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If someone you love is a runner, you know how dedicated they can be to their sport. Whether that means running at 5 am on cold winter mornings or hanging around the treadmill for miles at a time, runners are often headstrong, dedicated, and ambitious. The perfect running gifts will help runners perform better and continue to hone their craft. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve got a list of the absolute best gifts for runners, from runners, including recommendations for all budgets, big and small.

Overall Best Gifts for Runners

Running Shoes

The one and only things that runners actually need is running shoes. When it comes to shoes, every runner is different, so it’s probably a good idea to take them to a local store and take a treadmill test before they try on a few pairs.

At Skyline Adventurer, we personally like Asics running shoes (the Dynaflyte for women and the Kayano for men), as they’re comfortable yet flexible and feel like pillows on our feet for miles.

Trail Running Shoes

For runners who prefer the forest to the road, trail running shoes are also a fantastic option. Designed specifically for uneven surfaces like hiking trails, trail running shoes are one of the best gifts for hikers who want to experience nature while they’re out on a run. While no one shoe is perfect for everyone, we’ve found that Merrell has fantastic trail running options for any trail runner out there.

Running Shorts

For warmer seasons, runners can never have enough pairs of shorts, making for a fantastic running gift. The best running shorts are loose, airy, and don’t ride up. There are tons of brands that offer them, but running shorts from Under Armour (for women and men)are a fantastic value and come in a bunch of fun, bright colors.

Nike Running Tights

In colder climates or for extra compression, many runners prefer to run in leggings or tights. The best kinds of running tights have good compression and storage areas like pockets or zippers to keep small items in. The quality of tights can vary greatly, so we’d recommend picking up a pair from a reputable brand like Nike so you can be sure they’ll last for miles on the road.

Under Armour Running Jacket

A durable running jacket is a must for any runner who lives in a temperate or cold climate. The best running jackets are made of sweat-wicking material and have a zipper to adjust for different temperatures. Under Armour has a fantastic selection of jackets that are great for runners – we especially like this one for men and this one for women.

Sweat-Wicking Running Tops

No runner will ever say no to more running clothing, which is why running tops make one of the greatest gifts for runners. Every runner will have their own preferences about their favorite types of running attire, but we really like PrAna t-shirts and tank tops for running because they’re extremely breathable and sweat-wicking.

Warm Beanie

In colder or windy conditions, a beanie is one of the most practical gifts for hikers because it can help keep them safe and warm. For hiking, you don’t need anything fancy, so something like this affordable beanie from Neff is a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite hiker.

The North Face e-Tip Gloves

As most runners know, the first thing to get cold are your extremities, especially your fingers, which are often exposed to the elements. A good pair of gloves can help cold weather runners run in comfort and warmth. We’ve run in e-Tip gloves by The North Face for years now and we strongly recommend them, especially since they’re super durable and you can use your phone’s touch screen without taking them off.

Running Sunglasses

Even when you’re running, it’s still critical to protect your eyes. A pair of polarized, UV-resistant running sunglasses is incredibly important for keeping a runner’s eyes safe on long runs (so, basically, it’s one of those awesome AND practical running gifts). There are tons of varieties of running sunglasses out there, but runners love these sunglasses by JOJEN which are high quality and come in a bunch of different colors.

Breathable Baseball Cap

Just like sunglasses are important for protecting runners’ eyes, a hat is helpful for protecting their faces. When you’re running for hours in the hot, direct sun, it’s really easy to get a sunburn, and a hat can help prevent that. Any hat will do, but this one by TrailHeads comes in a bunch of colors and is super lightweight and breathable.

Cheap Gifts for Runners On A Budget (Under $25)

KT (Kinesiology) Tape

Runners often get aches and pains in various parts of their body, and one way to alleviate them is to provide additional support through kinesiology tape. There are several brands of kinesiology tape out there, but the most popular with runners is KT Tape, which is super soft and comfortable and comes in all kinds of colors, from neutral to bright and fun.

Buff

For people who spend a lot of time outside, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and for runners, it’s a great headband or scarf substitute for colder climates.

Energy Gels or Chews

Energy supplements are essential for distance runners who are often running for hours at a time, and are affordable gifts for runners who do half and full marathons. The most popular brand of energy gel for runners is Gu Gels, which come in all kinds of crazy flavors in both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties. However, you can view a lot of different kinds of gels and chews here.

Saucony Running Socks

Socks are something that runners truly cannot run without, and a good pair of socks can help runners feel more comfortable and strong out on the road or trail. Running socks are a fantastic, affordable gift for runners, and we recommend these running socks from Saucony (for women and men) as a fantastic, well-cushioned option.

Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm

Reality check: most runners chafe somewhere on their bodies, and it can hurt a LOT. Applying Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm is the best preventive measure that runners can take to reduce or minimize the painful effects of chafing. While it might seem like a weird present to give someone, if you’re looking for gifts for runners on a budget, your runner will be thankful for some Body Glide.

Run the World by Becky Wade

Believe it or not, runners aren’t always running. When they’re off the road, indulging in stories about running and athletes is a great way to recover. Run the World by Becky Wade is a beautiful, funny, heart warming memoir of her year spent abroad through the Watson Fellowship learning about training styles, running norms, and new cultures along the way. It’s a perfect gift for the travel-loving runner!

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall is a fascinating story about running and superathletes who can run for several miles at a time. Part running story and part anthropology, this inspiring read is a fantastic gift for sitting by the fire and learning more about what the human body is capable of.

Runner’s World Subscription

Runner’s World is the best magazine for running-obsessed folks, with monthly editions that have tons of cool stories, photos, and tips for road running, trail running, cross-training, and more. If you want to give your runner a whole year of inspiration, a Runner’s World annual subscription is a fantastic option.

Practical Running Gifts

FlipBelt Running Storage Belt

Runners usually like to run as minimally as possible, without any bags or bells and whistles that will drag them down. That’s why the seamless FlipBelt Running Storage Belt is a perfect gift – it allows runners to store their IDs, credit cards, gels, and other items in a comfortable, lightweight waist band.

Phone Arm Band

Many runners enjoy running with their phones, either for music or for safety (or both). However, lugging around a phone in your hand doesn’t always work for every runner, so an arm band that fits a phone can be a fantastic and practical gift for runners who like to jam to music. While there are a ton out there, this one on Amazon is extremely affordable and is waterproof, to ensure rain or sweat won’t damage your electronics.

Nathan Handheld Water Bottle

For long runs, there’s no feeling more terrifying than not having access to drinking water. Many distance runners will bring a handheld water bottle with them to ensure they always have access to water when it’s needed. The Nathan Handheld Water Bottles are great because they have a hand strap and a small pocket where you can keep things like energy gels, chews, IDs, and keys.

Reflective Running Vest

Many runners prefer to hit the road in the early mornings or evenings, which can pose dangers to them if they’re crossing streets or are in areas with lots of bikers. A reflective running vest can help ensure that your loved one stays safe and visible while running at night. Giving the gift of safety is the best way to tell someone you love them!

No-Bounce Running Head Lamp

Not only do night runners need to be seen, but they also need to be able to see the road for obstacles that may trip them. A head lamp is one safety item we recommend for any runner who goes out at night, and it’s one of the most welcome gifts for runners because a good one isn’t cheap. The BioLite No-Bounce Headlamp is a compact, light option that’s perfect for runners because it’s tiny and stays put with an elastic, grippy headband.

Foam Roller

Long distance running can cause all kinds of muscle aches and pains. A foam roller is often a runner’s favorite tool for post-run stretching, massage, and relieving tension after hours of racing through the streets and trails. If you’re looking for something that will get used by your favorite runner all the time, a good, solid foam roller like this one is one of the best gifts for runners.

Handheld Muscle Roller Stick

Another tool for post-run massage, this handheld muscle roller stick helps to target specific areas where there’s more soreness and aching. It’s also the most affordable option of the three massage gadgets on this list, and it’s one that thousands of runners swear by as a fantastic tool for recovery and muscle tension relief.

Road ID Wristband

It can be scary to think of something happening to your loved ones when they’re out running, but unfortunately, it does happen. A Road ID Wristband is a silicone wristband that provides identification and emergency contact information if a runner gets injured or hurt during a race or while out running on their own. While it’s somewhat morose to think about dangers, a Road ID is a great gift for runners to help keep them safe in an emergency situation.

Compression Socks

Compression socks are a must for many runners because they help with recovery and promote increased blood flow. As a stocking stuffer or a small gift, compression socks are a perfect option. While there are tons of options for every price range, a simple pair that doesn’t slide is more than enough for most runners. You can view tons of options on Amazon.

Bib and Medal Display

Don’t let those medals sit in a closet collecting dust! Give your runner the gift of showing off his or her accomplishments to the world. A bib and medal display is the perfect place to mount a runner’s prized race paraphernalia in a home or office, and is one of the most thoughtful gifts for runners that you can give.

Technology Gifts for Runners

Garmin Forerunner GPS Watch

Garmin watches are basically the smartphones for runners. Garmin’s GPS capabilities are some of the best out there, and their Forerunner watches track thousands of runners’ mileage and speed around the world. Their newest version, the Garmin Forerunner 245, comes in a music and non-music version, and has a screen that shows you your stats for each run and over time. Plus, you can sync it with an app to see all of your runs, distances, stats, and more detailed reports.

Apple Watch Series 5

For those wanting a more integrated running watch that syncs with an iPhone, an Apple Watch can definitely do the trick. It can track your distance and speed through apps like Runkeeper, and can also sync with the music, messaging, and calls on your phone. It’s definitely a more expensive option, but it’s a great all-in-one splurge for your favorite runner that they’ll definitely wear all the time.

Aftershokz Headphones

Bluetooth headphones are the new trend in music, and running is no exception. Aftershokz Bluetooth Headphones are specifically designed for runners! As no-slip wireless headphones for runners, the Aftershokz are a fantastic way for runners to avoid wires and listen to their favorite pump up songs while running, and are a great running gift to upgrade from traditional headphones.

Intellopia Massage Gun

“I hate deep tissue massages,” said no runner, ever. For a true deep tissue massage experience right at your fingertips, the Intellopia Massage Gun is an incredible new technology that delivers powerful massage through vibrations. There are various different tools you can add onto it for different levels of focus on specific muscles and areas to relieve pain and tension, especially after long runs and races.

Runkeeper Go

Runkeeper is a beloved running app for iPhone and Android that can help runners keep track of their runs, speeds, and more. It’s a fantastic tool for training or keeping up general fitness. Runkeeper Go is a paid app upgrade that provides coaching plans and personalized reports on your progress, with a live tracking function that’s great for safety and races!

Strava Summit

Strava Summit is another beloved fitness program that can help your runner reach their goals, whether it’s completing their first race or reaching a PR. Strava Summit provides Training, Safety, and Analysis features, depending on your runner’s needs, goals, and preferences. These packs include a ton of tracking, reporting, and analytics tools that can increase your performance and keep you safe as you run.

Additional Resources

Where to Go Running


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It might seem daunting to try and find a good place for a morning run in Houston – after all, it’s a city that’s often portrayed by ten-lane highways and miles of buildings and subdivisions. However, running in Houston is increasingly becoming a popular activity with locals, and there are no shortage of beautiful trails in the city.

All sweltering heat and humidity aside, running in Houston can be an amazing experience because of the variety of trails within its giant sprawl. To give you some inspiration, we’ve compiled this list of the best places to go running in Houston.

Best Routes for Running in Houston, Texas

Photo Credit: itsdorian (Flickr CC)

1. Buffalo Bayou Park

  • Location: Downtown Houston
  • Trail Length: 15+ miles

As Houston’s most famous and photogenic green space, Buffalo Bayou Park is located just outside of downtown and boasts fabulous skyline views of the city. Filled with industrial bridges, tons of trees and plants, and the flowing Buffalo Bayou, the park is easy on the eyes for runners and picnickers alike.

There’s a 4.8-mile loop in the park that’s popular with runners, as it’s a perfect training ground for those who live near downtown. Additionally, the Buffalo Bayou Trail extends through the park for 15 miles, and is a popular spot for hikers, bikers, and runners. From end to end, this paved trail also passes through a handful of other parks, forested areas, and waterways.

Photo Credit: faungg’s photos (Flickr CC)

2. Rice University

  • Location: Rice University
  • Trail Length: 2.7 mile loop

The trail surrounding Rice University is a local favorite running spot, and is also one of the iconic landmarks where the Houston Marathon splits from the Half Marathon route. Consistently voted as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States, the outer loop running trail is a picturesque spot to go running in Houston.

With gravel paths, water fountains, and lots of shade, this loop trail is just under 3 miles, and is the perfect place to go for a run, even in the heat of the summer. Practically any time of day, you can find college students and fellow Houstonians running on Rice’s outer loop trail.

Pro tip: Pair it with a run in nearby Hermann Park (below) for a longer,~4.5 mile route. Or, alternatively, you can lengthen your run by entering Rice’s iconic main entrance and taking a jog through the campus itself.

Photo Credit: I am R. (Flickr CC)

3. Hermann Park

  • Location: Museum District
  • Trail Length: 1.5 miles

While the loop trail here is one of the shorter ones on our list, don’t rule out Hermann Park from your list of Houston running trails. Aside from being an easily accessible and beautifully-landscaped park, this is one of our favorite running spots in Houston because there’s so much variety throughout the park.

Bordering the Museum District and the Houston Zoo, the park does tend to get crowded during mid-day, but in the mornings it’s the perfect spot for a run. You’ll pass by a beautiful reflection pool, the Japanese garden, a sweeping golf course, and more on a loop through Hermann Park’s gravel trails. You can lengthen your run by heading to Rice University next, or by taking a detour through the many nearby museums.

Photo Credit: Joe Diaz (Flickr CC)

4. Boulevard Oaks/West University

  • Location: West University
  • Trail Length: Varies

Running through one of Houston’s most picturesque neighborhoods and iconic Oak canopies is a true treat for the senses, and Boulevard Oaks is the perfect place to get a taste for the lifestyle of Houston’s elite.

Filled with large, beautiful homes, paved sidewalks, and beautiful greenery, this is a side of Houston that’s rarely shown in the media. These neighborhoods surround Rice University, making this area a great detour/addition to a run at the university. Afterward, you can stop for a smoothie at the nearby college town, Rice Village.

5. Brays Bayou

  • Location: Rice University/Medical Center
  • Trail Length: 14 miles

If you prefer a waterside trail with fewer fellow runners, Brays Bayou has a lovely running route through its Greenway Trail. Extending 14 miles through Houston’s central and southern areas, the bayou has paved sidewalks and underpasses perfect for a short or long run. While there isn’t too much shade on this route, the city is constantly improving the trails to make them more clean and accessible for recreation.

Photo Credit: Mike Lapidakis (Flickr CC)

6. White Oak Bayou Trail

  • Location: The Heights/Rice Military
  • Trail Length: Up to 17 miles

As one of the longest continuous trails in Houston, the White Oak Bayou Trail extends nearly 17 miles through some of the most beautiful areas of Houston. Situated between Rice Military and The Heights, it’s perfectly located in a stretch of greenery alongside the quiet White Oak Bayou. Of course, there are also several overpasses to remind you you’re still in the fourth largest city in the United States, but otherwise, it’s a quiet and peaceful spot to go long-distance running in Houston.

The trails on White Oak Bayou are paved, and you’ll often see walkers and bikers on the trails alongside you. Bring lots of water if you’re heading out for a longer run, as there aren’t many water fountains along the way.

Photo Credit: Matthew Rutledge (Flickr CC)

7. Heights Trail

  • Location: The Heights
  • Trail Length: ~5 miles

The Heights Trail extends through one of Houston’s most vibrant and artistic neighborhoods, and is a perfect paved trail for running in Houston. Extending just under 5 miles, the trail is a lovely place for an early morning jog or an evening run. Along the way, you’ll catch stunning views of the Houston skyline.

Pro tip: There isn’t shade in many parts of the trail, so come prepared with sunscreen and/or a hat during mid-day workout sessions.

8. Memorial Park

  • Location: Memorial
  • Trail Length: 2.88-mile loop

To the west of downtown Houston lies the quiet, family-friendly neighborhood of Memorial. Filled with giant, grandiose homes and large corporate complexes, Memorial is a popular place to live and work. Its namesake park, Memorial Park, has a lovely running trail that’s popular with West Houston inhabitants. In the past, it was a favorite running spot of the late president George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara as well.

Gravel paths and wooded areas characterize the park’s 2.88 mile loop trail. In the evenings and weekends, you’ll find that there are several other friendly neighbors out in the park running, biking, or playing a variety of sports in the nearby fields.

9. George Bush Park

  • Location: Energy Corridor
  • Trail Length: Up to 11 miles

George Bush Park is a giant, sweeping park located in the far west side of Houston, near the Energy Corridor. There are thousands of acres of park here, which includes an 11-mile trail perfect for running in Houston. Whether you live or work in the Energy Corridor area or simply find yourself out in that direction, George Bush Park is a fantastic place to go for a jog. Here, you’ll find yourself by recreational fields and picnic areas, as well as lakes and bridges.

Photo Credit: JR_Paris (Flickr CC)

10. Terry Hershey Hike and Bike Trail

  • Location: Memorial
  • Trail Length: 10.7 miles

Situated in the green, wooded neighborhood of Memorial, the Terry Hershey Hike and Bike Trail is a local favorite. With over 10 miles of trails, this running path is perfect for those wanting to get out of the downtown areas without going too far. A mixture of gravel and paved paths will greet you, and the tree cover provides shade from the hot Houston sun.

11. Mason Park

  • Location: Greater East End
  • Trail Length: 1.4+ miles

A beloved recreational facility and park in eastern Houston, Mason Park is a small but wonderful place for a short run. It’s situated along the banks of Brays Bayou, meaning that the Brays Bayou trail meets up with the park’s trails for an option to extend your run. Alternatively, you can enjoy your jog through fields, bayou banks, and more as you admire the wooded areas and wildflowers nearby.

Photo Credit: Francisco Anzola (Flickr CC)

12. Montrose

  • Location: Montrose/Museum District
  • Trail Length: Varies

Ah, yes. The neighborhood of Montrose had to end up in our list because it truly is one of Houston’s most interesting, colorful, and downright fascinating neighborhoods to explore on foot.

Because it’s largely residential, there are sidewalks everywhere, making Montrose an ideal neighborhood for running in Houston. As you run, you can admire the various street art around the neighborhood, take a detour through the Museum District, stop by the Menil Collection, and enjoy the colorful, quirky homes and boutiques that dot the area.


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Contrary to popular belief, Houston, Texas is a fantastic city for runners! If you're looking for a good Houston running trail, you've come to the right place. We created this complete guide to the best places for running in Houston, including top Houston running trails, Houston parks, paved hike and bike trails, and workout spots! #Running #Fitness #Houston #Texas

With tons of green spaces and picturesque waterways, Chicago is a fantastic city for runners. Running in Chicago is a great way to explore the city, especially during the warmer months of the year. You can run around the Windy City for miles and miles, passing near the Chicago River, trailing along Lake Michigan, or jogging through one of the many parks in the city.

Not sure which trail to hit next? Here’s a list of 12 of the best places to go running in Chicago and the surrounding areas, including paved trails, parks, and nature preserves.

Top Places to Go Running in Chicago

The Lakefront Trail is one of the most popular Chicago running trails.

1. Lakefront Trail

  • Location: Lake Michigan
  • Route Length: Up to 18 miles
  • Trail Type: Paved

The Lakefront Trail is arguably Chicago’s most popular running route. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Lakefront Trail is composed on 18 miles of paved trails that are shared with runners, dog walkers, and bikers. On evenings and weekends, the Lakefront Trail is usually packed with people, making it an especially great place to go if you’re running alone or enjoy being around the masses.

Along the Lakefront Trail, there are tons of sandy beach hangout areas, cute waterfront restaurants and bars, and graffiti-lined underpasses. You’ll also have the opportunity to pass by the iconic Navy Pier, Monroe Harbor, North Avenue Beach, and the Museum District.

The best time to enjoy the Lakefront Trail is at sunrise, when the sun hangs low over the water and you can catch the coolest, crispest summer air in Chicago. It’s also considerably less crowded during this time of day.

The Chicago Riverwalk is a fun place to go running in Chicago!

2. The Riverwalk

  • Location: The Loop
  • Route Length: 3.4 miles
  • Trail Type: Paved

Chicago’s Riverwalk may very well be the heart of the city. Located along the Chicago River, this buzzing boardwalk is full of people at practically all times of day, and is home to many of the city’s coolest views. It’s also a fabulous place to go running in Chicago, as you’ll catch views of some of the city’s most unique architecture.

A run on the 3.4-mile trail on the Riverwalk is best done in the mornings, when the boardwalk isn’t so full of bar-hoppers and large groups. At this time of day, you’ll get more uninterrupted running time and spend less energy dodging other people.

While on the trail, you can see views of the river, the city’s unique buildings, and watch people kayaking along the Chicago River or passing by on boat tours.

3. Grant Park & Millennium Park

  • Location: The Loop
  • Route Length: 3-5 miles
  • Trail Type: Paved

When you close your eyes and think of Chicago, Grant Park probably comes to mind. Home to giant green spaces, Lollapalooza, and the famed Cloud Gate, it’s one of the most epic places to go running in Chicago. And, with various trails winding through the park, there are options to create a route of up to 5 miles in the area.

The reason why we love Grant Park for running is because it’s a great way to see many Chicago icons from a unique perspective. While running, you can soak in several of the city’s best sights – think Navy Pier, the skyline, and the Museum District – all while getting your morning miles in.

4. Magnificent Mile

  • Location: The Loop
  • Route Length: 1-2 miles
  • Trail Type: Urban/paved

The Magnificent Mile is Chicago’s “5th Avenue,” filled with some of the city’s best hotels, shops, and entertainment options. During certain times of day, it can also be an excellent place for running in Chicago, giving you access to the downtown environment during your morning run.

As with many of our recommendations, the Magnificent Mile is best for running in the early morning, before the rush hour crowds begin to flow through the streets. Another thing to keep in mind about this area is that there are several intersections with stop lights, meaning you won’t have many opportunities to run uninterrupted unless you veer off into Millennium Park or the Lakefront Trail.

Photo Credit: David Hilowitz (Flickr CC)

5. Milwaukee Avenue

  • Location: North Side
  • Route Length: Varies
  • Trail Type: Urban/paved

For those craving a longer urban run, Milwaukee Avenue is one of the coolest Chicago running spots. Yes, you’ll have to deal with the minor annoyance of stoplights and sidewalks, but in exchange, you’ll have the opportunity to pass through some of Chicago’s most interesting neighborhoods and explore a completely different side of the city.

A run down Milwaukee Avenue will take you past Wicker Park, one of Chicago’s coolest residential areas, past the Flatiron Arts Building, and past lots of street art and local shops and cafes.

Photo Credit: Luiz Gadelha Jr. (Flickr CC)

6. Hyde Park

  • Location: Hyde Park
  • Route Length: 5-7 miles
  • Trail Type: Paved

Among the more unconventional Chicago running routes on our list takes you into south Chicago’s historic neighborhood of Hyde Park. Home to the University of Chicago, you’ll find Gothic architecture, tree-lined streets, and lots of historic townhomes as you run through the area.

A 5-mile run in Hyde Park will take you through the University of Chicago, Jackson Park, Promontory Point, and Washington Park, as well as past historic homes and Gothic-style buildings. It’s a fantastic contrast to the tall, shiny buildings and busy, crowded streets of the Downtown/Loop area of Chicago!

Lincoln Park is the perfect place to go running in Chicago.
Lincoln Park is a lovely place to go running in the evenings.

7. Lincoln Park

  • Location: Lincoln Park
  • Route Length: Up to 5.5 miles
  • Trail Type: Gravel

Lincoln Park is one of the most beloved residential areas of Chicago, and in the middle of it lies a large, green park area that houses a picturesque lake and many trails that are perfect for running. The Lincoln Park Trail winds through the park’s wooded areas and us a wonderful, shady place for a run.

Within the park, you’ll find over 5 miles of runner-friendly trails. Along your run, you can admire the gorgeous Victorian architecture in the neighborhood, and you can pass by the zoo or the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Nearby, the Lincoln Park trails lead right to the North Avenue Beach stretch of the Lakefront Trail, perfect for extending your run and enjoying the cool, breezy lake air.

8. North Shore Channel Trail

  • Location: North Chicago
  • Route Length: 6.7 miles
  • Trail Type: Paved

Located in the northern part of the city, the North Shore Channel Trail is a refreshing change from the Lakefront Trail for a long run in the city. The trail runs parallel to a quiet waterway called the North Shore Channel, and is lined with green spaces. Dotted with trees and bushes, it’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves begin to change colors.

Starting at Ronan Park, the North Shore Channel Trail is a quieter running route that spans almost exactly a half-marathon distance both ways. It’s great for distance training or simply running in a different scene.

9. The 606

  • Location: Bloomingdale
  • Route Length: 2.7 miles
  • Trail Type: Paved

Another one of the most unique Chicago trails is the 606, an elevated trail that runs over former railroad tracks. Today, it’s been repurposed into an urban hiking, running, and biking trail. A run on the 606 will take you through green spaces, charming neighborhoods, and historic areas of Chicago.

The entire 606 trail spans 2.7 miles, beginning at Walsh Park and ending at North Ridgeway Ave. Additionally, there are multiple access points along the route where you can enter and exit at your leisure. Because it’s paved and mostly flat, it’s one of the best and most exciting places to go running in Chicago.

10. Humboldt Park

  • Location: NW Chicago
  • Route Length: 2+ miles
  • Trail Type: Gravel

Humboldt Park is located in Wicker Park, one of Chicago’s most fun and quirky neighborhoods. It’s a beautiful, green park area that has several trails for runners, hikers, and bikers. In our opinion, a run here is best paired with brunch or a coffee in one of Wicker Park’s local cafes.

You can access Humboldt Park from the 606 trail for an extended run, or to explore even more of this lovely area of the city. There’s a loop trail around the park that’s short and sweet for a ~2 mile run around the area.

Photo Credit: Sajith T S (Flickr CC)

11. Busse Woods

  • Location: NW Chicago
  • Route Length: 8-mile loop
  • Trail Type: Paved

With over 3,000 acres of woodlands, there’s no shortage of trails to run at Busse Woods. This forest and marsh area is home to lots of local wildlife and picturesque wooded areas, including an elk pasture. At under an hour from the city center, Busse Woods is a great area for running while immersing yourself in nature.

The most popular trail for runners and bikers is Busse Woods’ main 8-mile trail loop, which will take you around a large part of the park. With paved trails, you can enjoy road running while also enjoying the nature and wildlife viewing opportunities around you.

Running in Chicago: Additional Resources


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