St. Louis, Missouri, offers a diverse range of picturesque running routes for those who enjoy staying active and exploring the city’s beautiful surroundings.
Whether one is a casual jogger or a committed marathon runner, there is an abundance of scenic locations to satisfy every fitness level and preference.
From historic landmarks to sprawling parks, St. Louis certainly has something for everyone eager to lace up their running shoes.
Popular running routes include the downtown area, which offers a majestic backdrop of the iconic Gateway Arch along with Jefferson Park and the Eads Bridge.
Runners can enjoy panoramic riverfront views along the multi-mile Riverfront Trail, complete with picturesque bridge crossings. Those seeking a more nature-immersive experience can explore the Ulysses S. Grant Trail, which meanders through various parts of south and southwest St. Louis County, providing a serene and tranquil environment that is perfect for jogging, walking, or even cross-country skiing.
Furthermore, St. Louis boasts several unique running trails scattered throughout the metropolitan area, catering to runners who appreciate diverse terrains and settings. With so many options available, one can easily find a route that suits their individual preferences while enjoying the natural beauty of St. Louis and staying in top shape.
Top Running Locations in St. Louis
Forest Park is a popular location for running in St. Louis, offering runners a variety of scenic trails, while also being home to attractions such as the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Zoo.
The park has multiple options for distances and routes, catering to various fitness levels. Nature lovers will enjoy the views, water features, and even occasional wildlife sightings such as deer.
- Terrain: Mixed, including paved paths and natural surfaces
- Features: Scenic trails, water features, and wildlife
The Mississippi Greenway offers a fantastic running experience along the Mississippi River, with beautiful views and a variety of trails.
The Greenway runs for several miles, providing options for both leisurely and competitive runners to tailor their experience according to their preferences. The riverfront paths and bridge crossings make for stunning scenery and a unique workout.
- Terrain: Paved and gravel paths
- Features: Mississippi River views, bridge crossings, and historical sites
Queeny Park is a favorite spot for trail running in St. Louis. The park provides a mix of natural surfaces and hilly terrains, which offer both challenges and opportunities for different workouts. Runners can immerse themselves in nature and escape the city while enjoying the peaceful beauty of Queeny Park.
- Terrain: Natural surfaces, including dirt, grass, and forest trails
- Features: Hilly landscapes, woodland settings, and wildlife
Located at Forest Park, Jefferson Lake offers a calming environment for runners seeking a quieter place to complete their daily miles. The lake attracts a variety of wildlife and provides a peaceful setting for contemplative runs. The lakeside loop is perfect for those who enjoy being close to water and observing the activities of the community around them.
- Terrain: Paved paths
- Features: Lake views, wildlife sightings, and community interactions
Incorporating these different running spots into a routine will provide a well-rounded experience for any runner in St. Louis. With a combination of cityscapes, waterfront views, and natural environments, there is something for everyone to enjoy and maintain an active lifestyle.
Trail Specifics and Attractions
Trail Distances and Surfaces
The St. Louis area offers a variety of trail options for runners to choose from with various distances and surfaces. Some popular trails worth considering for trail running include:
- Forest Park, which offers a mix of paved and gravel paths ideal for all skill levels. The park is easy to navigate and a great place to explore.
- Mississippi Greenway at Cliff Cave Park, where you’ll find an easy-to-follow 1.4-mile trail that traverses the beautiful woodlands and wetlands along the Mississippi River.
- Queeny Park, a popular choice for trail runners of all levels, offering well-maintained natural surface trails that cut through dense forests and run alongside creeks.
Points of Interest Along the Trails
Running along these trails in St. Louis not only provides excellent exercise opportunities but also a chance to discover some interesting attractions. Forest Park serves as an excellent example, being home to several points of interest such as:
- Jefferson Lake
- McDonnell Planetarium
- Missouri History Museum
- Forest Park Golf Course
- St. Louis Zoo
The Mississippi Greenway at Cliff Cave Park also provides stunning views of the river from its rocky bluffs, making it a great spot for picturesque runs.
Wildlife and Nature Encounters
The diverse natural environments surrounding these running trails offer ample opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy nature’s beauty.
Forest Park and Queeny Park are well-known for their dense forests, where you may encounter deer or various bird species. The Mississippi Greenway, on the other hand, features a rich wetland ecosystem, supporting a wide range of flora and fauna.
Running Events and Competitions
St. Louis offers a variety of running events and competitions for runners of all levels. These events not only challenge participants but also promote camaraderie and a sense of community among the runners.
Popular Races in St. Louis
- Make Tracks Through The Zoo: This annual event features a 1-mile, 5K, and a 0.5-mile kids’ crawl. It takes place at the St. Louis Zoo and attracts participants from all age groups.
- Millstadt Tin Man Half Marathon and 5K Run: Held in Millstadt, IL, this event includes both a half marathon and a 5K run. It is popular among local runners and visitors alike.
Military and Community Runs
St. Louis is home to a variety of military and community runs that promote physical fitness, encourage teamwork, and support local charities.
These events cater to various running levels and often have a strong emphasis on camaraderie and community engagement.
- Virtual Run Events: These events, hosted by ACTIVE, include various distances such has 5K, 10K, 1-mile, half marathon, and marathon. The virtual run format allows military personnel and community members to participate in the events from any location.
- Thirsty Thursday Pub Run: This fun and lively event, taking place in Defiance, MO, combines running and socializing. The 5K race is followed by a gathering at a local pub, allowing participants to strengthen community bonds and enjoy themselves after the race.
These running events in St. Louis offer diverse opportunities for runners of all abilities to challenge themselves, connect with fellow runners, and contribute to their community.
Safety Tips and Recommendations
Running Alone or in Groups
When running near St. Louis, there are several options depending on personal preferences. For those who prefer to run alone, it’s important to choose safe trails and neighborhoods, such as Princeton Heights and Clifton Heights.
On the other hand, running in groups can offer a sense of camaraderie and increase overall safety. Joining a local running community or group may help facilitate group runs and provide additional motivation.
Pet-Friendly and Kid-Friendly Trails
When looking for places to run with pets or children near St. Louis, consider parks and paths that cater to families and pet owners.
Forest Park, for instance, offers safe paths for runners, walkers, families, and pets to enjoy. There are six unique running trails in St. Louis with different surfaces, distances, and scenery that can accommodate various preferences and abilities.
Proper Trail Etiquette
When enjoying the running trails in and around St. Louis, it’s essential to follow proper trail etiquette. Some recommendations include:
- Stay on marked paths to protect local flora and fauna.
- Keep right on the trail when approaching other people, allowing faster runners or cyclists to pass on the left.
- If running with pets, keep them on a leash and pick up after them.
- Be aware of your surroundings and practice situational awareness, especially when running solo.
- Respect the privacy of fellow trail users by not playing loud music or making excessive noise.
- When stopping for a break or to enjoy the scenery, step off the trail to avoid blocking the path for others.
By adhering to these safety tips and recommendations, runners can enjoy the best of St. Louis’ diverse and scenic trails while ensuring a pleasant experience for all.