For those of you who enjoy running (probably not many of you) here is a list of places I have put my stamp of approval on.
10.) Tyler State Park, Newtown, PA. It is mostly wooded with some field scenery and water features. There are usually white-tailed deer just off the path too.
9.) Brandywine Creek State Park, Brandywine, DE. This one is beautiful. Mostly wooded as well, but the views in the meadows are AMAZING. There are also a few challenging hills.
8.) Wissahickon Park, Philadelphia, PA. Wooded, again. The trail follows a river for 7 miles. Along the river there are fun features like a small waterfall that has a huge rock at the bottom (people like to jump off of it for fun), an iron bridge over a gorge, foundations of old buildings, and a small cafe to grab a coffee or meal after the run. This park merges with Fairmount Park which will take you all the way into downtown Philly.
7.) Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC. So this one is a little different because it’s just a bridge. What this run has going for it: great hillage, spectacular views (run right before sunset so you can see the sun setting from the top), the novelty factor. If you do the bridge it is 2.5 miles one way. I usually go to one side and then back. If you do this during the summer bring sunscreen and try to do it in the morning or evening when the sun is lower in the sky.
6.) Giant’s Castle, Drakensberg in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. I know this one is kind of far away, but honestly people if the location wasn’t a factor it may be my number one. The wildlife is amazing. The views are breath taking. The best part is, you feel far away from everything in the world. It is still 100% nature. Most of the time you have to make your own trail. My heart aches to go back here.
5.) Gorges State Park, Sapphire, NC. So much fun! It’s wooded trails again, but there are some awesome waterfalls to distract you from the incline of the trails. If you get too warm, jump in the water. There are usually other people swimming so you won’t be the only one. This is a great summer run if you want a challenge.
4.) Downtown Charleston, SC. This may not be for you if you don’t like small streets or navigating through potential crowds. If you can look past these things it’s a great run. And if you want to get really crazy you can tack on the bridge (see 7) at the beginning or end of this run. This run has fun sights and zero incline which makes it fast-paced . It’s a “feel good about yourself” kinda run.
3.) Downtown Annapolis, MD. This may not seem awesome, but the downtown area is quite fun. There is also some incline here and there (yay hills!). It’s historic. It’s by the water. It has great places to eat, post run.
2.) Downtown, Singapore. So despite the fact that it’s on the other side of the world, this place is hands down one of the BEST places to run. The city is clean. The waterfront area is gorgeous. You can sight see while you run. And if you run at night the lights around the city are pretty great. Plus, they have a statue called the “Merlion” (half fish, half lion). Enough said.
1.) Table Rock State Park, Pickens, SC. This one has all the things. It has the epic factor. It has the challenge factor. It has extreme inclines, water features, boulders (“that’s a nice boulder”), amazing views at the top, shade (for summer runs), and a lake at the bottom to swim in once you finish. There are short trails, but if you want a challenge and a reward you should do the Pinnacle Mountain Trail (4.2) or Table Rock Trail (3.6 mi). WARNING: these trails are very strenuous. If you have not run consistently beforehand do not attempt to run these. Even runners who have run plenty to prepare have been injured tying to run these trails. Prepare yourself.
* Killen’s Pond State Park, Felton, DE. My home cross country course (it’s sentimental and quaint).
* Bobbio Pellice, Italy. It’s super beautiful, but I wasn’t really into running at the time, so I don’t feel like I can accurately rate it now. I think it would probably make the list if I tried it again.
* Pagosa Springs, CO. Really pretty, but I only did a 2 mile loop here, so my experience with it is limited.