7 Running Trails in Richmond
Whether you’re a novice runner or looking to go the extra mile, Richmond has plenty of running trails to try out. From smooth, concrete pavements to hilly, challenging trails, there's enough variety to revitalize your running routine daily. Lace up your sneakers and try taking on the Richmond running trails below.
James River Park Trails
The 550-acre James River Park includes eight trails that encompass 22 miles. The difficulty varies depending on the trail you choose. Pony Pasture, for example, is a 3-mile trail constructed from gravel. Since the area is wide and flat, it's great for novice runners. Due to its popularity, you’ll find walkers, bikers, and everyone in between on Pony Pasture.
The North Bank Trail, on the other hand, is rocky and has areas where the elevation steeply rises. It's better suited for runners looking for a challenge. But those who are up to the test will enjoy an Instagram-worthy panoramic view of the James River.
Virginia Capital Trail
Virginia Capital Trail is a 51.7-mile paved trail that stretches from Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom to Williamsburg’s James City County; 1.3 miles of that trail lies within Richmond. The trails are multi-use and open to everyone regardless of their goals. If you're a distance runner, you should add the Virginia Capital Trail to your to-run list. You can park right next to the trail in Richmond’s Great Shiplock Park and easily get to the path from there. There are also bathrooms, bike repair centers, and camping sites along the way.
If you’re looking for a new 5K to add to your schedule, Virginia Capital Trail hosts a yearly 5K to fund the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.
Runners looking for a scenic city run should look no further than the Canal Walk. It’s a 1.25 mile stretch of moderately flat, paved concrete. On your run, you will see historic markers, murals, and Richmond’s lively Riverfront. If you're more of a distance runner, Canal Walk connects to many other popular paths in Richmond. They include the North Bank Trail, the Buttermilk Trail, and Belle Isle. Nearby lamps illuminate Canal Walk’s sidewalks making for a safe night run.
Chimborazo City Park
Home to the Chimborazo Medical Museum, this trail clocks in at just under a mile. It's a flat, paved, trail all skill types can knock out of the park. The park is home to a few historic monuments you can check out during your run (the most peculiar one, by far, is a miniature Statue of Liberty.) The park has moderate traffic throughout the day but can easily be maneuvered around due to how wide the path is. You may come to do a couple of laps at the trail, but you will stay for the postcard-ready view of Richmond located at the edge of the park.
Most know Maymont Park for its many farm animals and gorgeous gardens. But it's also home to a 2.7-mile paved trail. The park doesn’t allow bikes, roller skates, or skateboards. This means that there's less for runners to look out for, but since Maymont Park is so popular, it has a lot of foot traffic, especially during the fall, spring, and summer.
During your run, you’ll encounter Maymont’s Japanese garden as well as a waterfall. But be forewarned: Maymont Park’s trail has its fair share of hills. The beginning of your run may feel like a breezy, easy jog, but by the end, it'll feel like a rough cardio session. Pack as many water bottles you can carry, as water fountains are few and far between throughout the park.
Don’t have enough time to go on a long, arduous run? Hit up Byrd Park, a low-traffic area that includes a mile-long, flat path that’s easy for all skill types. If you want to level up, though, you can take advantage of the exercise equipment along the path. There are also a few smaller trails that circle the park’s three lakes: Swan Lake, Shields Lake, and Fountain Lake. Swan Lake, in particular, is home to a ton of geese that will probably grab your attention as you run by.
Cary Street Running Trail
If you're more of a city runner, Carytown is the right place for you. Home of the Carytown 10K, this neighborhood is filled with flat, concrete sidewalks as far as the eye can see and large, historic homes to look at along the way. The sidewalk loop from Cary Street, to Grove Avenue, past Malvern Avenue, and back is about 6 miles long. As Cary Street runs through Carytown's popular shopping district, you may have to deal with a lot of foot traffic depending on the time of day. I would recommend taking this run early in the morning to minimize the number of people and cars you'll have to maneuver through.