Best Places to Run in Kansas City: Top Routes for Every Runner

Kansas City boasts an impressive selection of running routes that cater to various preferences and fitness levels. From serene trails and picturesque parks to the bustling downtown area, the city has something to offer for both casual joggers and seasoned athletes. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the top running spots that Kansas City has to offer, helping you find the perfect location for your next workout or leisurely stroll.

One of the most popular areas for running in Kansas City is the picturesque Country Club Plaza located about 4 miles from downtown. This area features a variety of parks, paths, and charming residential neighborhoods, making it an attractive option for runners who appreciate a scenic backdrop during their workouts.

Country Club Plaza is also home to numerous hotels, restaurants, and shops, providing plenty of post-run relaxation and entertainment options.

Another favorite among Kansas City runners is the River Market Trail, which offers a convenient location near the City market and various levels of elevation to challenge runners and vary their experience.

With many other options such as the Trolley Trail, Indian Creek Trail, and Berkley Riverfront, Kansas City provides runners with a diverse selection of locations to explore and enjoy during their running routines.

Top Scenic Running Locations

When looking for the best running locations in Kansas City, three standout spots offer beautiful and scenic routes. The ideal picks for your next outdoor run include Loose Park, Missouri Riverfront, and Trolley Trail.

Loose Park

Loose Park is a popular destination for those who enjoy running in a picturesque environment. The park covers 75 acres and features a variety of landscapes, including gardens, rolling hills, and well-maintained walkways. Runners can embark on several routes within the park, taking them past attractions such as the Laura Conyers Smith Rose Garden and various historic landmarks like the Battle of Westport’s memorial cannons.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, Loose Park also provides a peaceful atmosphere for runners, making it a top choice for many.

Missouri Riverfront

The Missouri Riverfront offers runners an opportunity to experience the stunning river views while exploring a scenic trail system. Utilizing the Riverfront Heritage Trail, runners can traverse a 15-mile loop that connects downtown Kansas City, the River Market, and the Westside neighborhood.

The well-paved path runs along the river, through parks, and over elevated walkways, creating an overall enjoyable and diverse running experience. From the riverfront, runners can admire the Kansas City skyline and glance at several iconic landmarks.

Trolley Trail

In the heart of Kansas City, the Trolley Trail is a favorite running route for residents and visitors alike. Stretching a length of 6 miles, the trail follows the historic Country Club Line that once connected Kansas City to its southern suburbs.

This urban trail offers a flat, paved surface and is lined with trees, providing runners with a comfortable and shaded environment. One of the key features of the Trolley Trail is its proximity to various attractions and amenities, such as the Country Club Plaza and the Brookside neighborhood, making it convenient for both pre-and post-run activities.

In conclusion, Kansas City offers a variety of beautiful and scenic running locations that cater to all preferences. From picturesque parks to historic trails and riverfront paths, these top scenic spots ensure an enjoyable and engaging outdoor running experience.

Running Trails in Various Neighborhoods


Running in downtown Kansas City can be enjoyable, as easy-to-navigate grid systems with wide, straight boulevards make the experience quite pleasant.

Popular spots include:

  • The Riverfront Heritage Trail, encompassing the beautiful Missouri River
  • The Country Club Plaza, a busy shopping and dining district perfect for both running and socializing


There is a variety of beautiful suburban trails throughout Kansas City, including the Line Creek Trail. This paved, 8-mile trail winds through neighborhoods and heavily wooded areas, providing runners with a chance to encounter wildlife such as deer, wild turkey, ducks, and geese.

Overland Park

Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, offers its own running experiences with the following trails:

  • Tomahawk Creek Trail, a 6.6-mile trail that meanders through parks and wooded areas
  • Indian Creek Trail, a 23-mile long trail that runs through parks, commercial areas, and neighborhoods


Olathe, another Kansas City suburb, is home to the scenic Gary L. Haller Trail, a 17-mile trail. This trail is perfect for long runs surrounded by the serene wooded landscape and the Little Mill Creek.


Kansas City offers numerous park trails ideal for running, such as:

  • The Parkville Nature Sanctuary, offering miles of trail systems in a natural setting source
  • Wyandotte County Lake Park, which takes runners on a steeper climb through oak-hickory woodlands and along a ravine, starting on the old Katie Trail and then joining the White Tail trail source


Some dedicated running paths in Kansas City include:

  • Trolley Track Trail: A 6-mile gravel path on a former trolley line that runs through several Kansas City neighborhoods
  • Brush Creek Pathway, which follows the creek through parks and residential areas


Lawrence, located approximately 41 miles west of Kansas City, is home to various running trails. The popular Clinton State Park Trail System offers a mix of gravel, dirt, and single-track trails through forests, fields, and along the shoreline of Clinton Lake.

Well-Maintained Tracks and Parks

Kansas City offers some great running spots for those looking for well-maintained tracks and parks. In this section, we will explore two popular destinations: Blue River Parkway and Heritage Park.

Blue River Parkway

Blue River Parkway is an excellent location for runners seeking a well-maintained trail that offers varied terrain and stunning natural surroundings. The parkway features a 10.5-mile trail that is paved, making it suitable for beginners and experienced runners alike. The scenery is diverse, passing through wooded areas, grasslands, and alongside the Blue River, giving runners the opportunity to enjoy different views throughout their run.

The trail is also accommodating for those who prefer a more structured workout. It includes hills and flat sections, allowing runners to incorporate a variety of training elements into their sessions such as:

  • Hill sprints
  • Interval training
  • Tempo runs

Moreover, the pathway is wide, providing ample space for runners to share the trail with walkers, cyclists, and other users without feeling overcrowded.

Heritage Park

Heritage Park is another top choice for runners in Kansas City, featuring well-maintained tracks and picturesque surroundings. The park spans over 1,200 acres, providing plenty of space to explore and enjoy a scenic run. Among the various options for runners, the park’s 4.3-mile paved trail is the highlight, which circles a 40-acre lake.

Not only is the trail visually appealing, but it also offers amenities that cater to runners, including:

  • Restroom facilities
  • Water fountains
  • Park benches

These conveniences make it an ideal location for runners to engage in long runs and training sessions. In addition, Heritage Park features multiple sports fields, such as soccer and softball fields, which can be used for additional fitness activities or cool-down/stretching sessions after a run.

In summary, both Blue River Parkway and Heritage Park are great locations for runners in Kansas City who are seeking well-maintained tracks and parks. Each location offers its unique mix of features and amenities that cater to a wide range of running abilities and preferences.

Running by Skill Level and Surface

Flat Trails

Kansas City offers numerous flat trails that cater to various skill levels of runners. One such trail is the Rock Island Rail Corridor Shared Use Path, a 13-mile, lightly trafficked out-and-back course near Kansas City, Missouri. This trail is known for its sightings of wildlife and is suitable for all skill levels.

Another flat trail perfect for runners is the River Market Trail. It’s popular for its close proximity to the City market, providing a pleasant and convenient running experience for locals.

Paved Trails

For runners who prefer a paved surface, Kansas City offers options such as Penn Valley Park and Mill Creek Park. Both parks feature hard surfaces for those who want to avoid running on gravel or dirt tracks, making them popular destinations.

Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza, about 4 miles from downtown, offers the opportunity to run amid parks, paths, and beautiful residential areas, while also enjoying the nearby hotels, restaurants, shops, and galleries.

Seasonal Running Tips

Kansas City offers various running locations, but it’s essential to consider seasonal factors to ensure a safe and enjoyable running experience. This section provides tips for summer and winter running in Kansas City, Missouri.

Summer Running

During the summer months, Kansas City can get quite hot and humid. To make your running experience more comfortable, consider the following tips:

  • Run early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Stay hydrated by bringing water or a sports drink, especially on longer runs.
  • Dress appropriately, wearing light, moisture-wicking clothing and a hat or visor to protect your face from the sun.
  • Apply sunscreen to exposed skin to prevent sunburn.

One option for a summer run in Kansas City is the shaded Loose Park, which offers a padded pavement loop that is kinder on the knees.

Winter Running

Kansas City winters can be cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below -15°C (5°F) from December to February. To make your winter runs safe and enjoyable, consider these tips:

  • Dress in layers to protect against the cold while allowing for easy adjustments in case you start to overheat.
  • Be cautious of icy surfaces – consider investing in traction aids, such as slip-on shoe grips for additional safety.
  • Warm up indoors before your run to prevent injury and improve circulation in cold weather.
  • Adjust your pace and expectations – winter runs may be slower than your average pace.

For winter running in Kansas City, consider locations with appropriate lighting, as it gets darker earlier. Penn Valley ark is one such location that may have electric lighting facilities for early morning or evening runs.

Remember to take seasonal conditions into account and choose suitable locations to enhance your Kansas City running experience.

Local Running Resources

Kansas City, Missouri, offers a variety of resources for runners seeking local knowledge and communities. This section will provide information on local runner groups and communities in and around Kansas City.

Local Runner Groups

There are numerous running groups in Kansas City that cater to different skill levels and preferences. These groups provide a supportive environment where individuals can meet fellow runners and explore various running routes throughout the city. Joining a local running group can be an excellent way to stay motivated, challenge yourself, and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for running.

Some popular running groups in Kansas City include:

  • Kansas City Track Club: This club offers training programs, fun runs, and social events for runners of all levels. Joining the club is a great way to meet new people and get involved in the local running community.
  • KC Runners: This group focuses on organizing group runs and events throughout the Kansas City area. They cater to runners of all experience levels and encourage their members to support local businesses.

Local Running Communities

In addition to running groups, there are various online forums and social media platforms where runners can connect, share their experiences, and receive advice on the best places to run in Kansas City. These communities are valuable resources for runners looking to stay informed on upcoming races, trail conditions, and local running knowledge.

Some local running communities include:

  • The Kansas City Running Facebook group: This group is dedicated to discussing running tips, events, and routes in the Kansas City area. It also serves as a platform for runners to share their accomplishments and provide encouragement to fellow members.
  • AllTrails: This platform offers user-generated information on trail running options in Kansas City, complete with reviews, difficulty ratings, and distance information. Visit AllTrails to explore various trail running options in the city.

Remember to keep these resources in mind when searching for running routes, groups, or communities in Kansas City, Missouri. Connecting with local knowledge and fellow runners can greatly enhance your experience and help you make the most of your time in this vibrant city.

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