You’re racking up mileage. Training for the next big race—or maybe looking to qualify for Boston at the Phoenix Marathon. Sure, there are dozens of great places for a quick run in Phoenix, but what about when you need to go the distance?
We got you. You’ll find long runners pounding the pavement (or dirt) at the following great parks and trails every morning. Be sure to give a friendly wave as you pass—you’ll most likely be sitting next to them at the restaurant for your post-run refueling.
Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt
Who says the desert isn’t green? Along the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt (green’s even in the name) runners can race past parks, lakes, and golf courses. The belt stretches 11 miles of paved straightaway and the grade-crossings are perfect for keeping pace — meaning no traffic stops!
Tempe Town Lake
At Tempe Town Lake, you can ditch all the gear! Along the paved five–seven- mile loop next to cool, scenic Tempe Town Lake, runners have access to multiple water fountains and bathroom stops along the way. That’s great for those who don’t want to carry a bunch of water or who need frequent pit stops. Because let’s face it — we all could use that kind of security on our run!
Murphy’s Bridle Path
The Murphy’s Bridle Path is a popular spot for all levels of runners seeking shade during long runs in the desert heat. The Bridle Path stretches along Central Ave. and will take you right by Spoke & Wheel Tavern, perfect for a recovery brunch. Bonus: The Bridle Path connects with the canal if you need to log a few (or a lot) more miles.
Pancake flat and hundreds of miles at your disposal, the Phoenix Canals are packed daily with runners logging double-digit miles. Each canal has easy access from no matter where you might live in the Valley. The dozens of local restaurants and bars sitting along the route are also a huge draw for your post-run meal and brew!
Test your endurance with the extreme climb to the top of Dobbins Tower at South Mountain Park. Enter on the main entrance off Central Ave., park in the main lot, and be sure to pack some water. This approximately 15-mile paved route is a tough challenge, but the scenic views stretched out before you when you reach the top are worth the burning quads! Looking to go off road for your long run? Head over to the other side of South Mountain for Pima Canyon trailhead and miles and miles of well groomed (but technical) trails at your disposal.
Run among the citrus trees in the city’s beautiful Arcadia neighborhood. Follow the bike path next to the canal to avoid traffic and take a running tour through the area’s popular bars, restaurants, shops, and cafes. Need a pit stop? Many of these cafes (and even running stores!) are used to sweaty runners coming in and out.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
A popular spot for the long runner, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in North Scottsdale has some of the most unique views around. Real trains, museums, and even old-fashioned ice cream shops (best to save that for after). It’s an easy to add miles here too—–just hop on the connecting Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt. Finish with a post-run breakfast at any of the variety of cafes and brunch spots just across the street.
Take your run to greener pastures! Kiwanis Park features an Instagram-worthy backdrop to change up your everyday long run. Palm trees, green grass, ducks—take it all in with a loop around the beautiful blue lake. There are even restrooms for those runners who like a little extra… security (it’s a big deal, guys!). Training for a triathlon? Swing by the Kiwanis Park Recreation Center for your swim workout too!
Rio Vista Community Park
In Phoenix, we runners love to run by a lake (as seen above). It makes us forget we’re in the desert — briefly, anyway. At Rio Vista Community Park, take your run along the urban lake, the New River Trail System, or around the 52-acre park. Fitt tip: many local races are hosted here, so you’ll get lots of practice for race day!