Running Trails

The thing we like about runners is that they still run for the finish line, even when others have reached it first. The thing you’ll like about running trails on TrailLink.com is that you can set the start and finish line wherever you want.

TrailLink.com routes make excellent running trails for serious runners and casual joggers, alike. Rail-trails in particular are great for post-work exercise or even marathon training. In fact, many competitive runs-from your 5K to your 26.2-miler-are held on rail-trails all across the country. This website lists thousands of those running paths across all 50 states.

Most trails on TrailLink.com make suitable running routes, but a few have surfaces that might be too rough (e.g., heavy ballast). If you prefer a more natural trail surface, such as dirt, grass, or cinder, use our advance search feature to find running trails that suit your needs and tastes. In addition to preferred surfaces, you’ll find everything from short, medium, and long running routes and from easy, moderate, and sometimes more challenging running trails that have hills. Also included are some fitness trails purpose-built to engage communities in staying healthy.

Running trails and running route maps listed on TrailLink.com pass through a variety of landscapes, including nature paths through city and county parks; urban passages that provide safe access across town; scenic trails with historical significance; and remotely located running paths through forests and open rural stretches, or among lakes and mountainous regions.

When choosing the right running route for you, consider the trail’s surface, length, and distance between amenities, such as water fountains, bathrooms, or shelters. On those longer running trails, bring a friend to share the experience.

All trails listed on TrailLink.com are multi-use, so whichever your mode of travel, keep in mind that runners should yield to pedestrians and horses. Explore running trails and running route maps on TrailLink.com and use our comprehensive trail guides with descriptions, photos, and reviews to plan your next trail run. You can also find routes that we might not have on USA Track & Field (http://www.usatf.org/routes/) and from the American Trail Running Association (http://www.trailrunner.com/). Runner’s World also features a trail of the month (http://www.runnersworld.com).

And one more thing, we try to provide the most up-to-date information on running trails, but sometimes trails change. We invite you to update paths on TrailLink.com by clicking on the “edit this trail” link; include as many details as possible. Also, you can help your fellow runners by posting a review of the trail and noting details that will prove useful for their run. Let us see where you’ve been by taking some shots of the trail with your cell phone (you do run with one for emergencies, don’t you?) and posting them directly to the trail description page.

Best Running Routes Around Baltimore

No matter what time of year, it’s always a great feeling to lace up your running kicks and get outside. Between waterfront walkways and treelined parks, Baltimore has its pick of beautiful running routes. We have some incredible routes for seasoned runners, casual joggers, and those just hoping to get a few steps around town. Some of our favorite Baltimore runners helped us compile a list of their go-to routes.

Fort McHenry
Not only is Fort McHenry an important historic site, it’s also a beautiful location to run and walk. Once around the Fort’s paved track is approximately one mile, so you have the opportunity to make the run as short or as long as you want. Bonus points for the Visitor’s Center being open regularly with public restrooms. There is parking at the Fort, outside of the complex in Locust Point and just a mile down the road from McHenry Row.

Herring Run Park
This urban oasis is located in Northeast Baltimore and has a paved four-mile loop trail, including two new bridges that go over Herring Run river. There are opportunities to walk, run or bike along the stream bed and “the trail is almost all shaded for summer runs,” says occasional Baltimore contributor Ryan Detter. If you’d also like to visit Lake Montebello, it is approximately 1.35 miles around—so you can add on to your run or use it as a beautiful cool down.

Waterfront Promenade
It’s easy to appreciate the stunning views around the Inner Harbor and waterfront neighborhoods. No matter how far you’d like to go, the promenade, running from Canton to Federal Hill, offers an opportunity to be close to the water at (almost) every turn. “My main running route is running along the Inner Harbor,” says Lauren Seserko. “If you hug the water, you can run all the way from Canton through Fells Point to Locust Point and even make it to Fort McHenry and run that loop.”

Jones Falls Trail
Escape the city (without ever leaving) on the paved Jones Falls Trail. Starting in Mt. Vernon, follow the trail by the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. “You can either take it all the way to Union/Woodberry or go up into Homewood campus,” says Detter. You can even take this trail all the way through Druid Hill Park (past the Maryland Zoo). Detter says this is “where you’re doing switchbacks in the woods and you won’t even feel like you’re in the city.”

Druid Hill Park
Speaking of, if you’ve visited our amazing Maryland Zoo, then you’ve seen the lovely tree-lined streets within Druid Hill Park. There are so many picturesque areas to walk/run through the park (and picnic after) and most are paved, providing an even run surface. The 1.5-mile loop around Druid Lake is a scenic, light track. If you’d like a longer, more challenging run, try out the course for the Dreaded Druid Hill 10K—this 6-mile trek will take you through and around the park with more than a few bumps in elevation. (This route is going to be affected by current park construction.)

Loch Raven Reservoir
While located just north of Towson, this area is a beautiful place to escape the city streets. With a variety of paved and off-road trails, you can easily walk or run for two miles, five miles, or even 10. “Part of it is closed to cars on the weekends,” says Seserko, “so it’s a great place to get a long training run in on paved and off-road trails.” While this area has beautiful nature views all year, early summer is ideal since all the plants are blooming.

Patterson Park
Located downtown in between Fells Point, Canton, and Highlandtown, Patterson Park is a massive, wonderful city park. A full loop is approximately two miles, with the opportunity to add more as you wind through the sidewalks inside the park. Don’t miss the beautiful Patterson Park Pagoda and ducks in the boat lake.

Stony Run
Located near Loyola University’s campus, this wooded trail is made for a soft walk/jog alongside stream valleys, lovely parks, and beautiful Baltimore neighborhoods. For nearly three miles, you’ll travel through approximately 15 residential areas—including Roland Park, Hampden, Remington, and Tuscany-Canterbury. Recently, the trail was updated with a new footbridge, connecting several miles of the trail. It’s a lovely escape from the bustle of downtown and, as Detter says, “you don’t even feel like you’re in the city.”

Charles Street
Prepping for the Chuck 12? Start and end on this race’s namesake. If you’re hoping to enjoy the street’s downhill benefits, start at the top closer to Towson University. You’ll run approximately six miles if you start at Lake Avenue and end at the Inner Harbor. Of, if you’d like an uphill challenge, you can also run up Charles Street to the JHU campus and back down St. Paul/Light Streets for approximately six miles.

Goucher College
Like many of our local universities and colleges, Goucher generously allows the public to use their grounds for running and fitness. Runners can park in their main Dorsey parking lot and use the trails around campus. BONUS: Baltimore Road Runners club meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings here throughout the year!

Looking for run buddies? Join one of these run crews to build up your endurance and support system.

Monday Charm City Run Rise & Run: Every Monday morning, CCR Fells Point hits the promenade early for a sunrise four-mile run.

Faster Bastards: Every Saturday at 8 a.m., the Faster Bastards team runs about 10 miles from Canton Waterfront Park, through the trail by Sandlot, around to Rusty Scupper and back. On Wednesdays, they also run through Druid Hill Park at 6:30 p.m.

Monthly Tuesday Shake Shack Run: Every month, the CCR crews from Locust Point and Fells Poin get together to hit the bricks then end at Shake Shack. First round of beers is on the team once you arrive.

Sacramento Running Routes

Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail
Beginning at Discovery Park near Old Sacramento, the paved trail follows the American River for 32 miles to Folsom Dam. Each mile is marked and water fountains and restrooms are available periodically along the often flat, scenic route. The paved trail is designated as a multi-use trail, meaning it’s also available for cyclists, walkers and inline skaters. Motor vehicles are prohibited. Several shorter, well- traveled routes are ideal as training runs with various point-to-point and out-and-back courses. There is also a parallel dirt trail for much of full route.

Lake Natoma Loop

1901 Hazel Ave.

Gold River, CA 95670
Hours: April 1 to Oct. 15 daily 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Oct. 16 to March 30 daily – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Lake Natoma Loop is an extraordinary spot along the American River Bike Trail, just down stream from Folsom Lake. Parking at either the Nimbus Fish Hatchery or the Sacramento State Aquatic Center starts you on your way to a loop around this gem of running grandeur. Rolling through wet lands, valley oaks, river rocks galore and high bluffs above, run around the lake or do an out and back. Find water and bathrooms along the path, with opportunities to take off through the trees for a closer commune with nature.

Mckinley Park
601 Alhambra Blvd

Sacramento, CA 95816
Arguably Sacramento’s most well-known park, it features the popular Rose Garden created in 1928, a small manmade pond, baseball fields, tennis courts, swimming pool and library. The decomposed granite trial around the park is about 3/4-miles. The keyhole extension of the loop is approximately 1/4-mile.

Sacramento State University
6000 J Street

Sacramento, CA 95819
The Guy West Bridge connects the Campus Commons business park area and University Drive to the university. It’s also entry way to the American River Parkway and running levees paralleling both sides of the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. The levees and trail extend north and south and afford many running route configurations.

Southside Park
2107 6th Street

Sacramento, CA 95818
With its proximity to government office buildings, it’s an ideal location for the noontime exercise crowd. The trail around the park is about one mile. The Jogging Center at the park’s pool building is open weekdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Showers and dressing rooms are available year-round with purchase of a 20 visit ($35) or summer season ($89) card good for running or swimming.

William Land Park
4000 S. Land Park Drive

Sacramento, CA 95822

The home to several baseball fields, the Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town, a municipal golf course, vast gardens and picnic areas, the paved running trails around three baseball fields in Northern corridor of the park is 1.89 miles. Longer routes around the extended park cover as much as six miles.

Ancil Hoffman Park Trail
6341 Tarshes Drive
Carmichael, CA 95608
The park, dotted with ancient oaks and bordered on two sides by the American River, is home to the renowned Effie Yeaw Nature Center. A small dirt path follows the perimeter of the park and around the back side of the golf course providing a nice 2.84 mile loop.

City of Folsom

50 Natoma St.

Folsom, CA 95630

The city maintains more than 34 miles of paved trail used by cyclists, runners, walkers and nature enthusiasts. Along most of the trails are off-piste areas perfect for a trip through the woods.

Johnson-Springview Park
5480 Fifth Street
Rockin, CA 95677
Located in central Rocklin, this community park features many major recreative facilities. You’ll find lighted baseball and softball fields, a soccer field, lighted tennis courts, an 18-hole disc golf course, restrooms, a sand volleyball court, a children’s playground, a roller hockey rink, and a skate park.

Sly Park

4771 Sly Park Rd.

Pollock Pines, CA 95726

Price: $10 day-use permit/$120 annually for one vehicle

Hours: October to April daily 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; May to September daily – 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Out of the urban area, into the mountains just a short drive away, runners find the forests around Sly Park Lake, also called Jenkinson Lake, in Pollock Pines. A stunning canopy of pine, fir, cedar and oak trees meanders around this mountain lake. Forest floor creates a runner’s delight for tired legs on this multi-use trail. The 8.5-mile jaunt around the lake is well worth the drive. Pick up a map at the entrance kiosk.

Cary State Forest

The trail at the Cary State Forest is a meandaring trail with a boardwalk that winds and twists through a cypress swamp including a 3 mile and 9 mile loop.

Durbin Creek Peninsula Perserve Trail

Off St. Augustine Road in Bartram Park in South Jacksonville. One of the best off-road courses in the Jacksonville Area. Map shows a six mile course, but can be 7 miles with out and back section between 3 and 4 miles as shown on map. There is also a three mile loop that you can run if you go to the next right after the two mile mark.

Northbank River Walk 5K

This is a great little course along the Riverwalk starting and finishing at the Hyatt Hotel on Coastline Drive.

Festival of Lights 5K Course

The course starts in San Marco from the San Marco Square. This is one of Jacksonville most scenic 5Ks! The race is at night, so the course is lit by luminaries throughout the scenic 3.1 mile certified course!

Downtown Bridge Loop

Nice 5 mile run starting from the YMCA on Riverside Ave. Course incorporates the new Northbank Riverwalk.

Meandering 5 Mile

Starts at 1st Place Sports on Baymeadows. This is a nice loop around the San Jose Country Club.

Baymeadows 5

Starts at 1st Place Sports on Baymeadows. A 1st Place Sports standard course. Great loop!

Loop the Loop 5 mile

Starts at 1st Place Sports on Baymeadows. Nice course along Beauclerc Road and Forest Circle. Bascially an out and back with a loop in the middle section.

Canal 5 1/2 lake loop

Starts at 1st Place Sports on Baymeadows Road. This is a great run for adventure seekers. The course cuts through Tomahawk Park and then runs the canals to Skinner Park. You can also run 7 miles by extending the run north of Skinner Park along the canals.

Canal 7

Longer version of above run.

Meandering 7

Starts at 1st Place Sports on Baymeadows Road. This is a great run along San Jose Blvd. Route takes you around San Jose Country Club.

Jacksonville Marathon Course

This is a great course. 26.2 miles of beauty. Large oak, magnolia and Maple trees line this very scenic and flat course. Starts and finishes at The Bolles School.

Jacksonville Bank 1/2 Marathon Course

1/2 marathon runs with the Jacksonville Marathon course above.

Ortega River Run Course

This 5 mile course starts and finishers at St. Mark’s Episcopal on Ortega Blvd. This is a very scenic course along the banks of the Cedar River.

Perfect 10

This ten mile course starts and finishes at the Lakewood Shopping Center at the corner of San Jose Blvd and University Blvd. West. This is the site of the orginial 1st Place Sports. The Perfect 10 gots is name not for it’s beauty or terrain, but because it was measured several times. The legend goes that every time one of the 1st Place Sports team members lowered the course record in training the course would be remeasured. John Rogerson, Bill Fisher, Pete Gambel, Jerry Oldin, Bill McCormick, Doug Alred, Mike Wachholz, and George Burns ran this course at least twice a week for several years. Rogerson held the course record with a 49:35.

Subaru 1/2 Marathon Course

Starts on San Jose Blvd just south of Baymeadows Road. Great course through some of Mandarin’s most scenic roads.

Toughest 10k in Jacksonville

This trail run starts at the Roosevelt Area trail head (off of Mt Pleasant Rd.) and winds through three parks(Roosevelt Area, Spanish Pond, & Fort Caroline) and has the steepest hills, roughest trails and best natural views in Jax. You will not be able to follow it as mapped, you’ll probably get lost (temporarily), but you’ll have a great time if you enjoy this kind of running. Definitely a run for the cooler months in FL.

Loop to Loop 10 Mile

Great ten mile course from the corner of San Jose and Baymedows Road in front of Hooters. Route runs along the recreation paths on Beauclerc and Scott Mill Roads. The route does a loop around Forest Circle on the way out and then on the way back. The route also has a 1.3 mile loop on the bottom of the course. The course gots it’s name from the type of workout that 1st Place Sports teams members ran on this course. The three loops were ran at race pace while atempting to run tempo pace betweeen the loops.

Retro River Run 5K

This course starts at “The Runner” statue on Coasline Drive and follows a route through downtown that closely follows the original River Run course. The route crosses the Main and Acosta bridges and finishes at the Jacksonville Landing.

Exploration Run

5 mile loop over the Acosta and Main Street Bridge and then out and back along the Northbank Riverwalk.

Celebration 5K

Certified 5K loop starting and finishing at 1st Place Sports, 3931 Baymedows Road. This course is used for the Celebration 5K and the 5K with the Tour de Pain.

Super Sunday 5K

This is a nice training course from the JCA located at the corner of San Jose Blvd and San Clerc Roads in the Beaulcerc section of Jacksonville.

Find many courses around the United States at www.usatf.org

5 Ways to Find a Great Running Route Anywhere

Being able to simply tie on your running shoes and head out the door is one of the best things about running. No fancy gear or pricey gym memberships required! This ease also makes running the perfect exercise to do when you’re traveling-shoes are easy to pack, and you get an up-close view of all the cool things your new city has to offer. But finding a running route that’s safe, uncrowded (but not isolated either!), interesting, and the right difficulty level can be daunting, especially if this is your first time in the area. Fortunately we’ve got your back with five tips to help you find the best run wherever you go.

1. Talk with a local. If you’re staying at a hotel, the concierge is your best friend. Not only do some hotels provide back-up running gear if you forget to pack yours, but the people at the front desk usually know their city inside and out. Ask what running routes are popular and what sites you want to make sure to hit and you’ll have an educational workout planned in minutes.

2. Run like the locals. If you don’t have someone immediately available to ask about great running routes, the next best thing is to check out which runs are most popular in your area. Map My Run not only allows you to see routes mapped by other people in the area, but it lets you search for routes based on criteria like distance, trail surface, and key words.

3. Run like the pros. Runner’s World offers a route finder that includes the running routes for local races and other popular runs, as ranked by other runners. The advanced search feature lets you specify distance, change in elevation, trail surface, and even what type of run you’re doing.

4. Yelp for help. If you find the websites too impersonal or are confused by the dizzying array of options, posting a question on Yelp is a fast and simple way to get recommendations. Simply go to Yelp, enter the city you are visiting, and click on the “talk” tab. You can either leave your query under general or file it under sports.

5. Find a buddy. Checking out the scenery solo can be fun, but nothing beats having a local person act as your guide. Check out CoolRunning to find running groups in your temporary city and either check out their calendar to see if they’ll be hosting an open event during your visit or message them to see if anyone would be up for having you tag along.

  • By Charlotte Andersen

Check out the 2014 Get Outside Guide here!

START HERE

If you’re a runner with zero experience, these trails are short, flat, and well maintained, just like a good crew cut.

Sponsored

1. Balboa Park trail #1

1.5 miles ✹ EASY

Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and follow the #1 green circle markers.

This trail stays away from the busier areas of Balboa Park, so new runners can get their workouts in away from the curious eyes of tourists. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can extend your run about a mile by tracing the loop south of Laurel Street.

More info

2. Lake Miramar

4.9 miles ✹ EASY

Follow the path around Lake Miramar, starting and ending at the parking lot off Scripps Lake Drive.

Like to count down how far you have left to run? (And really, who doesn’t?) This path offers markers every quarter mile for just that purpose. The lake makes for a picturesque view. There are usually plenty of other runners, walkers, bikers, and stroller-pushers along the path, so you’ll be in good company.

More info

3. Grasslands Loop

1.75 miles ✹ EASY

Off Mission Gorge Road on the Father Junipero Serra Trail in Mission Trails Regional Park.

For a beginner’s attempt at trail running (not on paved roads or paths), the Grassland Loop provides a friendly welcome. The wide trail only has a few small hills and provides a smooth—not rocky—running path. Take in the rolling green hills and pretty wildflowers as you run.

More info

HIKE THE HILLS

Steeper and tougher than trail running routes, these are best reserved for experienced trail runners or those with hiking boots.

4. El Capitan

11.2 miles ✹ MOST DIFFICULT

El Capitan Preserve. The trailhead is on the right side of Wildcat Canyon Road.

This trail is hot, dusty, and steep, but the views are worth it. The trail to the top goes down as well as up and up and up, making this climb one of the few that actually is “uphill both ways.” Warning: The trail descends before the final ascent to the summit. Don’t turn back too soon. If—when!—you make it to the top, you are treated to a 360-degree view of San Diego and the satisfaction of knowing you really earned it.

More info

5. Mt. Woodson

6.4 miles ✹ DIFFICULT

Lake Poway

How could you not want to hike a path that includes something called “Potato Chip Rock”? Unfortunately, the rock is less mid-hike snack and more about-to-break-off piece of stone. Still, the precariousness will stop you in your tracks. Views along the way are gorgeous and far-reaching, although the very top can be a bit of a disappointment, unless you are really into radio towers. For a more serene place to celebrate your climb, take a turnoff to the left shortly before you reach the summit.

More info

6. Iron Mountain

6.6 mileS ✹ DiFFICULT

At the intersection of Poway Road and Highway 67 in Poway.

A pretty easy (read: not ridiculously steep and long) climb that still has those payoff views. Start off passing through a wooden gate and romp among the trees, then climb up and out of the woods as you head to the top. After reaching the summit, you can continue on a longer loop for your route down (totaling 9.5 miles instead of 6.6; take the third path that splits off about a mile from the summit). This route will bring you through some exotic-looking rock outcroppings and past a nice view of Ramona. End the loop tramping through a meadow, but don’t veer off the path—that’s someone’s backyard.

More info

7. Pacific Crest Trail

Out and back is 4 miles ✹ INTERMEDIATE

Start at the Penny Pines monument about 27 miles up Sunrise Highway and follow the Pacific Crest Trail to Garnet Peak through Laguna Recreation Area.

This is a small segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, which avid (or crazy) hikers can follow all the way from Mexico to Canada. But even this portion makes you feel like you’re in another country—or on another planet. Follow a path that crosses cliffs with 1,000-foot drops and provides views of landscapes that look like the surface of the moon. The elevation’s above 4,000 feet, so unless you enjoy hiking in snow or windstorms, check the weather before you go.

More info

GET OUT OF THE CITY

Make a run for the (city) border. These trails are worth the drive.

8. The Train Run

16 miles ✹ MODERATE

Take the Coaster north from Solana Beach to Oceanside ($4), then run back on the Coast Highway.

If you’re sick of running the same out-and-backs or loops, this is a great way to spice up your routine. Of course, the views can’t be beat, but there’s also something about depositing yourself in Oceanside with nothing but your feet to get you back that makes this route feel like an adventure. And you know if you start the run, you have to finish—or call a cab.

More info

9. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

100+ miles of trails ✹ MODERATE

Off State Route 79 north of I-8.

This park has tons of trails, with mountains climbing over 6,000 feet, meadows, hidden waterfalls—everything to re-create your own Lord of the Rings/Lost/Survivor adventure. Or, you know, run in. One of the most popular trails is a 3.5-mile climb up Lookout Fire Road to Cuyamaca Peak, from which you can see the Salton Sea and all the way to Mexico. A longer option is the Harvey Moore Trail, which starts near the Sweetwater River Bridge and follows nine miles of trails.

More info

10. Palomar Observatory

4 miles ✹ MODERATE

Canfield Road in Palomar Mountain.

Maybe Palomar Mountain makes you think of the crusty Girl Scout camps of your youth, but it’s since had a serious makeover, and is worth another visit. Bring $5 for a Forest Service Adventure Pass, which is required to park at the trailhead. Once you reach the top, you can stop in the Observatory between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (or 4 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time). The trail is clean and well maintained and the views from the top are, of course, stunning.

More info

LOG IN A WORKOUT

Places to do specific training workouts, like speedwork, hill repeats, and tempo runs.

11. Silver Strand

5.5 miles ✹ EASY

Highway 75 in Coronado (the 5.5 miles is one way, from the Hotel Del to the end of the Cays).

This completely straight and flat path has mile markers along the way, making it perfect for speed intervals or tempo runs. In fact, you’ll need to be doing some kind of speedwork to break up the monotony. Of course, time it right and you’ll get to run with a pack of Navy SEALs.

More info

12. Bankers Hill hills

0.5 mile ✹ MODERATE

Sixth Avenue between Elm and Laurel Streets, next to Balboa Park.

Really, any big hill is good for a hill workout, but this one prepares you specifically for the heartbreaker at the end of the America’s Finest City Half Marathon. This route doesn’t pass any intersections, so there’s nothing to break your stride, and it can be incorporated into a longer run in the park.

More info

13. Point Loma Nazarene track

0.25 miles/lap ✹ EASY

Follow the Peppertree Lane loop to the southeast side of campus.

This is probably San Diego’s most accessible running track for those who don’t belong to a gym. UC San Diego, Balboa Stadium, and San Diego State also have tracks, as do some other high schools, but there you are more likely to run into scheduling conflicts or just be kicked off the track by intramural teams and campus events. (Tip: this Christian university prefers that you wear modest workout attire.)

More info

14. Fiesta Island

4 miles ✹ EASY

Off East Mission Bay Drive in Mission Bay.

Totally flat and generally away from traffic and pedestrians, the Fiesta Island track is perfect for a solid tempo run. Although the island itself is fairly desolate, there are boats in the bay or dogs in the dog park to provide distraction if you need it. But if you’re doing a tempo run, you shouldn’t be distracted. So get in your groove and go.

More info

ENJOY THE VIEW

The most spectacular vistas San Diego has to offer—guaranteed to take your mind off the hard work you’re putting in as you run.

15. Sunset Cliffs

6.1 miles ✹ MODERATE

Start at Ocean Beach Dog Beach, run toward the Ocean Beach Pier and weave your way along Pescadero Drive to the ocean. Run up Sunset Cliffs Boulevard to Sunset Cliffs Park and then make your way back.

Sunset Cliffs offer one of the best ocean views in San Diego. After reaching the coast, this path will take you high above the ocean, with rocky cliffs and breaking waves below. Most of the path is off the street, and once you reach Sunset Cliffs Park, there are plenty of dirt trails to wind along, extending your run if you wish.

More info

16. Pacific Beach Boardwalk

6.1 miles ✹ EASY

Start at Ocean Boulevard and Loring Street and run along the ocean to the jetty and back. Or park at the jetty off Mission Boulevard and run the route in reverse.

This completely flat path stays away from traffic and takes you right along the beach and past Belmont Park. Get a close-up view of surfers, volleyball players, and beach bunnies, along with the crashing ocean waves. Parts of the path, especially around Belmont Park and Crystal Pier, can be overcrowded with tourists, so be prepared to people-dodge as you people-watch. If it’s too busy, you can always move your run to the beach.

More info

17. Torrey Pines

2 miles ✹ DIFFICULT

Start in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve lot on North Torrey Pines Road and walk the steep park road into the park. There you have multiple options for routes to trace, including the Guy Fleming Trail or the Razor Point Trail.

The trail up to Torrey Pines requires challenging climbs that will test both your bum and your heart rate, but if you make it, you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping views. All trails in the park come to the edges of sweeping cliffs that overlook the ocean and crashing surf below. If you time it right, you will see spectacular sunsets. It’s all completely worth the $10 parking fee. Edward Agunos, the head organizer of the San Diego Running Group, says these trails are his favorites, “hands down,” for a good view.

More info

18. Ocean path in La Jolla

Out and back is 3.3 miles ✹ MODERATE

Start at the intersection of Coast Boulevard and Prospect Street and run along Coast Boulevard, around Ellen Browning Scripps Park and then follow the Coast Walk Trail past the La Jolla Caves.

This path takes you along the rocky shores of La Jolla, past sights like the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Children’s Pool. Absorb the gorgeous ocean views and watch swimmers, surfers, scuba divers, and seal-loving environmentalists—along with the seals themselves, for the time being—as you run. You can also extend your run to La Jolla Shores Park and through the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus.

More info

GET ON YOUR BIKE

Three favorite places for moseying pedal pushers and hardcore speedsters alike.

19. Bird Rock bike path

2 miles ✹ EASY

Between Nautilus and Turquoise Streets in La Jolla.

This path can transport a biker or runner from PB’s beach boardwalk to the shores of La Jolla. The bike path is frequented mostly by Bird Rock residents because it’s hard to find (from LJ, start near the fire station on Nautilus, north of Draper Avenue; it runs to Camino de la Costa just north of La Jolla Hermosa Avenue, and then continues along La Jolla Hermosa as part of the road). It’s perfect for a short run or ride, or for creating a longer route.

More info

20. Lake Hodges

DISTANCES RANGE FROM 1 TO 20 MILES ✹ ALL LEVELS

San Dieguito River Park

This park recently won architecture awards both for its new headquarters and for its “stressed ribbon style” pedestrian bridge. Here’s your impetus to go check this place out if you haven’t already. There are endless options for trails and a whole range of distances, elevation changes, and single- or double-track trails.

More info

21. Bayshore bikeway

24 miles ✹ VERY DIFFICULT

Down the Silver Strand and through downtown San Diego.

This circuit used to be called “The Bay Route,” but since that’s also the name of a popular college drinking game, it changed its name. Still, the long route and the challenges it provides remain the same. This path takes you pretty much around the entire perimeter of the San Diego Bay, from Coronado to Chula Vista to downtown. Bring $4.25 to ride the Coronado ferry, with your bike in tow, to close the loop.

More info

HIT THE TRAILS

These dirt trails provide a run that’s challenging, but not quite as butt-busting as a trail up a mountain.

22. Balboa Park trail #5

6.6 miles ✹ DIFFICULT

Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and follow the red diamond #5 trail markers.

About half the trail is dirt—some of it with steep climbs—so don’t expect pristine white running kicks to stay that way. The route takes you past the park’s museums and fountains, so on a weekend you can watch the wedding, engagement, and quinceañera photo shoots. It will also carry you to places in the park you may not know about, like the winding dirt trails through Florida Canyon.

More info

23. Los Peñasquitos waterfall trail

10 miles ✹ DIFFICULT

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve

Deer have been known to crash through the brush along this trail, quickly jolting a runner out of “the zone.” The mostly flat path is shaded by trees and circles around a small creek, making the East County heat (slightly) more bearable. A waterfall trickles about three miles in, which is the perfect turnaround point if you only want to do a 6-mile loop (there are actually five places to cross the creek and cut your route short). Just watch out for rattlesnakes. And deer!

More info

24. Rose Canyon bike path

2 miles ✹ EASY

Between Genesee Avenue and Gilman Drive in University City.

This dirt trail rolls along a canyon, with a backdrop of cliffs and trees. Running this trail can make you feel like you’re traveling through backcountry wilderness, not on a path a few minutes from business parks and shopping centers. If you want a longer run, continue along the paved bike path south of Gilman Drive, or follow Gilman north up the hill to the UC San Diego campus.

More info

BRING THE KIDS & STROLLERS

These paths are paved, flat, and loaded with fun things for kids to look at.

25. Balboa Park trail #4

4.1 miles ✹ EASY

Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and follow the orange square #2 trail markers.

This flat and paved path heads away from traffic and will take you and your tots over the Cabrillo Bridge and past museums, the fountain, and up to the edge of the zoo. The paths can be crowded, especially on weekends, so if you’re looking to cruise, try walking at off hours.

More info

26. Around Coronado Island

6 miles ✹ EASY

Start from Tidelands Park and trace the path that borders the island, passing under the Coronado Bridge as you make your way back.

Who knew you could run around the entire perimeter of Coronado (at least the part that’s not occupied by the Navy base) in just six miles? This route passes iconic SD sights along the way, including the Hotel Del Coronado, the ferry landing, and the path under the Coronado Bridge. It follows alternating paved paths away from traffic and slow streets with wide sidewalks.

More info

27. Liberty Station to Harbor Island

7.7 miles ✹ EASY

Beginning on the esplanade behind Corvette Diner in Liberty Station, run south and cross the pedestrian bridge over the boat channel, along Harbor Drive and onto Harbor Island.

This run only crosses one intersection and follows wide sidewalks and paths. The flat and paved terrain makes it easy for stroller pushing, and the lack of traffic keeps it safe. The harbor and the bridge over the boat channel will entertain your kids, too. Rachel Laing, Mayor Jerry Sanders’ deputy press secretary, counts this run as one of her favorites.

More info

28. Inside track around Mission Bay

11.3 miles ✹ EASY

Start anywhere along the path that traces Mission Bay—the Santa Clara Recreation Center has parking lots—and run in either direction as far as you’d like.

This scenic run follows a wide path away from traffic, with views of Mission Bay’s boaters, stand-up paddleboarders, and beachgoers. While the boardwalk on the ocean side of the bay is usually crowded with people, the inner track is mostly clear and open.

More info

Close 1 of 14

Potato Chip Rock! Mt. Woodson, Ramona

1.5 miles * EASY

1. Balboa Park trail #1

Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and follow the #1 green circle markers.

This trail stays away from the busier areas of Balboa Park, so new runners can get their workouts in away from the curious eyes of tourists. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can extend your run about a mile by tracing the loop south of Laurel Street.

Out and back is 4 miles * INTERMEDIATE

7. Pacific Crest Trail

Start at the Penny Pines monument about 27 miles up Sunrise Highway and follow the Pacific Crest Trail to Garnet Peak through Laguna Recreation Area.

This is a small segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, which avid (or crazy) hikers can follow all the way from Mexico to Canada. But even this portion makes you feel like you’re in another country—or on another planet. Follow a path that crosses cliffs with 1,000-foot drops and provides views of landscapes that look like the surface of the moon. The elevation’s above 4,000 feet, so unless you enjoy hiking in snow or windstorms, check the weather before you go.

  • Jay Reilly

7. Pacific Crest Trail

  • Jay Reilly

4 miles * MODERATE

10. Palomar Observatory

Canfield Road in Palomar Mountain.

Maybe Palomar Mountain makes you think of the crusty Girl Scout camps of your youth, but it’s since had a serious makeover, and is worth another visit. Bring $5 for a Forest Service Adventure Pass, which is required to park at the trailhead. Once you reach the top, you can stop in the Observatory between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (or 4 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time). The trail is clean and well maintained and the views from the top are, of course, stunning.

0.25 miles/lap * EASY

13. Point Loma Nazarene track

Follow the Peppertree Lane loop to the southeast side of campus.

This is probably San Diego’s most accessible running track for those who don’t belong to a gym. UC San Diego, Balboa Stadium, and San Diego State also have tracks, as do some other high schools, but there you are more likely to run into scheduling conflicts or just be kicked off the track by intramural teams and campus events. (Tip: this Christian university prefers that you wear modest workout attire.)

4 miles * EASY

14. Fiesta Island

Off East Mission Bay Drive in Mission Bay.

Totally flat and generally away from traffic and pedestrians, the Fiesta Island track is perfect for a solid tempo run. Although the island itself is fairly desolate, there are boats in the bay or dogs in the dog park to provide distraction if you need it. But if you’re doing a tempo run, you shouldn’t be distracted. So get in your groove and go.

2 miles * DIFFICULT

17. Torrey Pines

Start in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve lot on North Torrey Pines Road and walk the steep park road into the park. There you have multiple options for routes to trace, including the Guy Fleming Trail or the Razor Point Trail.

The trail up to Torrey Pines requires challenging climbs that will test both your bum and your heart rate, but if you make it, you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping views. All trails in the park come to the edges of sweeping cliffs that overlook the ocean and crashing surf below. If you time it right, you will see spectacular sunsets. It’s all completely worth the $10 parking fee. Edward Agunos, the head organizer of the San Diego Running Group, says these trails are his favorites, “hands down,” for a good view.

2 miles * easy

19. Bird Rock bike path

Between Nautilus and Turquoise Streets in La Jolla.

This path can transport a biker or runner from PB’s beach boardwalk to the shores of La Jolla. The bike path is frequented mostly by Bird Rock residents because it’s hard to find (from LJ, start near the fire station on Nautilus, north of Draper Avenue; it runs to Camino de la Costa just north of La Jolla Hermosa Avenue, and then continues along La Jolla Hermosa as part of the road). It’s perfect for a short run or ride, or for creating a longer route.

24 miles * VERY DIFFICULT

21. Bayshore bikeway

Down the Silver Strand and through downtown San Diego.

This circuit used to be called “The Bay Route,” but since that’s also the name of a popular college drinking game, it changed its name. Still, the long route and the challenges it provides remain the same. This path takes you pretty much around the entire perimeter of the San Diego Bay, from Coronado to Chula Vista to downtown. Bring $4.25 to ride the Coronado ferry, with your bike in tow, to close the loop.

6.6 miles * DIFFICULT

22. Balboa Park trail #5

Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and follow the red diamond #5 trail markers.

About half the trail is dirt—some of it with steep climbs—so don’t expect pristine white running kicks to stay that way. The route takes you past the park’s museums and fountains, so on a weekend you can watch the wedding, engagement, and quinceañera photo shoots. It will also carry you to places in the park you may not know about, like the winding dirt trails through Florida Canyon.

6 miles * EASY

26. Around Coronado Island

Start from Tidelands Park and trace the path that borders the island, passing under the Coronado Bridge as you make your way back.

Who knew you could run around the entire perimeter of Coronado (at least the part that’s not occupied by the Navy base) in just six miles? This route passes iconic SD sights along the way, including the Hotel Del Coronado, the ferry landing, and the path under the Coronado Bridge. It follows alternating paved paths away from traffic and slow streets with wide sidewalks.

11.3 miles * EASY

28. Inside track around Mission Bay

Start anywhere along the path that traces Mission Bay—the Santa Clara Recreation Center has parking lots—and run in either direction as far as you’d like.

This scenic run follows a wide path away from traffic, with views of Mission Bay’s boaters, stand-up paddleboarders, and beachgoers. While the boardwalk on the ocean side of the bay is usually crowded with people, the inner track is mostly clear and open.

April 2012: Get Outside

1 of 14

Potato Chip Rock! Mt. Woodson, Ramona

1.5 miles * EASY

1. Balboa Park trail #1

Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and follow the #1 green circle markers.

This trail stays away from the busier areas of Balboa Park, so new runners can get their workouts in away from the curious eyes of tourists. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can extend your run about a mile by tracing the loop south of Laurel Street.

Out and back is 4 miles * INTERMEDIATE

7. Pacific Crest Trail

Start at the Penny Pines monument about 27 miles up Sunrise Highway and follow the Pacific Crest Trail to Garnet Peak through Laguna Recreation Area.

This is a small segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, which avid (or crazy) hikers can follow all the way from Mexico to Canada. But even this portion makes you feel like you’re in another country—or on another planet. Follow a path that crosses cliffs with 1,000-foot drops and provides views of landscapes that look like the surface of the moon. The elevation’s above 4,000 feet, so unless you enjoy hiking in snow or windstorms, check the weather before you go.

  • Jay Reilly

7. Pacific Crest Trail

  • Jay Reilly

4 miles * MODERATE

10. Palomar Observatory

Canfield Road in Palomar Mountain.

Maybe Palomar Mountain makes you think of the crusty Girl Scout camps of your youth, but it’s since had a serious makeover, and is worth another visit. Bring $5 for a Forest Service Adventure Pass, which is required to park at the trailhead. Once you reach the top, you can stop in the Observatory between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (or 4 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time). The trail is clean and well maintained and the views from the top are, of course, stunning.

0.25 miles/lap * EASY

13. Point Loma Nazarene track

Follow the Peppertree Lane loop to the southeast side of campus.

This is probably San Diego’s most accessible running track for those who don’t belong to a gym. UC San Diego, Balboa Stadium, and San Diego State also have tracks, as do some other high schools, but there you are more likely to run into scheduling conflicts or just be kicked off the track by intramural teams and campus events. (Tip: this Christian university prefers that you wear modest workout attire.)

4 miles * EASY

14. Fiesta Island

Off East Mission Bay Drive in Mission Bay.

Totally flat and generally away from traffic and pedestrians, the Fiesta Island track is perfect for a solid tempo run. Although the island itself is fairly desolate, there are boats in the bay or dogs in the dog park to provide distraction if you need it. But if you’re doing a tempo run, you shouldn’t be distracted. So get in your groove and go.

2 miles * DIFFICULT

17. Torrey Pines

Start in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve lot on North Torrey Pines Road and walk the steep park road into the park. There you have multiple options for routes to trace, including the Guy Fleming Trail or the Razor Point Trail.

The trail up to Torrey Pines requires challenging climbs that will test both your bum and your heart rate, but if you make it, you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping views. All trails in the park come to the edges of sweeping cliffs that overlook the ocean and crashing surf below. If you time it right, you will see spectacular sunsets. It’s all completely worth the $10 parking fee. Edward Agunos, the head organizer of the San Diego Running Group, says these trails are his favorites, “hands down,” for a good view.

2 miles * easy

19. Bird Rock bike path

Between Nautilus and Turquoise Streets in La Jolla.

This path can transport a biker or runner from PB’s beach boardwalk to the shores of La Jolla. The bike path is frequented mostly by Bird Rock residents because it’s hard to find (from LJ, start near the fire station on Nautilus, north of Draper Avenue; it runs to Camino de la Costa just north of La Jolla Hermosa Avenue, and then continues along La Jolla Hermosa as part of the road). It’s perfect for a short run or ride, or for creating a longer route.

24 miles * VERY DIFFICULT

21. Bayshore bikeway

Down the Silver Strand and through downtown San Diego.

This circuit used to be called “The Bay Route,” but since that’s also the name of a popular college drinking game, it changed its name. Still, the long route and the challenges it provides remain the same. This path takes you pretty much around the entire perimeter of the San Diego Bay, from Coronado to Chula Vista to downtown. Bring $4.25 to ride the Coronado ferry, with your bike in tow, to close the loop.

6.6 miles * DIFFICULT

22. Balboa Park trail #5

Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and follow the red diamond #5 trail markers.

About half the trail is dirt—some of it with steep climbs—so don’t expect pristine white running kicks to stay that way. The route takes you past the park’s museums and fountains, so on a weekend you can watch the wedding, engagement, and quinceañera photo shoots. It will also carry you to places in the park you may not know about, like the winding dirt trails through Florida Canyon.

6 miles * EASY

26. Around Coronado Island

Start from Tidelands Park and trace the path that borders the island, passing under the Coronado Bridge as you make your way back.

Who knew you could run around the entire perimeter of Coronado (at least the part that’s not occupied by the Navy base) in just six miles? This route passes iconic SD sights along the way, including the Hotel Del Coronado, the ferry landing, and the path under the Coronado Bridge. It follows alternating paved paths away from traffic and slow streets with wide sidewalks.

11.3 miles * EASY

28. Inside track around Mission Bay

Start anywhere along the path that traces Mission Bay—the Santa Clara Recreation Center has parking lots—and run in either direction as far as you’d like.

This scenic run follows a wide path away from traffic, with views of Mission Bay’s boaters, stand-up paddleboarders, and beachgoers. While the boardwalk on the ocean side of the bay is usually crowded with people, the inner track is mostly clear and open.

Great Runs in Paris

  • Bastille. Separate path for pedestrians. About 1 mile around. Bathroom at north end.
  • Jardin de Plantes. Across the bridge from Bastille. 0.8m around perimeter. The city’s largest botanical garden. Great in the rain as trees provide shade. Unpaved paths.
  • Jardin de Tuileries. Right in front of the Louvre. 0.65 miles east to west end. 1.6 miles around perimeter. Tuileries and Champs Élysées is a nice 3 mile loop. MAP
  • Luxembourg. Beautiful gardens and paths, laid out in a geographic pattern. Medici Fountain. Can be crowded. 1.3 miles around perimeter path. MAP
  • Champs de Mars. 1.3 miles around perimeter paths of Champs de Mars.
  • Invalides. One of the best for running. Wide paths, fewer people. 1.7 miles around perimeter.

Bois de Boulonge

Long: 8.8 miles RT, starting at the Arc de Triomphe. MAP.
Short: save two miles by starting at Port Dauphine
10k in the Park: follow “Tour de Longeur” from the Port de la Muette entrance

This is the loveliest, shadiest place for running in the heart of Paris. You’ll find hundreds of fellow joggers on a nice evening. There are some 35 miles of trails in the park. It’s hard to proscribe a particular run, but your best bet is to run around Lac Inferieur and Lac Superieur (5k). Then there’s the option to head toward the northwestern part of the park, using any one of a number of paths. On the good maps at all trail intersections, look for the 10k “Tour de Longeur”, most easily accessible from the Port de La Muette entrance. Our route starts at the Arc de Triomphe just for kicks. Easily accessible by Metro. Combine with Parc St. Cloud for an even longer run.

Boise de Vincennes

4.76 mile loop. Start: Chateau Vincennes metro
Good add-on option: Run there from City Hall (Hotel de Ville). 3.7 miles one-way. MAP

This is the largest park in Paris, about 4 miles east of Notre Dame in the 12th arrondissement. The park was created between 1855 and 1866 by the Emperor Napoleon III. There are beautiful paths for running in this park. Highlights include the medieval Chateau de Vincennes, an arboretum, floral gardens, and numerous other natural and recreational facilities. The best bet is to randomly enjoy the miles of paved and unpaved paths. A tour of the outer perimeter trails is ~4.5 miles. Other options: 1 mile around Chateau de Vincennes; 1.4m around Lac Daumsenil. Or look for the “Circuits Pedestres”, which include 11k and 8k loops. Many more trails can be added. The trails are well signed, with mile markers. 15 minutes by metro. A good option for a longer run is from City Hall, which takes you by Bastille and then on some greenways and good running roads into the park. Do it one way and take the Metro back! Or, take the Promenade Plantée path back to Bastille, from Port Dorée entrance.

Promenade Plantée

2.4 miles O-W. Start: Bastille or Porte de Montempoivre (metro Bel Air). MAP
Add-on options: Bois de Vincennes, Parc des Buttes Chaumont

This is a favorite Paris off-road path. Created out of an abandoned metro line, PlantPé is an elevated, paved linear park that runs 2.4 miles from Bastille in the Eleventh arrondissement to Porte de Montempoivre. You’ll see lots of other runners, and inline skaters. Just beneath the path, along the viaduct, there are shops, markets, and artist studios. There are numerous entrance gates along the way, each with their own opening/closing times. For a longer run, continue from the end of the path into Bois de Vincennes, which is 0.5 miles using Rue Sacrot (look for the Porte Dorée entrance), or mid-way along the Plantée path, from Jaures, head 1/2 mile east to Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Good hills there. Notes: There are signs that say “This place is a space for walking. Jogging is tolerated only to the extent that it doesn’t disturb walkers.”

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

5km of trails and good hills. Easy access via metro. Also 1/2 mile east of Promenade Plantée, 1/2 mile south of Parc de Villette.

A great park to do some hills. Unveiled at the 1867 World’s Fair, this park is sometimes referred to as the ‘Central Park’ of Paris. About 5km of trails, with the hilliest in the interior. Great to combine with Parc de Villette, or Promenade Plantée.

Canal St. Martin & Parc de Villette

Short option: 3.2/6.4 miles out & back/RT. Start: Bastille. MAP
Long Option: 5.2/10.4 miles out & back/RT. Start: Bastille. MAP

This is another wonderful linear park option from the heart of Paris. It follows the Canal St. Martin, which meanders its way from near the Bastille to Parc de Villette. The towpath is very pretty, with lovely chestnut trees shading some sections. The first section on our map is hard to see because it is below the street. Runners have a few options here: run one-way, 3.2 miles, and then hop on the metro back — multiple stations along the way and at the Parc. Or, it’s 6.4 miles RT. A longer option is to to enjoy some of the paths in Parc de Villette. A more modern, landscaped park, with interesting sites such as the Géode, a 36-diameter sphere, garden of mirrors, the garden of trellises, and the garden of islands, connected by ~2 miles of paths. Then return, for a long 10.4 mile run, or hop the metro.

La Défense/Nanterre

4.2 miles RT. Start: Esplanade de La Defense metro. MAP
Add-ons: it’s 3k to the Palais de Congrès, which also abuts Bois de Boulongne, and 4k to the Arc de Triomphe.

La Défense is Paris’ version of London’s Canary Wharf/Docklands. It’s a business-centric district of modern office buildings on the edge of town. It started in the 1970s but it is still growing. As with most things Paris, this area has been built on a grand, post-modernist scale. It’s pretty convenient — ~2 miles from the convention center. Running in this area is pretty good: long, wide plazas and pathways with trees, monuments, and places to shop and eat. Start at the Esplanade de Défense or anywhere in that vicinity, and continue along the Allée to the Grand Arch, which is a modern version of the Arc de Triomphe (note it is is a 5k straight shot from ‘Arc to Arche’). Note it’s a bit tricky connecting from the Arche into Nanterre, but a run into Parc André Malraux is worthwhile. There are ~2 miles of trails in here, including a couple of hills! On the return, pass by the “Cloud Towers”, and Rue Hoche leads to a bridge over the freeway and back into the La Defense area. There are good, business-y hotels in La Defense area.

Further Afield

Paris is a huge city. There are runs possible in every arrondissement or suburb. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the best ‘destination’ runs.

Versailles

6.4 mile loop. Start: City Hall, Versailles. MAP
Easily accessible by public transport from Paris. Open 8am-6pm

Source: Truelovetravel.com

One of the most significant palaces in the world is also a great running destination. The Versailles Gardens are huge and open to the public, with many wonderful landmarks, including great views of the palace, a section of formal gardens and highly sculpted allées, and then, further westward, bucolic paths going by farms and fields. A great ~10k run is to start at City Hall right in Versailles, head into the Palace grounds, and along the formal gardens to the perimeter of the Grand Trianon, and then on the paths of the perimeter of the Canal and fountains. This is a total 6.4 mile loop. It’s easy to add another couple of miles using some of the more remote paths in the northern section of the park or running along the outer perimeter paths.

Parc St. Cloud

5 miles. Start: at park. Metro: St. Cloud, Boulogne. MAP

This beautiful park is a wonderful running option south of the 15th arrondissement, and not far from Bois de Boulogne. It has some of the most beautiful gardens in Europe. There are wonderful allées and paths for running. A good tour can easily add up to 5 miles.

Whether you’re an occasional runner or training for your next race, jogging around the neighborhood or hiking through Patagonia, recent advances in technology have transformed the way we exercise. Smartphones are now equipped with GPS software and fitness trackers. Built-in analytic systems allow us to generate progress reports with detailed insights. And a slew of integrated social media tools make sharing your athletic endeavors with friends easier than ever.

Today, the masterminds behind the growing line of running apps have gone one step further, answering the popular question: how do I find the best running trails near me? With databases as large as 150,000+ routes worldwide, these apps intelligently merge exercise with exploration, helping trailblazers find – and navigate – new running routes and trails.

From which app is best for finding popular scenic routes to the one that’ll help you discover hidden backtrail gems, plus others with features like guided turn-by-turn voice navigation and gamified challenges – we’ve rounded up our favorite apps for finding running routes and trails so that you can have the ultimate running experience, without getting lost.

6 Best Apps for Finding Running Trails Near Me

1. For the Traveler: RunGo

Photo source: RunGo

Created by avid runner and marathon champion, Craig Slagel, RunGo is the running-app-meets-travel-app must-have. The app helps runners find great routes, and then guides them with turn-by-turn voice navigation. RunGo’s database features 100,000+ routes from all over the globe, with 200 new routes being added each day. Trails are curated by the RunGo team, as well as certified local run groups, and each route is verified before it’s added to the app – so you can rest assured you’re in good hands.

Download pre-charted routes and use the maps offline. Grab your favorite pair of wireless headphones and explore a new city with voice navigation that also announces points of interest and other information. Or, create your own routes, and easily share them with friends via the app’s social integration tools.

RunGo also offers built-in tracking essentials so that you can monitor running stats like time, pace, splits, distance and elevation.

iOS & Android / Free** / Premium packages available / Compatible with Apple Watch

2. For the Nature Lover: AllTrails

Photo source: AllTrails

With over 50,000 trails in its database, AllTrails is perfect for outdoor exploration in major US cities and popular state and national parks. From walking to running, mountain biking to paddle sports, you can find trails for just about any outdoor activity. You can also fine-tune your search by using the filters. Browse based on length, difficulty level, what you want to see (like caves or lakes), and by suitability (‘kid-friendly bike trails near me’, ‘dog-friendly hiking trails near me’, etc.).

One of AllTrails’ most unique, and perhaps most valuable, features is the access it grants to such a large and active local community of outdoor enthusiasts. You can read trail reviews and check out photos posted by members who recently completed trails you’re interested in. There’s also a recording feature that allows you to keep a diary of all your completed outings.

When you select a route, the app will also provide you with driving directions to the head of the trail. But do keep in mind, AllTrails does not offer in-app navigation, and if you’d like access to offline maps, you’ll have to pay the monthly fee of $2.50 for the Pro version.

iOS & Android / Free** / Pro version available for $2.50 per mo

3. For the Mountain Seeker: ViewRanger

Photo source: ViewRanger

ViewRanger specializes in outdoor maps, offering one of the best digital collections you can possibly get your hands on. For free, download terrain maps worldwide, as well as detailed topographic maps from 23 countries. The high quality maps are provided by official mapping agencies ViewRanger has partnered with. When you opt for the USA Map Bundle upgrade, you’ll also get access to four additional types of trail maps: USGS Topo, USA Topo, USA Slopes, USA Land Cover.

With ViewRanger, choose from over 150,000+ trails. To help you further plan out your trip, the app also features ‘routes guides’ with photos and tips for each particular route. The guides are contributed by outdoor brands and publications, tourism agencies, national parks, travel writers, and other ViewRanger community members from around the world. There’s been so many times I’ve found myself struggling to find good hiking trails near me while traveling – these guides make you feel like you’re getting trustworthy recommendations from a good friend. Plus, you can download all the maps and guides to use offline, free of cost.

Another feature worth noting is Skyline. By using your device’s camera, ViewRanger can identify peaks, places, and other points of interest up to 20 miles away using augmented reality. Cliffs, towns, caves, lakes – you name it – Skyline knows 9 million points and can even work offline. While this is a premium feature, it’s definitely worth it! (The all-inclusive premium annual fee is $19.99. Or, you can opt for the $4.99 monthly fee.)

iOS & Android / Free** / Premium packages available / Compatible with Apple Watch and Wear OS

4. For the Goal Setter: RunKeeper

Photo source: RunKeeper

In addition to running routes, RunKeeper is designed for those looking to track progress. Whether you’re training for a marathon or race, working to improve your 5k pace, or have a desired weight you’re trying to reach, the Goal Coach feature helps generate personalized routines that are feasible, yet centered around reaching your specific goal.

The app records useful metrics, like pace, distance, and calories burned, so that you can monitor your progress over time. You can also join in-app gamified challenges, making it a fun way to stay motivated.

iOS & Android / Free** / Premium packages available / Compatible with Apple Watch and Wear OS

5. For the Creator: Footpath Route Planner

Photo source: Footpath Route Planner

Straightforward and easy to use, yet nonetheless fantastic – this app lets you plan and measure routes by simply tracing the outline of any given path on a map. I remember when the struggle to find running trails near me meant tedious research on my laptop. This app lets you plan your run in literally seconds.

With free offline capability, Footpath is great for travelers. Whether it be cycling, mountain biking, running, backcountry skiing, or kayaking – the app is designed for any activity, in just about every country. Especially if you’re in the midst of training, or simply want to make sure you stick to your usual 5k while on vacation, the measuring tool is likely to become your best friend. When you opt for the paid subscription, you’ll also get access to premium topo maps, 3D maps, Apple Health integration, and several other features.

iOS / Free** / Elite package available

6. For Everyone: Charity Miles

Photo source: Charity Miles

Not necessarily an app to find running trails per se, Charity Miles is nonetheless something we should all be using in tandem with our favorite running apps. By clocking your activity via the app, a donation will be made to your charity of choice for every mile you log. You’ll simply be doing what you’d already otherwise be doing – while also having a positive impact.

You can choose from over 40 charities working on initiatives that help the environment, health, children, animals, education, and more. It’s free to download and has recently partnered with Strava – meaning you sync all your data between the two apps.

iOS & Android / Free** / Premium packages available / Compatible with Apple Watch and Wear OS

So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite running headphones, launch up your go-to running trails app, and hit the pavement. A premium subscription to one of these trail blazing apps also makes an excellent gift for the fitness junkie in your life.

Looking for more workout inspiration? In this exclusive interview, fitness trainer Paris Nunn shares her fav HIIT routine to whip you into shape.

Great Runs in Manchester, UK

Mark LowensteinFollow Dec 11, 2017 · 3 min read

Note: This a summary of our Manchester, UK running guide. For all the best places to run in Manchester, please visit the Great Runs website.

Manchester is the second largest and third most visited city in the UK. It was one of the world’s first industrialized cities and a center of textile manufacturing. Many parts of Manchester have been revitalized since the 1960s and the closing of the port in the 1980s. Central Manchester is on the eastern bank of the River Irwell, where you’ll find good views of the Pennine mountains to the north and east. The River Mersey runs south of the city. Architecture is a mix of Victorian, red brick, and more modern.

Running in Manchester, UK is largely focused on several canal and riverside paths near the center, plus some pleasant parks in the outskirts. Our Manchester running routes include:

Manchester ‘Runseeing’ Tour. A 3–4 mile tour of Manchester’s main sights the older part of the city, which is located on the east side of the River Irwell.

Rochdale Canal Path. The signature canal path run in Manchester. One can run 30+ miles to the Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire! We’ve mapped nearly 5 miles from Castlefield Basin to Oldham Rd.

River Irwell and Peel Park Loop. Pleasant greenway and paths. There are a couple of pedestrian bridges just north and south of Frederick Road. A nice standalone loop, or add-on to other Manchester runs.

The Salford Quays. A short but interesting run that around Manchester’s Old Harbor. The perimeter waterside paths are nearly 4k, with two pedestrian bridges connecting to the River Irwell.

Ashton Canal Towpath. Another pleasant canal tow path, this one with a more industrial vibe. 2 miles one-way from the Alan Turing Memorial to Philips Park.

Bridgewater Way Path. Pleasant canalside path heading south from centeal Manchester. We’ve mapped nearly 5 miles one-way, although a good 4-miler is to run to Manchester Stadium, home of the famous soccer (football) team and back.

Heaton Park. Wonderful 600-acre park about 5 miles north of the center of Manchester. Several miles of trails, both open and wooded.

Alexandra Park. A 60-acre park southern Manchester, experimental when it was designed in 1868 for its oval and curved pathways. Changing rooms with showers and a 5k race the first Sunday of the month!

South Manchester: Parks and River Mersey. An extensive series of parks and river paths, featuring the Manchester section of the Trans Pennine Trail. We’ve mapped a 9 km route along the River Mersey, from Didsbury Sports Ground to the Bridgewater Way Path along the Rochdale Canal.

Worsley Tour. A quick tour of one of the more attractive suburbs of Manchester, about 1/2 hour west of the city center. Well-known for the partially wood frame houses and the older canals

See our complete guide to running in Manchester, UK.

Fell and road running

Ultramarathons

Ultramarathons are gaining in popularity with a number held across the North York Moors, many using sections of the Cleveland Way.

  • The Crosses (20/21 June 2020) – a 55 mile ultramarathon organised by Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue team. Originally conceived by the team back in 1971, this challenge takes in 14 of the North York Moors iconic crosses within 24 hours. It’s only held every five years so grab your chance to have a go!
  • The 54th Lyke Wake Race (July), organised by the Quakers Running Club, involves following the iconic 40+ mile Lyke Wake Walk route starting from near Osmotherley (Sheepwash car park) and finishing in Ravenscar village on the North York Moors’ coast. Runners are expected to complete the event in twelve hours or less.
  • Hardmoors Ultra Series – the Hardmoors series includes 160, 110, 60, 55, 30, 15 mile races held throughout the year, starting with 15 and 30 mile runs on New Year’s Day.
  • For the ultimate challenge look out for the Hardmoors 110 – 110 miles following the Cleveland Way National Trail from Helmsley to Filey – the current record is 21 hrs 3 mins! Or how about Hardmoors 160, a single stage 160 mile ultramarathon linking up the 48 mile Tabular Hills Route with the Cleveland Way, held on the same weekend in May.
  • Northern Traverse (18-22 April 2020) – organised by experts Open Adventure, how about having a go at an ultra run following Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route, where you get to decide when to stop. First held in 2016, you’ll have 5 days to make the 190 mile journey from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors.

Triathlons

Castle Howard Triathlon – part of the Castle Triathlon Series, held in July, this popular event now runs over a weekend and includes a Gauntlet race distance (half iron distance) on the Sunday. The triathlon includes swimming in Castle Howard’s Great Lake, cycling through the undulating Howardian Hills countryside before finishing with a run through the estate, taking in the historic monuments along the way. Or have a go at a half marathon or an open water swim.

Adventure racing

Perfect if you like to combine navigation and cross-country running with mountain biking. Good races to start with are the shorter races like Open 5. The longer 12 hour and 24 hour events also add in other challenges (often known as ‘trouser fillers’) along the way, such as paddling, climbing, abseiling and related rope skills.

Open Adventure runs 5, 12 and 24 hour adventure races, as well as multi-day, multi stage and expedition events, some of which are held in the North York Moors. Keep an eye on their website for future races.

Run routes near me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *