Tucson is the ultimate running town — no ice, no snow, no freezing rain — and a rare day that you even need a long-sleeve shirt. So grab your sunscreen, shorts and shoes and hit the roads.
Here are 9 places to run:
Rillito River Path: Sure, there is rarely any water in our rivers, but our paths have recently been upgraded, with plenty of soft dirt to complement the smooth asphalt. You can start at St. Phillip’s Plaza at the corner of Campbell Avenue and River Road. Head east or west, either way you’ll find mile markers, smooth footing, and plenty of company.
Reid Park: In the middle of central Tucson, Reid Park boasts a 2.8-mile loop and a 2-mile add-on that has been the loop of choice forever. With plenty of water fountains and bathrooms, this multi-use path is filled with walkers, runners, strollers, and more.
Downtown and the University of Arizona: Whether you’re on the University of Arizona campus or in the heart of downtown, there are plenty of easy and safe urban routes. You can simply follow the streetcar route, which covers four miles from the University of Arizona medical center at the edge of campus to the Mercado San Agustin on the west side of Interstate-10 and at the base of A-Mountain. While at the Fourth Avenue underpass, you can hop on the Aviation Bikeway, a multi-use path that goes for miles and miles.
St. Phillip’s Plaza: Don’t have folks to walk or run with? You can meet like-minded outdoor folks at the popular (and free) Meet Me Wednesday’s, on, well, Wednesday evenings, starting at 5 p.m.
On Mondays, join Meet Me at Maynards for a free 3- to 6-mile walk or run; sign in and get discounts to local eateries.
Morris K. Udall Regional Park: With paved and gentle dirt paths, as well as an indoor jogging track, the Udall Park at Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon roads is a perfect place for novice runners and those seeking easy jogging. Plenty of bathrooms and nearby water. It’s also across the street from Fleet Feet Tucson if you need to get hooked up with equipment.
Oro Valley Riverfront Park On the north side of town, this park provides a smooth paved path throughout neighborhoods. Don’t expect water in the Riverfront, but you can expect beautiful views of the Catalina Mountains.
Sabino Canyon: The 7.4-mile road up and down Sabino Canyon is one of the all-time favorite running locations in Tucson. Bathrooms and water are available at the parking area and on the route. There is a fee to ride the tram and to park at this National Forest location.
Saguaro National Park East: The 8-mile paved loop is the iconic Tucson location. Site of the popular TMC Saguaro Labor Day Run, this hilly loop challenges even the most experienced runner. Bathrooms and water are available at the parking area, but not on the route.
Next week we’ll highlight some of the great trails that make Tucson a top running town — and remember, visit your local running club atwww.azroadrunners.org for lists of local running and walking events.