Best Places to Run in Metro Detroit

When thinking of the best places to run in Metro Detroit, it all depends on what you are looking for.

Trying to run in isolated solitude? Among the hustle and bustle of a city? On a trail scattered with wild turkeys? Or maybe on an old rail line, surroundings with art? In the Detroit area, there is something for every runner. Here’s a few of my personal best places to run in Metro Detroit.

Downtown Detroit, MI

Stony Creek

Rochester Hills, MI. This former creek was dammed to create a great Metropark with trails and beaches. There is a 6-mile loop around the “Creek” with every half mile marked. The path is fairly hilly and without much shade, so running in the summer heat can be tough. If trail running is your thing, there are numerous trails of varying difficulty. I highly recommend the Shelden Trails if you’re looking for a great mix of woods, hills and fields. See if you can spot Detroit from the view at the top of Mt. Sheldon.

The Detroit Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut

Detroit, MI. One of my favorite runs starts on the Detroit Riverwalk between Hart Plaza and the Detroit River, and works it’s way onto the Dequindre Cut, a former rail line, now converted into a beautiful paved trail. The Riverwalk provides incredible views of the downtown skyline and water, and the Cut feels like a secret passage through Detroit, decked out with art all over the walls.

Dodge Park

Sterling Heights, MI. An underrated place to run in Metro Detroit; this path loosely follows the Clinton River, starting at a recently renovated park, winding through the woods and ending at a wooden bridge near a popular place to kayak. The path is well-paved, does not cross any roads and is very scenic.

Paint Creek Trail

Rochester, MI. Starting in downtown Rochester, this trail was also a former rail line in some areas. Great shade, and a large portion of the path is paved with some kind of soft rubber material that is very easy on the feet. Watch for cars when crossing a few of the roads; they don’t like to stop!

Indian Village Neighborhood

Detroit, MI. I’ve run the Detroit Marathon twice and the Detroit Half Marathon once, and I am currently 3/3 on having borderline meltdowns. But despite my inability to run a good race, Indian Village has always been my favorite part of the course. I highly recommend cruising up and down Seminole, Iroquois, and Burns to check out tree-lined streets and beautiful homes. If you’re running the Freep Marathon in the future, watch for people handing out Dixie cups of beer along the route, for a quick refreshment.

Lake St. Clair Metropark

St. Clair, MI. Otherwise known as Metro Beach, this park offers a very scenic view of Lake St. Clair on a path around a peninsula. I love the view, but I also love that the main portion of the path is closed off to all traffic. There are plenty of paths to run in the Metropark, but the trail continues for about ten miles along Metro Parkway and Schoenherr Road.

Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI. I love the energy of a city when I’m on a run, and starting at Jefferson and working all the way to New Center along Woodward is a great absorb some of that Midwestern city energy. You will no doubt stop at numerous crosswalks waiting for traffic, but use that time to check out some incredible architecture, from the Guardian Building, to The Whitney Building, to the DIA and ending at The Fisher Building. Hop on a MoGo bike and head back.

Kensington Metropark

Milford, MI. A well-marked, 8.5 mile loop around Kent Lake reminds me a lot of Stony Creek. There are also some good trails to run. Slightly hilly, but nothing too difficult.

Belle Isle

Detroit, MI. This island in the middle of the Detroit River has so much to offer. Stunning views, a spot to grill, an aquarium, a tropical greenhouse, a maritime museum, a driving range and the field where I struck out in kickball. It’s also a great place to run, with all kinds of nature, the river and skyline views that you can’t get anywhere else.

The view from Belle Isle, Detroit, MI.

Where do you think are the best places to run in Metro Detroit?

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