15 Best Running Trails In Richmond VA You Can Visit Today

15 Best Running Trails In Richmond Va You Can Visit Today

Are you a running enthusiast visiting Richmond, Virginia, or a local looking to explore new running routes? Look no further!

Richmond is a vibrant city with many scenic running spots for all fitness levels.

In this article, we’ve curated a list of the best running trails in Richmond that you can visit today.

These running routes showcase the city’s natural beauty, cultural landmarks, and diverse landscapes. Let’s get into it!

1. James River Waterfront Park

More than 550 acres of Richmond waterfront make up the James River Park System, which offers miles of picturesque running on primarily gravel routes with alternatives for water views, shade, and woodlands.

There are various routes you can take throughout this park with loops and trails that lead you to somewhere new. 

The most popular is the 5+ mile loop that features the Belle Isle and runs under the Robert E. Lee Bridge. 

Whether you walk or run, this park is full of hidden wonders.

  • Richmond is a historical place and is the capital of Virginia.
  • It was founded in the early 1700s and is one of the oldest cities in America, offering the wonderful James River and incredible views.
  • For the people of Richmond and visitors alike, running is a great way to understand the history of the city.
  • With all the running routes in Richmond, you can access to places you would never find driving to work.

2. Pocahontas State Park

Pocahontas, we are all much aware, was a vital part of the colonization within Jamestown, Virginia.

Therefore, it is only right that there is a park named in her honor. 

Located just outside Richmond, Pocahontas State Park has over 60 miles of trails. 

There is something for every runner, but among the favorites are the 2.5-mile intermediate loop around Beaver Lake and the 4.8-mile, hilly Old Mill Bike Path.

Remember to give way to horses since equestrians frequently visit the park.

3. Monument Avenue 

Monument Avenue is one of the most popular running trails in Richmond.

On this run, you can soak in the history of Richmond and discover an interesting journey of the city and state of Virginia. 

It begins at the Robert E. Lee memorial and follows through the streets and leads back to the Historic District taking you on a 3-mile run. 

If history is not enough to keep you entertained, there are plenty of houses and other sights to be seen on the way. 

4. University Of Richmond

The University of Richmond is one of the most gorgeous campuses in the state and offers a relaxing yet visually appealing run. 

The Blue, Red, and Gold campus trail loops can be combined to create a lovely 1 mile round around the university.

The Red track through the woods beside the creek offers some slightly trickier terrain even though most of the paths are paved.

You can keep your run across campus short and sweet or extend it by connecting to Cary Street or Grove Avenue. 

5. Virginia Capital “Cap” Trail 

The Virginia Capital Trail, which is more than 50 miles long, is the finest option for runners looking to train for long distances.

From Richmond to Williamsburg, this paved multi-use path runs roughly southeast along the river/Route 5 corridor.

This is the perfect trail for anyone looking to get a good run-in. Whether you want to work up a quick sweat, build endurance, or train for that marathon. 

A few miles along the river and a few miles of open farmland make up the terrain.

Along the road, there are various historical sites and markers. Every mile has a mile marker.

6. Bryan Park

Bryan Park is a historical sight in Richmond as it was the location of Gabriel’s Rebellion slave insurrection.

Now, it is covered in lush green grass and is inhabited by various wildlife. It is a great place to run in Richmond!

You can choose any style of run here because there are miles of paved and off-road routes.

A 3.4-mile paved loop circles ponds, a woodland, azalea gardens, and sports fields.

You can extend your run by taking the singletrack road by Jordans Branch. Only if you are feeling up to it. 

7. Canal Walk

Canal Walk is only 1.25 miles long, but it is an excellent running spot for beginners.

This concrete waterfront path is lined with murals, fascinating facts about Richmond’s past, and lamp post banners promoting other things to do while visiting.

If you feel like you can keep going, you can join the James River Waterfront Trail for something a little more challenging. 

This trail is a must-do for visitors as you can see loads of the city!

8. Maymont Park

Maymont Park is a charming Victorian house with pathways and botanical gardens.

Despite its beautiful surroundings, this park can be tricky to work out in due to its several difficult hills.

There is a designated path around the edge of the park that will take you to two gorgeous lakes and give you around 3.2 miles. 

If you feel like those 3 miles just aren’t enough, you can run into Byrd Park or the North Bank Hill Trail. 

9. Byrd Park

Byrd Park is more of a walking path as it is smaller in size and doesn’t take long to complete, but it is truly a beautiful running location. 

There are several different walking paths in Byrd Park, Maymont’s neighbor to the west, including loops around its three lakes.

The park’s 1-mile VITA course, however, is the most well-known path.

On the 1-mile VITA course, you will find an outdoor gym to help get your strength training in.

It is the perfect place to work out or simply enjoy the world around you. 

10. Cary Street & Grove Avenue

Much like Monument Avenue, Cary Street, and Grove Avenue are some of the most serene residential areas in the state. 

With large historical houses, and everyone showing off their best roses, this makes for a gorgeous running spot. 

Within the neighborhood, you will find plenty of running groups who like to enjoy the 6-mile-long loop of Cary Street, Grove Avenue, and Malvern.

Perfect for newbies to make some friends in the area. 

11. Beaver Lake Trailhead 

The Beaver Lake Trailhead is located in Pocahontas State Park, just outside of Richmond. And it is worth the extra travel. 

This is a 2.5-mile loop that is popular among runners, hikers, and even mountain bikers.

It is great for bird watching, so make sure to pack a picnic and spend the day exploring Beaver Lake. 

12. The Texas Beach Trail 

The Texas Beach Trail is more popular among hikers, but you are sure to see plenty of runners putting in the work. 

Coming in at just over 3 miles, this is a great trail for beginners or even families.

Be aware that it could be challenging to locate the trailhead. Instead of being referred to as the Texas Beach Trail, it is simply classified as a “path.”

A boardwalk, a dirt road, some intriguing colored murals, and even the remains of an 1819 mill may all be found along the trail.

13. The Buttermilk Trail 

The James River is bordered by the Buttermilk Trail.

The Buttermilk Trail is composed of the Buttermilk East, Buttermilk Proper Trail, and Buttermilk Heights routes.

This is a popular trail among moderate hikers as it has some difficult inclines throughout, but it is a great way to build up strength in the legs and endurance for runners. 

Along this route, you will be surrounded by nature and able to breathe peacefully. 

14. National Battlefield Park 

National Battlefield Park is an incredible place for running in Richmond.

Featuring 3 simple trails and 1 for slightly more advanced, runners get over 6 miles of paths and trails to enjoy. 

Many beginners enjoy the Main Trail, which is around 1 mile long. More adventurous runners prefer the Extended Loop Trail, which is just under 1.5 miles long. 

You can bring all of the trails together for an even longer run in this historic park. 

15. Riverside Drive Neighborhood 

Running along Riverside Drive, which passes through a picturesque residential area and offers views of the river and old bridges, is a pleasant activity.

It provides multiple access points to the James River trail network and is located on the south bank of the James River.

Between Bell Isle and the Boulevard Toll Bridge, it is 2 miles long. Despite certain areas lacking sidewalks, the traffic is not too problematic.

You simply have to take a turn off Riverside Dr. and take in the historic houses along the road. Perfect for house hunting or a change of scenery. 

Final Thoughts 

Richmond, Virginia, is a runner’s paradise, offering an array of running routes to explore.

Whether you’re a visitor or a local resident, these top running trails in Richmond allow you to soak in the city’s rich history.

There are plenty of other things to do and see in Richmond, VA, whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape or a cultural journey. And one of the best ways to do it is on foot.

Richmond has something for every runner’s preference.

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