Best Places to Run in Phoenix

One of my favorite things about the Phoenix area is the variety of outdoor recreational opportunities within the city limits.

Many other major cities throughout the country feel congested, and you often have to drive 20 minutes or so to find good places to run.

As big as Phoenix is, it feels like a much smaller city since it is designed so well, with numerous running paths and trails nearby.

Top Places to Run in Phoenix

1. Arizona Canal System

Trails: 38 Miles Long

The numerous routes on the Arizona Canal system are my favorite places to run in the Phoenix area.  

The Arizona Canal system runs throughout the Phoenix metro area and is bordered by a running/biking path that the locals take care of. 

The running path is covered in light gravel, giving the path a soft running surface that is easy on your joints. 

My favorite place to run on the canal is on path that is parallel to Indian School Road and runs through Arcadia called the Grand Canal. There are a variety of parking spots along Indian School road that make this path very accessible. 

The beauty of the canal system is as a runner or a biker, you can easily hop from one canal to the next by running through well-paved sidestreets. 

The Grand Canal runs through Scottsdale and merges with the Scottsdale Greenbelt and is my go-to route for long runs or bike rides.

2. Murphy Bridal Path

Distance: 5 Miles

One downside of running in Phoenix is there aren’t many options for shade. 

The Bridal Path is one of the only running paths in town that offers consistent shade throughout the run, which is why it is near the top of the list for me.

The Bridal Path runs along Central Avenue and is covered in the shade from the trees that align with the beautiful homes on this street. 

The trail begins at Bethany Home Road and Central Avenue and runs north past Northern Avenue. You can access the Arizona Canal system from the Bridal path past Northern and next to Orchard Lane if you want to get some additional mileage in.

If you want a change of scenery from the typical desert landscapes that the Phoenix area offers, check out the Bridal path, and you won’t be disappointed!

3. Indian Belt Greenbelt Path (Scottsdale)

Distance: 11 Miles

The Indian Wash Greenbelt is another hidden gem that makes for an incredible running path. 

The Greenbelt path is covered in grass on both sides and is an 11-mile path that runs through parks, lakes, and numerous restaurants to stop off and grab a bite to eat.

My go-to parking spot is at Mountain View Park, where plenty of parking is available, and you can easily hop onto the Greenbelt path. The Greenbelt path connects to the Arizona Canal system right at the intersection of Hayden and Indian Bend road, so you have multiple options of where to take your run or bike ride on this path!

4. Reach 11

Distance: 6.4 Miles 

If you prefer more of a trail run than running on concrete, the Reach 11 trail path is a great option to check out. 

There are numerous places to access the trail, and it runs from Scottsdale Road up to Cave Creek Road. 

I typically like to access this path from Tatum Blvd and run to the West up to Cave Creek Road. The area is filled with trees, providing a nice scenery change.

The path is mostly gravel and dirt and makes for a soft running surface. This path is also a great place to ride a bike since there isn’t a risk of car traffic, and it isn’t as heavily populated as other running paths throughout Phoenix.

5. Chaparral Park

Distance: 2.1 Mile Loop

Chaparral Park is a beautiful park in South Scottsdale, and there is a great running loop that circles the lake and nearby softball fields that is perfect for running. 

There is always plenty of available parking at the park or nearby softball fields. Additionally, the lake is beautiful, and there are always plenty of ducks and people fishing in the lake which makes for great people-watching as you are on your run.

The running path is paved throughout, and a few hills present a nice change of pace to the loop on the east side of the route. A bonus after your run is there is a great dog park at the park that is always packed with dogs and has always provided some great entertainment!

6. Tempe Town Lake

Distance: 7.5 Miles

The Tempe Town Lake area has blown up recently, with corporations and Arizona State University investing heavily.

One bonus of all that attention is Tempe Town lake’s running path has seen some significant improvements in the last 10 years. The running path runs along both the north and south side of the lake and makes for a great run to take in the sights of the beautiful lake and university nearby. 

I recently did this run and ran down to the West end of the lake and then circled back around on the north side of the lake and had a blast. You can park at nearby parking garages near downtown Tempe, find free parking in nearby neighborhoods, and jog a couple of blocks to the running path.

7. Kiwanis Park

Distance: 1Mile

Kiwanis Park is also in Tempe and is a shorter loop at only about 1 mile long but it is a great place to get a run in. 

The running path around the park is right on the water, making for some incredible scenery and a lightly trafficked running path.

I typically run 3-4 laps around the lake, providing a great workout. There are even paddleboats for rent at the lake and plenty of shade and playground equipment for a family picnic.

8. Valley Path

Distance: 8 Miles

If you live near Highway 51 in Phoenix, you may not notice a great running option that runs right along the highway. The Valley Path runs north and south along the 51 for a nice 8-mile stretch. 

The path is accessible near Cactus and Tatum and runs north up past Greenway, where it connects with the Reach 11 Greenbelt.

If you want different types of running terrain on the Valley Path, cutting down to the Reach 11 trail or vice versa is a good option.

9. El Dorado Path

Distance: 1.3 Miles

El Dorado Path is near Old Town Scottsdale and is very similar to the running path at Chaparral Lake or Kiwanis Park. 

The running path loops around the lake, and if you want to run further, the path is near canal access or even over to Chaparral Park.

El Dorado park is a popular park for soccer and softball so this path may be slightly more crowded depending on what time of day

10. Paseo Pathway

Distance: 9 Miles

If you want to get out of the city limits and stay within a short drive, Paseo Pathway is an excellent option up near Cave Creek.

This pathway has some nice elevation gain incorporated into it and extends 9 miles east and West. Many trail runners frequent trails around Piestawa Peak or Camelback Mountain, so less-known trails like Paseo Pathway are less crowded.

Final Word

Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and is a great running city.

Numerous running communities welcome newbies and have various race options throughout the year.

I hope this list gives you some good ideas of nearby trails to get after it! 

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