Where to Hit the Pavement (or Trail)
These short, picturesque runs will help you blow off steam, but you'll still get home in plenty of time to fix dinner.
Little Sugar Creek Greenway
This path in progress has three sections, traversing through Dilworth and Freedom Park, Huntingtowne Farms Park, and Belmont. The flat pavement and babbling brook offer respite to runners up and down south Charlotte. Start out at Cordelia Park (2100 N. Davidson St.) or at Freedom Park, off East Boulevard.
RibbonWalk Nature Preserve
For runners in central and north Charlotte, RibbonWalk's three miles of looping trails provide a natural escape from the city landscape. Parking is available in the preserve, just inside the main entrance, at 4601 Nevin Road.
Mallard Creek and Clark's Creek Greenway
With neighborhood entrances scattered along the 5.9 miles of this north Charlotte greenway, it's easy to access this quiet and shady pathway. You can also park at Countryside Montessori School, at 9014 Mallard Creek Road.
If you have all Saturday morning, or plan to put off grocery shopping and the post office until later in the afternoon, take the opportunity to explore these scenic and extensive parks. You'll stumble across so many of Charlotte's natural treasures that you won't even notice yourself racking up mileage.
U.S. National Whitewater Center Olympic kayakers aren't the only athletes to benefit from this expansive facility. Fourteen miles of challenging terrain and gorgeous scenery will add adventure to your workout routine. Parking is available for $5 off Belmeade Drive at 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway.
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
The largest park in Mecklenburg County, Latta Plantation offers 16 miles of trails that wind through the 1,343-acre preserve. Views of Mountain Island Lake and lush forests make a day in this park feel like a minivacation. Enter the park via Sample Road, off Beatties Ford Road.
Sometimes the best way to get a little faster is to work a little harder. By adding some of these hills into your training regimen, you'll find yourself climbing toward speed and endurance much faster
Commonwealth Avenue in Plaza Midwood
Park at the corner of Thomas and Commonwealth avenues and head southeast (downhill) on Commonwealth to Morningside Drive, where you'll make a left, then another left on McClintock Road. The return trip on McClintock, which runs parallel to Commonwealth, is the real kick-in-the-pants part of this 1.5-mile run.
East Morehead Street
Runners who start (or end) their workouts at the Dowd YMCA (at 400 E. Morehead St.) know the brutality of this mile-long stretch (and its teasing plateaus) between South Boulevard and South Kings Drive. The good news? Lots of shade to take the heat out of the climb.
McDowell Nature Preserve
Located on the edge of Lake Wylie, at 15222 York Road in southwest Charlotte, this tucked-away nature preserve has lots of twisting, rolling terrain to keep you on your toes. For an extra tough run, try the Chestnut Trail.
An interactive map featuring the best places to run in Charlotte.
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