For outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy solitude and peaceful surroundings while they train, the city’s Reach 11 Recreation Area is a runner’s paradise. Offering 18 miles of trails, this recreation area features a surprising amount of trees and grasses, and wide, stable-surface footpaths covering mostly flat terrain. Joggers will find it easy to forget about the rest of the world for an hour or two and just concentrate on logging some serious trail time. Bonus: The main paths are named according to an East-West scheme, with North-South connector trails named after desert animals, making it easy to always know where you are within the park. The area is open for use from sunrise to sunset, and a drinking fountain and restrooms are among the amenities included there. Check online for a complete trail map and access points.
Reach 11 Recreation Area is located between Cave Creek Road and Scottsdale Road, just north of the CAP Canal, in Scottsdale
With the many different mountain ranges in and around Phoenix, there are a lot of options for jogging space. What sets apart the Piestewa Peak area is the variety in difficulty among the trails and the great views. Many of the trails are at a higher elevation than the rest of the city, offering serious joggers glimpses of other mountain peaks and the surrounding area. A favorite trail among runners is the gently sloping Dreamy Draw Nature Trail, which can be accessed from Northern Avenue and begins at one end of a paved parking lot. At the trail head, you’ll also find a drinking fountain and restrooms. Jog the trail’s full one and a half miles, or just one mile if you take the “children’s loop.” Check online for a complete trail map and access points.
The Piestewa Peak area is on both sides of Highway 51 at East Northern Avenue in Phoenix
Arizona Biltmore Resort
If you’re getting burned out on running in the desert and want a change in scenery that features classier surroundings, perhaps the Arizona Biltmore Resort area is your best choice. Run along the south side of the Arizona Canal, which winds its way right through the middle of the Arizona Biltmore’s property, past the Wrigley Mansion, the resort, the resort’s golf course, and a number of very lovely homes. Parking is scarce on the south side of the canal, so looking for space on the north side and then jog across using one of the less busy city streets, such as North 25th Place. The best stretch for scenic jogging is between 24th and 32nd Streets, but see where your sneakers take you.
The Arizona Biltmore Resort canal trail is located roughly at North 24th Street and East Arizona Biltmore Circle in Phoenix
Joggers looking for a trail with a nice mix of public and secluded areas will prefer this trail that’s accessible from Market Street, a shopping and dining district in Northeast Scottsdale. You can easily park in front of Armitage Wine Lounge & Cafe and then walk east to the edge of the parking lot to find the beginning of the path. Follow the trail as it goes under the road and past Legacy Bank, then kick into high gear as you find yourself winding in and out of the neighborhoods of DC Ranch, around the well-manicured golf course, and through the desert landscape.
Market Street is located on the southeast corner of Thompson Peak Parkway and North Pima Road in Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale
If you’re the kind of jogger who likes to be able to focus on something, anything, other than your workout, or if you simply like to flaunt your runner’s bod, consider jogging in Old Town Scottsdale. The area is popular on the weekends, but that could be a good thing if you like to people-watch while you exercise. Also, the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall park area in Old Town contains pathways, fountains, sculptures, shade trees, gardens, and plenty of wide open space for stretches.
Old Town Scottsdale is located around North Scottsdale Road and East Main Street in Downtown Scottsdale