Where to Run in the STL
Everyone from serious runners to casual joggers has it good in St. Louis. Historic landmarks, urban parks, nature reserves and waterfront paths offer endless options for routes that relax and motivate. We went straight to the source and asked GO! St. Louis staff members to share their favorite running routes. Check out the trails they hit when they lace up!
I love running on new trails and exploring different routes, but for me, Forest Park is like coming home. I’m an early morning runner, and the faces in the park at that time of day are familiar, like an extended family. Everyone says good morning, I know who to expect to see on certain mornings, and I know every beautiful path and street in the park.
Forest Park has a well-traveled loop that covers its perimeter (about 5.6 miles), but there also are tons of crushed gravel paths branching off from the main loop and even a few hidden, wooded trails if you look for them! There are hills when you want a challenge and plenty of flat sections when you want to do some speed work. My favorite part about running in Forest Park is seeing how much our local running community has embraced it over the years. This gem of an urban park has become a home for many runners who come to it each day to meet friends, log miles and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
-Mona Langenberg, president
My favorite running route is straight out my front door in Fenton! We are very fortunate to have a hidden gem, Fabick Nature Preserve, at the top of the hill behind my neighborhood. There is a standard 5-mile out-and-back run from my house that combines an old cobblestone hill, a road only open to walkers and runners, single-track trails, and paved trails that connect the nature preserve to the neighborhoods, businesses and parks that surround it. I see deer and get to run by beautiful lakes almost every day of the week. As a trail runner, I could not be any luckier to have this in my backyard!
-Ryan Maher, community outreach manager
My favorite place to run is Grant’s Trail. It’s flat for the most part, except for the gradual uphill slope when you run toward Kirkwood. It’s close to my house, practically in my backyard, and I run on it so often that I know my distances pretty well from where I start and stop every time. I grew up in Crestwood, and the trail was rocky and basically an old railroad bed at that point. I moved away and didn’t really start running until about eight years ago. When I found a house near the trail, it was like coming back home. Grant’s Trail and I have been pretty much inseparable ever since. I love being able to run past the Clydesdales, and sometimes in the early mornings, I’ll run through the Ulysses S. Grant historic site or even make a quick loop through the old quarry at Whitecliff, which isn’t too far off the main route. It might be a straight back and forth route, but it’s the perfect running path for me.
-Kristen Werner, youth programs manager
My favorite area to run is Tower Grove Park. I moved to St. Louis in 1980, and my apartment was across the street. I was 34 years old and had been running for only two years. I fell in love with this park immediately and have continued to find it an extraordinary place to run.
It’s full of history, dating back to the 1850s—everything from the origin of the various gazebos and pavilions to the lily pond, Piper Palm House and busts of the great composers. This park is beautiful year round because Henry Shaw planted the trees and flowers of his native England to bloom continuously.
When I run Tower Grove, I picture ladies and gentlemen strolling along the paths with parasols and top hats. We runners daydream, and I imagine myself peering into a time gone by when things moved more slowly and people enjoyed the park in a different way.
-Karen Lester, operations coordinator