacles. This is a race that has a reputation for thick mud that cakes to everything it touches.

The entry fees to the race benefit “Operation Gratitude” which does charity work connecting and strengthening bonds between community and first response emergency workers. The finisher medal is in the form of customized dog tags which is undeniably cool.

Check out the race here:

3. Savage Race

The Savage Race definitely holds up to its name. This is a 6-mile traveling race that hits multiple cities across the U.S. The key for the Savage Race is the obstacles. This race brags about having more obstacles per mile than any other race out there. This isn’t for the faint of heart.

Prepare to haul giant logs, carefully navigate the colorfully named “Nutt Smasher” balancing beam, very carefully crawling under actual barbed wire, and facing the famous “Colossus,” a over 40 foot slide that is as close to a vertical drop as you can safely get. The cost is a bit high to be a part of this, but a good chunk of the money goes to charity.

Participating teams that finish get a big post-race barbecue meal and beer if you’re old enough. This is a race that is known for many teams showing up in costumes. There’s even an award for the “most savage” team costumes.

Official Website:

4. Tough Mudder

The Tough Mudder is a great option when you are ready to take that next step for challenging yourself. This is one of the really challenging mud races and obstacle courses out there. This is a race that has made it to multiple continents and has really spread. Seen by many as the mother/father of the mud run popularity explosion, Tough Mudder has raised millions for charity and has a slightly over 20% wash out race.

The obstacles on this rough mud course are military training inspired and range from swinging on ropes off of tall platforms to swimming in ice water. Also watch out for that razor wire – that’s real.

Those who managed to conquer the incredibly challenging Tough Mudder race not only get the pride of accomplishing an incredible feat but there is beer, live music, and plenty of tired Tough Mudders ready to party at the end. There’s even a tradition of having tattoo artists on-site for those who want to celebrate with some ink of the official Tough Mudder logo. Not a bad way to permanently remember your accomplishment finishing this seriously heavy duty mud race and obstacle course.

Check out the Tough Mudder schedule at

5. The Crown Jewel: Spartan Race Sprint

No one should be surprised by this. The Spartan Race lives up to its name of challenging even the most experienced of obstacle course experts and mud runners. Although the distance of the base Spartan Race is relatively short at around 3-5 miles depending on the specific setup, this doesn’t make it an easy run.

This is a timed race with each race being different. There will normally be a minimum of 15 obstacles with over 20 in some locations. There are even “difficulty” levels depending on the experience of the runners although even the “easy” Spartan course is anything but. Mud, walls, mud pits, barbed wire crawl (usually through mud or muddy water) 5 gallon bucket carry, more mud, cargo nets, rope climbing, and even more mud as the time keeps on ticking.

Because the obstacle course is always changing even those who have run it multiple times don’t know quite what to expect with the next

If you managed to survive the Spartan Race the after parties are known for being nothing short of legendary. Even most non-obstacle course runners know just how impressive completing a Spartan Race is. The personal pride factor for those who finish is, deservedly, through the roof.

If 3-5 miles of Spartan hell isn’t enough there’s also the Spartan Super Race at 8+ miles or the Spartan Beast Race at 12+ miles. Whether a beginner or a hard core runner, there is a Spartan course that can push you to your limits and then right past where you thought they were.


Now that you have this list of truly outstanding mud races and race-based obstacle courses in the U.S. there’s no excuse not to go give it your best. Are you ready to cross that finish line? Are you training hard ready for the challenge ahead? Now you know the best options out there so go out and get that glory!