When traveling throughout the country, running enthusiasts and nature lovers alike will want to find the best spots to stretch their legs and exercise while exploring a unique environment. Part three in our Best City Parks series has all the spots you should consider checking out throughout the United States.

  1. Cherokee and Seneca Parks — Kentucky

Cherokee Park and Seneca Park in Louisville, Kentucky, stand as two exceptional city parks that offer a picturesque and stimulating environment for runners. These parks are beloved by locals and visitors alike for their stunning landscapes, well-maintained trails, and a range of amenities that cater to runners of all levels.

Cherokee Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, renowned for creating New York City’s Central Park, boasts a diverse network of scenic trails that wind through rolling hills, meadows, and dense woodlands. Runners can revel in the beauty of the park’s lush vegetation, tranquil lakes, and stunning vistas, making each run a visual delight. With its well-paved paths and varying terrain, Cherokee Park provides a versatile running experience, allowing athletes to challenge themselves while immersing themselves in nature’s beauty.

Seneca Park, located nearby, offers another exceptional running destination with its extensive trail system and well-maintained pathways. The park features paved and gravel trails that wind through its expansive green spaces and along the banks of Beargrass Creek. Runners can enjoy the serene ambiance of the park, surrounded by towering trees, abundant wildlife, and the peaceful sound of flowing water. Whether running a short loop or embarking on a longer distance, Seneca Park offers a tranquil and rejuvenating atmosphere that makes each run a refreshing experience.


  1. Saratoga Spa State Park — New York

Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, New York, is a remarkable city park and National Historic Landmark that offers an exceptional running experience for enthusiasts of all levels. This sprawling park encompasses diverse landscapes, historic sites, and well-maintained trails, making it an ideal destination for runners seeking a scenic and invigorating workout.

One of the park’s highlights is its extensive trail system that weaves through picturesque meadows, tranquil forests, and serene waterways. Runners can enjoy the park’s stunning natural beauty, including its iconic mineral springs, charming bridges, and scenic ponds. The trails are well-marked and provide a mix of terrains, allowing runners to customize their routes and adapt to their preferred level of challenge. Whether opting for a leisurely jog or an intense workout, Saratoga Spa State Park offers a variety of trail options to suit every runner’s needs.

In addition to its natural allure, Saratoga Spa State Park offers several amenities that enhance the running experience. The park features ample parking, well-maintained facilities, and convenient access to water fountains and restrooms along the trails. Runners can also take advantage of the park’s proximity to the beautiful historic sites, including the iconic Saratoga Performing Arts Center and the Saratoga Race Course, adding an element of culture and excitement to their runs. With its stunning scenery, well-marked trails, and convenient amenities, Saratoga Spa State Park is a great city area for runners seeking a harmonious blend of nature, history, and a rewarding running experience.


  1. The Washington Park Arboretum — Washington

The Washington Park Arboretum and the surrounding University of Washington area in Seattle, Washington, form an enchanting and vibrant urban oasis that offers a delightful experience for runners. The Washington Park Arboretum, spanning 230 acres, showcases a diverse collection of plant species, tranquil gardens, and winding trails that wind through lush greenery. Runners can immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty, enjoying the sights and scents of blooming flowers, towering trees, and peaceful water features. With its well-maintained paths, runners can explore the arboretum’s various sections, including the Japanese Garden and Rhododendron Glen, adding an element of serenity and tranquility to their run.

Adjacent to the arboretum is the University of Washington, a bustling and lively campus that offers an additional running haven. The university area boasts a network of pathways that crisscross through the campus, providing runners with urban and natural surroundings. Whether weaving through the iconic Red Square, passing by historic buildings, or traversing along the scenic Burke-Gilman Trail adjacent to the campus, runners can enjoy a dynamic and engaging running experience. The University of Washington’s lively atmosphere, combined with the arboretum’s natural beauty, creates a unique and invigorating setting for runners to explore while staying active in Seattle.


  1. Chain of Lakes Park — Minnesota

Chain of Lakes Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a picturesque and beloved urban park that provides a delightful setting for runners to lace up their shoes and hit the trails. The park is aptly named as it connects a chain of four stunning lakes: Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun (also known as Bde Maka Ska), Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. These interconnected lakes offer a scenic loop that spans approximately 15 kilometers, providing ample opportunity for runners to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

The park’s well-maintained trails and pathways perfectly balance nature and urban amenities. Runners can enjoy the serene waters of the lakes, picturesque bridges, and verdant parkland as they make their way along the loop. The trails are wide and well-marked, accommodating runners and cyclists, making it a popular destination for active individuals. Whether you prefer a leisurely jog or a brisk run, Chain of Lakes Park caters to a variety of paces and fitness levels, making it an accessible and enjoyable location for runners of all abilities.


  1. Golden Gate Park — California 

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, is an iconic urban oasis offering an extraordinary running experience for locals and visitors. Spanning over 1,000 acres, this expansive park has many attractions, diverse landscapes, and well-maintained running paths catering to runners of all levels.

One of the park’s main highlights is its scenic beauty, encompassing stunning gardens, serene lakes, and vast open spaces. Runners can explore the park’s picturesque trails that wind through meadows, groves of eucalyptus trees, and along the tranquil waters of Stow Lake. The park’s various attractions, such as the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers, add a touch of cultural charm to the running experience, providing opportunities for moments of reflection and admiration. With its abundance of green spaces and breathtaking views, Golden Gate Park offers runners an enchanting backdrop that makes each run a memorable and inspiring adventure.

Golden Gate Park’s extensive network of paths and trails caters to runners of all preferences. The park offers paved routes that are ideal for those seeking a smoother surface for their run and dirt trails that provide a more rustic and nature-immersed experience. The park’s vastness allows runners to choose from various distances and routes, ensuring that each run can be tailored to individual preferences and training goals. Whether a leisurely jog or a challenging long-distance run, Golden Gate Park offers a versatile and refreshing setting that appeals to runners of all abilities and desires.


Stay tuned for Part IV in our running series!