By Tori Linville
When scouting for a good place to run, there’s always that checklist that comes to mind. Everyone wants something that appeals to them while their nose is to the grindstone. Check out why these spots are the ideal running trails for some exercise.
While the University and downtown Tuscaloosa offer scenic routes all their own, a change of venue can be found in Sokol Park. Designed with runners in mind, Sokol Park has many well kept trails that are perfect for setting your own pace. The park’s main trail is around 4 miles, with trail loops that can provide an extension to a run. Tuscaloosa business Wagner’s Run Walk hosts a group run Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. with free water and merchandise.
UA Arboretum and Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Areas
This rarely mentioned area offers three scenic and different options for runners. The VA itself has paved a trail around its grounds for an estimated 2 miles of track. Arrows serve as guides and hills are short and sweet. Neighboring the VA is the UA Arboretum, home to the UA Cross Country Course and a dirt road that can also serve as a running track. The cross country course has a marked loop as well as a grass fairway with yellow arrows as guides. The dirt road serves as rocky mile-long stretch that runs from one end of the arboretum to the other.
Information taken from wagnersrunwalk.com.
With an organized running community, Birmingham boasts many different routes and trails to explore. Here just two of many to choose from. Visit birminghamtrackclub.com to get involved with other runners in the community.
Red Mountain Park
Red Mountain Park provides great trail run material for any runner. Stretching for 12 miles, the trails at Red Mountain Park offer a special variety singular to the park. It has more than 10 interconnecting trails that provide hills, rocky terrain and more. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and has many stops along the trails for rest or short breaks. To get a more detailed look, visit redmountainpark.org.
Oak Mountain State Park
Providing yet another range of scenery for runners, Oak Mountain State Park has a collective of more than 50 miles of trails to explore. Though some trails are specific to horseback riding and biking, there’s still room enough for everyone. Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., the park’s five hiking trails are labeled by color and marked accordingly. To find out more information about the trails and running opportunities within the park, visit alaprk.com/oak-mountain-state-park-hiking-trails.
The appeal here is obvious – who wouldn’t want the beach by their side for a run? The sand is another bonus, lowering the impact the run has on a runner’s joints. Opposite from the ocean are architectural feats connected by pedestrian boardwalks, such as shops and residences. With the ocean wind as motivation, Rosemary Beach offers a breathtaking 107 acre view.
Deer Lake State Park
Offering a quieter backdrop for a runner’s escape, South Walton’s “best kept secret” provides all of the scenery with less than half of the noise. The beach in Deer Lake State Park is undisturbed and gives an alternate to the sandy paths throughout the area. The half-mile Blue Trail borders Deer Lake and is perfect for a short run with plenty of wildlife to see. To see what else Deer Lake State Park has to offer, visit floridastateparks.org/park/Deer-Lake.