Photos (clockwise from top left): @xojenni_lynn, @cherry.hk, @keithwebb00, @dustinkahia
Whether you’re in your hometown or visiting a new place, running outdoors is one of the best ways to see a city, learn about its culture and discover sights you might otherwise have missed. Sometimes, though, finding the right spot to explore can get tricky. Good news for all you countryside travelers and city adventurers: We found the most popular running routes in every single state, according to Strava users. Plus, we’ve got tips on what to look for as you cover the area on foot, from historic landmarks to gorgeous greenery to some seriously ‘grammable sights.
So in honor of Global Running Day — and any day we’re fortunate enough to get outside — here are 50 roads worth traveling. Get ready to run this country!
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The 50 Most Popular Running Routes
Location: Homewood, AL
For the most-run route in this southern state, head to Homewood, a suburb outside of Birmingham. There’s a four-mile path, called the Shades Creek Greenway that joggers love (and walkers and bikers, too). The paved trail stretches along the banks of Shades Creek and offers a woody setting through the floodplain forest.
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Location: Anchorage, AK
Start in downtown Anchorage at Delaney Park Strip and head along the Knik Arm waterway ‘til you hit the lush, 134-acre Earthquake Park. Keep an eye out for moose in the park and enjoy the (often snowy) views of the water and the city skyline as you cover more than six miles.
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Location: Mt Lemmon, AZ
The most popular route in this southwestern state is a tough trail run in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness area, just north of Tucson. Part of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the more than seven-mile stretch features cool greenery, from cactus to pine trees. Just make sure to bring water, as it’s hard to find on this course.
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Location: Little Rock, AR
Kick off your run by heading over the Two Rivers Park Bridge and follow the trail into and around the park, which includes beautiful views of the Arkansas River. This favored section of the Arkansas River Trail System (which spans 88 miles) features the most natural landscape, with wooded wetlands, a garden of trees and wildlife like deer and birds. When you’re done scoping out the area, head back over the bridge to complete four miles.
Location: San Francisco, CA
California’s winning route approaches one of the state’s most iconic sites: the Golden Gate Bridge. Begin your route near San Fran’s famous Ghiradelli Square, near Fisherman’s Wharf, and head up past the Marina District. Continue along the water, past Crissy Field, until you reach the far end of Fort Point parking lot. Find your perfect spot under the bridge to snap a sweaty selfie or look for “Hopper’s Hands” along the fence. Many runners stop here for a high five or fist bump.
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Location: Denver, CO
When you’re in the Mile High City (named after its one-mile elevation), go for a jog around Washington Park. Located in the middle of the coveted Wash Park neighborhood, you’ll cover nearly five miles running around the 150-plus acres (twice!). Make sure you take in the sights as you’ll pass green meadows, two small lakes and gorgeous flower gardens.
Location: West Hartford, CT
Jog along beautiful woodlands and trails in the Metropolitan District of West Hartford, which spans 3,000 acres of forest. The area offers 30 miles of paved and gravel roads for bikers and runners in the area. But the most popular route spans just 3.6 miles and runs along reservoirs three and five.
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Location: Wilmington, DE
The 178-acre Brandywine Park flanks both sides of the Brandywine Creek in Wilmington. Run a three-mile course through it to pass a zoo, the Jasper Crane Rose Garden and Josephine Fountain. If you’re running in the spring, you’ll spot the fountain’s surrounding grove of flowering cherry trees.
Location: Miami, FL
The hottest running route in the Sunshine State starts in Museum Park and heads toward downtown Miami. Once you cross over the Miami River, turn left on Brickell Key Drive and continue to jog a loop around the man-made island of Brickell Key. Return across the bridge and finishing up where you started, about seven miles later.
Location: Atlanta, GA
To run like the locals in Atlanta, start your outing in the southeast corner of Piedmont Park and continue to the BeltLine. This former railway corridor around the city was converted to a system of trails for runners, walkers and cyclists. The most popular route is the Eastside Trail, passing the Historic Fourth Ward Park and other green spaces.
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Location: Lahaina, HI
Any run in this tropical state provides some sweet views, but the most popular place to jog is along the west coast of Maui in Ka’anapali Beach. It’s the site of Hawaii’s first resort, and on this 2.5-mile out-and-back run, you’ll take in views of blue water, sand and the boardwalk-lined Kahekili Beach Park. If you time it right, you might also catch the daily cliff-diving ceremony off Black Rock.
Location: Boise, ID
For the most popular run in Boise, head north of downtown to the Hulls Gulch Reserve — 292 acres of land at the base of the foothills. You’ll find two trails here, The Grove and Lower Hulls Gulch that start the 180 miles of trails. (Don’t worry, you can run a loop in just five!) Keep an eye out for wildlife like horned owls, mule deer and foxes along your trek.
Location: Chicago, IL
No surprise here: The number-one place for people to run in Illinois is the picturesque Lakeshore Trail in Chicago, which lines Lake Michigan. Hit some stand-out sights in the city by starting at historic Grant Park. Then head north, passing the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum on your way. Turn around when you hit Diversey Harbor and make your way back to cover approximately eight miles. Take a mini detour to Millennium Park on your way in, so you can stop for a photo opp at the reflective Bean.
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
A scenic stint along the Canal Walk in Indianapolis is one of the most frequently covered running routes in this state. Start at 11th Street and run down past Watanabe Garden and the NCAA Hall of Champions to White River State Park. Jog over the bridge for some waterside views or head straight back to the start. Either way, you’ll find some peace from the city and you’ll most likely catch some art sculptures and hear music along the route.
Location: Solon, IA
Run around Lake MacBride in Solon (a few miles from Iowa City), starting at the MacBridge Nature and Recreation Area. Or feel free to go off-road and onto the serene trails closer to the water so you can enjoy the breeze as you go. The gravel paths make it easier on your joints than pavement and the search for wildlife will take your mind off the mileage. Some animals you might spot include ospreys and waterfowls.
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Location: Topeka, KS
There’s no place like home — or like Kaw River State Park, where locals clock miles. This 76-acre park is threaded with trails made for running and hiking, and with access to the Kaw River, it makes for beautiful views. Leave your headphones at home to soak up the natural, tranquil vibes as you rack up various mileage, depending on the loop you choose inside the park (a popular one is just two).
Location: Louisville, KY
The 1.2-mile path inside Louisville’s Seneca Park is a favorite among native runners — especially for a.m. workouts. Also popular: tacking on multiple laps to up the mileage. You’ll pass playgrounds and horseback riding trails in this serene park, which also has basketball and volleyball courts, soccer fields and cross country trails. Even better: The track is well lit for safe outings in the early morning or evening.
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Location: New Orleans, LA
Instead of lounging in the Big Easy, get up and out to see its southern charm by foot. Take a lap on the paved path in Audubon Park, where you’ll view gorgeous oak trees, green spaces and lagoons. Then exit the park and jog along St. Charles Street until you get to the Garden District; you’ll pass historical homes with stunning architecture along the way.
Location: Portland, ME
Enjoy views of the Portland skyline as you trek along the nearly six-mile trail encompassing Back Cove. The coastal city’s popular running path is mostly flat, with a combination of paved and dusty surfaces. The path also boasts water fountains and bathrooms so you can keep circling around if you want to hit double-digit mileage.
Location: Balitmore, MD
Begin your run in the state’s capital city of Baltimore at Canton Waterfront Park. Run with the water of the Patapsco River and sailboats to your side, as you go by the bustling Waterfront Promenade and Maritime Park. (Do your best not to stop for crabs along the way!) Most runners turn right at Fleet Street and continue until they’ve reached the end of Patterson Park.
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Location: Boston, MA
A run along the Charles River in Boston is a must when you’re in the Bay State. Start at the Boston Common and head to the water, over the Longfellow Bridge. Follow the Dr. Paul Dudley White Path that traces the river and you’ll pass Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cross the river again at Harvard Bridge and head up the Esplanade for breathtaking views of the water.
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
Rack up your step count as you run around Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids. Locals start at the corner of Hall Street and Breton Road and continue for about 4.5 miles along the trail that traces the lake. You’ll run on both paved paths and boardwalks as you go through wooded sections, wetlands and residential areas. Your total distance will be a little more than seven miles.
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Hit both sides of the Mississippi River to cover 3.5 miles of tranquil terrain in Minneapolis. Start by heading over the Stone Arch Bridge to Philip W Pillsbury Park. Continue along the water to Nicollet Island Park, which includes a promenade and a view of the oldest dam on the river. Then head back over the river, on NE 8th Ave and down West River Parkway.
Location: Ocean Springs, MS
The Biloxi Bay Bridge has a wide path for cyclists and runners — and it makes of most of this super-popular course. Start in Ocean Springs and head across the 1.6-mile bridge toward Biloxi before turning around and crossing the bay a second time to total about four miles.
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Location: St. Louis, MO
The most popular running route in the Show-Me State traces most of the perimeter of the 1,371-acre Forest Park in St. Louis. As you cover more than five miles, you’ll pass the city’s world-class zoo and its famous outdoor theater, The Muny.
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Location: Bozeman, MT
The favorite trail run of people in Montana is a 1.7-mile loop in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area (home to a whopping 300 miles of scenic trails) near Bozeman. Check out the stunning rocky peaks and pine ridges nearby — and make sure keep an eye out for local animals including sheep, elk and grizzly bears.
Location: Omaha, NE
A 5.5-mile run in Omaha is the most popular route in this state. Starting at Willowdale Elementary School, you’ll head to a tree-lined trail that goes around Zorinsky Lake. Slow down to catch a glimpse of swans and ducks in the lake and deer in the woods by the path.
Location: Henderson, NV
Run the loop around Cornerstone Park in Henderson, the most frequented course in Nevada. The route is just a little longer than a mile, but it takes you around the 31-acre Railroad Lake. Enjoy the views of the water and mountains as you cover the mostly flat, paved path and keep going around if you’ve got energy left after one lap.
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29. New Hampshire
Location: Jaffrey, NH
The state whose motto is “Live free or Die” has a favorite running route that’s just as epic. On the popular 3.8-mile course near Manchester, you’ll ascend 1,790 feet. Hit the White Dot Trail and head up Monadnock Mountain; try to run it in the fall so you’ll catch the blazing foliage. No judgement if you need to walk up this steep climb.
30. New Jersey
Location: Manasquan, NJ
You don’t have to stick to gym, tanning and laundry at the Jersey Shore. Get outside (and a little farther inland) to take on a five-mile loop around the Manasquan Reservoir. Start at the visitor’s center, then set foot on the gravel trail, which has mile markers to help you check off the distance as you jog. Go off-route to experience the one-mile nature trail that gives an up-close look at the lakeshore.
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31. New Mexico
Location: Albuquerque, NM
It may seem like a state set in the desert, but New Mexico boasts a super-green run as its favorite route. As you jog for 2.6 miles along the edge of the University of New Mexico North Golf Course, take time to look around at the rolling hills and lush grasses around you.
32. New York
Location: New York, NY
The most-frequented course in the Empire State is unsurprisingly in the Big Apple — more specifically, Central Park. Start at the base of the park and run up the main paved road on the east side until you get to the dirt Bridle Path encircling the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Circle the water, then head south on the paved road to the park’s west side. You’ll see lots of greenery and ponds in between the city’s sprawling skyline — while logging 6.5 miles.
33. North Carolina
Location: Durham, NC
To cover the favorite running route in this southeastern state, head to Duke University. You’ll start at the Durham School of Arts and take a lap around the school’s East Campus to total 2.4 miles. There’s a gravel path for pedestrians with small rolling hills along the way.
34. North Dakota
Location: Bismarck, ND
You’ll cross the Missouri River twice in this popular seven-mile loop in Bismarck. Begin at the top of the Tom O’Leary Golf Course and go down North Washington Street to Riverwood Drive, then head over the river and to Memorial Highway. You’ll pass Memorial Bridge Park and the Dakota Zoo as you go.
Location: Columbus, OH
A 5.4-mile run on the Olentangy River Trail in Columbus is incredibly popular in this state. Take note of native plants along the scenic wetlands that surround the path. If you have a chance, try catching the trail at different entrances in several city parks — there’s lots of room to explore new grounds.
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK
When you’re in this state’s capital of Oklahoma City, go for a run around Pat Murphy Park and Bluff Creek. There are trails and picnic areas in the 13-acre park, plus you can catch peaceful views of the nearby Lake Hefner as you complete nearly three miles.
Location: Dexter, OR
This state’s most popular run is a 5.6-mile loop around a stretch of the Willamette River. Start your outing at Salmon Street Springs and go along the Willamette Greenway Trail, which has picturesque views of the water and the Portland skyline. You’ll cross over the river via the Southwest Hawthorne Bridge on your way out and the Steel Bridge as you loop back.
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
Start running at South Street and South 27th to Lombard, and head to the Schuykill River. Continue along the river trail, with views of the water and (likely) people rowing to your left. Wind around the Philadelphia Museum of Art so you can conquer a triumphant run up the steps — just like Rocky. You’ll cover a little over four miles by the time you get back to where you started. Gonna fly now!
39. Rhode Island
Location: Providence, RI
You’ll cover a lot of greenspace as you run five miles in Providence. Start at Constance Witherby Park and go through Blackstone Park, as you catch views of the Seekonk River. Continue up to the edge of Lippitt Memorial Park, then head back.
40. South Carolina
Location: Charleston, SC
If you need another reason to visit Charleston (besides seeing the cute town itself), it boasts one of the prettiest bridge runs in the south. You’ll cross over the Cooper River via the Arthur Raveler Jr Bridge, which features a wide bike and pedestrian path named “Wonders’ Way.” Above the water, you’ll catch epic views of the Charleston Harbor, Patriots Point Naval Maritime Museum and the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. Once you reach Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park, turn around and retrace your steps to finish five miles.
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41. South Dakota
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
In Sioux Falls, run along the Big Sioux River, starting at Spencer Park and turning around at Sertoma Park. You’ll cover close to six miles and enjoy a landscape of greens, a riverfront bike path, formal gardens and cool whitewater rapids.
Location: Nashville, TN
Cover just over four miles along Mossy Ridge Trail (blazed red) in Nashville’s Percy Warner Park. The park features paved and dirt trails, as well as nature areas. Want more distance? Grab a map of all the paths at the Nature Center trailhead before you head out so you can explore all the running routes at your disposal.
Location: Austin, TX
Along the Lady Bird Lake trail in Austin is a super-popular three-mile route for runners and walkers, which loops around a section of the Colorado River. Go at dusk between March and November and you could catch a glimpse of the city’s famous bats as they fly out from under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
The favorite place to run in this state is 2.8 miles around Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park, the oldest park in Utah. Run on sidewalks or a wood-chip path as you enjoy sights of green trees and shrubs — and soak up the clean mountain air. When you’re ready to switch up your workout and try something new, the park also has a path dedicated to rollerbladers.
Location: Burlington, VT
The go-to route in the Green Mountain State is along the shore of Lake Champlain in the college town of Burlington. Start your trek where the Burlington Bike Path connects with the Island Line Trail in Waterfront Park; follow the trail ‘til you turn around at North Beach Park. The lake and Adirondack Mountains together make a peaceful backdrop for this 5.5-mile course.
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Location: Richmond, VA
For a picturesque run near Richmond, start at Virginia Capital Trail and run along the James River, spotting lots of farmland along the way. Cross a foot bridge to serene Belle Isle, covered with shrubbery and large flat rocks. Circle the island before heading back where you came from. You’ll log nearly six miles by the time you get back to the start.
Location: Seattle, WA
The three-mile dirt path around Green Lake in Seattle is this state’s most popular course. Begin a bit north of the city at Latona Avenue NE and head down to the path to make up the mileage. Look for local animals like ducks and beavers while enjoying the beautiful water of the glacial lake.
48. West Virginia
Location: Charleston, WV
Log about five miles as you jog along the Kanawha River, starting at Haddad Riverfront Park and turning around when you hit the Kanawha City Bridge. You’ll get views of the water and the Charleston skyline. If you go out on the weekend, you might even get some musical motivation for your run courtesy of free outdoor concerts held in the park.
Location: Milwaukee, WI
A two-mile run along the 108-mile paved Oak Leaf Trail in Milwaukee is the favorite route in this state. Start at Bradford Beach and go along Lake Michigan — enjoying wooded areas, wooden bridges and views of the water. When you reach William F. O’Donnell Park, head back — or keep going if you’re looking to clock a longer distance. The city also has the perfect post-workout indulgence: local brews and cheese curds.
Location: Casper Mountain, WY
Take on the three-mile Split Rock Trail in Casper Mountain. The area is named for a famous local landmark: a huge slab of granite with a notch cut out of the middle of its crest. You’ll feel empowered by the majesty of the rock and the peaceful prairies along the path.
Want to take your run outside the U.S.? Check out are the 30 best marathons in the world.
Originally published December 2016. Updated June 7, 2017.
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