Outdoors Running

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Running though park Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Philadelphia is one of the best cities for both urban and natural trails.

August 15, 2017

Four outdoor running routes in Philly you have to try

The benefits of running are remarkable. Not only does it help you stay physically fit; it can also improve your mental health. Running can strengthen your memory, reduce stress and anxiety, improve your ability to learn and retain information, and even raise your self-esteem.

Philadelphia is one of the best cities for both urban and natural trails. Here’s four running spots you have to try:

Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon Valley Park offers scenic views and over 50 miles of breathtaking trails, providing the perfect place to escape city life and be in nature. Clocking in at just over 5 miles, Forbidden Drive is a favorite trail for runners in Wissahickon, with flat ground and gravel making running easier. The Orange Trail (5.64 miles), White Trail (4.39 miles), and Yellow Trail (7.89 miles) provide challenges for more experienced runners, as there are places in these trails that are steep and difficult to navigate. Wissahickon Valley Park is a great, diverse place for runners, but be prepared to share the trails with hikers, cyclists, and even horseback riders.

Bartram’s Mile

Connected to the Schuylkill River Trail in Southwest Philly, Bartram’s Mile opened in April of this year. With beautiful views of the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia skyline, this new 1.1 mile trail offers easy access to The Circuit Trails and Bartram’s Garden. The pathways through the historic 8-acre garden are perfect for running; however, please be mindful of other visitors, as Bartram’s is typically for more leisurely exploration.

Kelly Drive Loop

The Kelly Drive Loop is an 8.5-mile trail that begins and ends at the Philadelphia Art Museum. This urban trail offers gorgeous views of Center City, the Schuylkill River, the Art Museum, and Boathouse Row. The Loop can have high traffic, especially during mornings, evenings, and weekends, but from April to October, the 4-mile stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is closed to vehicular traffic on weekends, allowing runners to have full and safe access to the road. End your Loop run like a champion by running up the Art Museum stairs — you can even give the Rocky statue a high five.

Delaware River Trail

This 4.5-mile trail that provides runners with unmatched views of the Delaware River, New Jersey, and the Ben Franklin Bridge. If you’d like to add more distance, run across the Ben Franklin Bridge into Camden, NJ to extend your run to 7.5 miles. Along this trail are awesome landmarks such as the Washington Avenue Pier, The Moshulu, Penn’s Landing, and Penn Treaty Park. If planned correctly, you can end your run at Spruce Street Harbor Park, where May-October you can grab a drink and a spot in a hammock near the water. Want to keep exercising? Crosstrain by lacing on some roller skates and having fun at the outdoor Blue Cross RiverRink.

In the City of Brotherly Love, you don’t have to run alone. Visit Run 215 to find a weekly group run near you.