Next time you lace up, skip the treadmill and instead head outdoors. To get you started, here are our 10 favorite places to run in nature! Explore the list below or view the slideshow to see photos of these runs.
In New York State...
Riverside Park in New York, New York
TRAINING LOG: Run along the sidewalk trail inside the park for a 2½-mile run with some gentle hills.
NATURE LOG: This run is all about your view of the iconic Hudson River. Skip the sunglasses though because you’ll be well shaded by healthy groves of elm trees, ornamental cherry blossoms and evergreen spruces.
Finger Lakes Trail System in Seneca, New York
TRAINING LOG: Stay on the Abbott Loop and log about seven, mostly even but sometimes steep miles on a dirt footpath.
NATURE LOG: Run past wild blueberries and azaleas on your climb toward the Pinnacles, where you’ll see blooming witchhazel in the Fall.
Sunken Meadow State Park in Long Island, New York
TRAINING LOG: Set out on the 3- or 5-mile course and be prepared for Cardiac Hill, a steep climb that offers a solid challenge.
NATURE LOG: Start on the boardwalk to look for shore birds along the Long Island Sound, then head down a wooded trail, where you’ll find thrushes, wrens, chickadees and waxwings.
Jackrabbit Trail in Keene, New York
TRAINING LOG: Run 11 challenging miles on this hilly, cross-country route.
NATURE LOG: Larger than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon and the Great Smokies National Parks combined Adirondack Park is a crown jewel of nature in New York. Enjoy sparkling waterfalls, impressive peaks and swaths of forests.
Butler Sanctuary in Westchester County, New York
TRAINING LOG: Combine the Red and Yellow trails to run a 3-mile loop with some hill work and off-road paths.
NATURE LOG: Bring your binoculars because this is a birding hotspot. In the Fall, look for migrating hawks, falcons and other raptors. During Summer, you’ll spy wood thrush, scarlet tanagers, warblers and other songbirds.
Beyond New York...
Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California
TRAINING LOG: Start with the Mineral Wells Trail—an easy, 2-mile dirt path—and then combine with one of the other trails for a longer route.
NATURE LOG: In this arid park, you’ll see native California species like lilac, sage and sumac. Head deeper into the canyon to see walnut and mahogany trees.
Mount Vernon Trail in Washington, D.C.
TRAINING LOG: Get in training runs of different lengths on this marked, 18-mile paved trail.
NATURE LOG: Following the Potomac River and passing through woods and wetlands, this area is rich with life: Take a detour through the Marsh Dyke Wildlife Preserve and see nesting red-winged blackbirds.
Ringwood State Park in Ringwood, New Jersey
TRAINING LOG: Follow the 7½-mile Mountain Bike course, a mostly flat, wooded off-road trail.
NATURE LOG: Framed by the Ramapo Mountains, this park is a great place to spot migrating birds, thanks to a variety of habitats: orchards, lakes, meadows and shrubby fields among others.
North Branch Trail in Chicago, Illinois
TRAINING LOG: If you’re prepping for the Chicago Marathon, complete the full length of this paved trail for a long, 20-miler.
NATURE LOG: Thanks to ongoing restoration work in this area, you’ll be privy to sweeping views of open prairies filled with colorful goldenrods, bluestem and northern dropseed.
Middlesex Fells Reservation in Boston, Massachusetts
TRAINING LOG: Stay on the Reservoir Trail for a flat, gravel path that runs 5½ miles.
NATURE LOG: In Fall, vibrant red maples steal the show, but the Charles River is always a peaceful backdrop along this path.