Which means running is making a comeback.
All you need is a pair of shoes and some distance from your fellow striders. To help you get started, we've assembled a guide to (mostly) flat courses and all-levels trails that offer awesome views of the canal, different lakes, and more.
Murphy Bridle PathIf you want to feel closer to a city setting when you run and avoid the classic park trail, the Murphy Bridle Path might be ideal for you. The unpaved track starts at the intersection of Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road and runs 2.5 miles north, ending at the Arizona Canal. Enjoy the shade of olive and mesquite trees as you pass by residential neighborhoods.
Indian Bend Wash GreenbeltAvoid proximity to traffic by running along the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt. Since 1984, the greenbelt has been open for biking, running, and walking. The 11-mile multiuse trail runs north to south and was created as part of a flooding hazard project. Besides controlling part of the Valley’s seasonal floods, the greenbelt offers recreational activities and crosses golf courses, lakes, and parks, including Chaparral, El Dorado, and Indian School. The paved path begins at Shea Boulevard and ends at Tempe Town Lake, but the trail has several access points. (Here's a map for reference.) For more information, visit the city of Scottsdale website.
Steele Indian School ParkThe 75-acre historic park is located on the site of the former Phoenix Indian High School. The park was officially open in 2001 and it has a 2.5-mile trail for runners and walkers. (Here's the trail map.) Other park features include a dog park, ramadas, an outdoor amphitheater, memorial hall, entry garden, and bird lake. The park is located at Third Street and Indian School Road. For more information, visit the park's website.
Arizona Canal PathThe Arizona Canal Path is the longest trail in the Valley. The multiuse trail follows the Arizona Canal and goes through suburbs, parks, and different neighborhoods. With paved and unpaved pathways, it connects with several other trails, including the Indian Bend Wash Trail, Pima Road Trail, and Cave Creek Wash Trail. You can run just one part of the path, or challenge yourself to take on the whole 25 miles.
Chaparral ParkLocated at 5401 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale's Chaparral Park is a 100-acre area with a 10-acre lake. Besides being a great place to run, the park offers soccer and baseball fields, playgrounds, fishing and boating, and connects with the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt. For more information, visit the city of Scottsdale website.
Rose Mofford ParkPhoenix's Rose Mofford Park is a great place to start and achieve your running goals. Jog along softball fields and tennis courts, and if you want to go a little farther, you can connect your jogging to the Arizona Canal Path. The park is located at 9833 North 25th Avenue. For more information, visit the city of Phoenix website.
Kiwanis ParkThis 125-acre park has more than seven miles of trails, making it the perfect place to train for any running race you might have in the future. You can run along the 0.73-mile lake or head to the Western Canal Path that connects with the park. Other features include soccer fields, recreation center, picnic areas, playgrounds, and more, all located at 5500 South Mill Avenue in Tempe.
Rio Vista Community ParkJog along an urban lake and the 32,000-square-foot concrete skate court at Rio Vista Park in Peoria. The 52-acre park is the host of many foot races. You can either run along the New River Trail System or around the park located at, 8866 West Thunderbird Road. For more information, visit the park’s website.
Tempe Town LakeTempe Town Lake is not only a great place to jog, it’s also an excellent place for concerts and festivals. The lake has two 2.5-mile scenic trails connected with pedestrian bridges along the way. The multiuse concrete paths are open from 5 a.m. to midnight. The north running trail also connects with the Indian Bend Wash Trail and Papago Park. The lake is located at 620 North Mill Avenue in Tempe. You can see the map here. For more information visit Tempe Government’s website.
Papago ParkIf you are looking for something more intermediate, Papago Park may be the place for you. The desert park is operated by the city of Phoenix (1,200 acres) and Tempe (296 acres) and it has five different trails. Along the paths, you can admire the saguaro cactus, hike the Hole-in-the-Rock, and get to see the pyramidal tomb of Arizona’s first governor, George W.P. Hunt. The four-mile West Park Loop Trail is for more expert runners. The park is situated at 625 North Galvin Parkway. Parking areas close at sunset. You can see the map here.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.