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The 10 Best Running Trails in Cleveland

The weather is warming up in the great city of Cleveland, and, if you’re a runner like myself, you’re probably wondering, “Where can I run in Cleveland?”

The short answer: SO many places! 

In all seriousness, though, there are oodles of running trails in and around Cleveland, everywhere from downtown to along Lake Erie. If you want to know where to run in Cleveland, look no further than these amazing spots. 

Best Places to Run in Cleveland

Lace up those running shoes and let’s hit the pavement (or trails)! 

1. Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway

This is a fantastic running route in Cleveland because it spans all the way from Euclid to Lakewood, passing through downtown Cleveland on the way. If you would like to run (or bike) the entire 17 miles, more power to you. However, you can hop on this bikeway at many spots either for a quick 5k or a long training run. 

As I live on the west side, I usually pop onto the bikeway near the Highway 2 on-ramp near Gordon Square, but you can also access the bikeway from downtown. If you run east, you can run downtown and pass FirstEnergy Stadium (home of the Cleveland Browns) and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and then venture past the Burke Lakefront Airport. You’ll witness some incredible views of downtown Cleveland, Lake Erie, and the planes at Burke if you choose to head east on your run. 

You can also run west and pass by Battery Park, Edgewater Beach, and onto the western neighborhood of Lakewood. 

Either route offers a mix of flat ground and hills as well as lovely Cleveland scenery. What I really enjoy about this route is that, unlike running on sidewalks downtown, you won’t have a lot of stopping and starting as you wait for the walk sign at a crosswalk. 

2. Edgewater Park

Sunrise at Edgewater Park
Edgewater Park at sunrise

You’ll certainly pass by Edgewater Park and the beach if you run west on the Lakefront Bikeway route, but you can also just run in the park itself. 

There are a few loops around Edgewater Park, taking you toward the beach, the pier, and even up some hills into the Edgewater neighborhood filled with stunning mansions overlooking Lake Erie. 

This route is perfect for a 5k run as the paths in and along Edgewater aren’t very long.

Also, as a pro-tip for running around Edgewater in the summer, the earlier in the day the better to avoid large crowds of people. Weekends and Thursday nights are especially busy with crowds of people enjoying the sunshine and beach. 

3. Tremont/Scranton Flats

Scranton Flats running
Scranton Flats

Personally, I love running in the neighborhoods outside of downtown. It isn’t as stop-and-go with traffic lights, and neighborhoods like Tremont and Ohio City are seriously charming. 

On this run, you can start downtown and cross the Hope Memorial Bridge into Tremont, or you can begin in Tremont and run along Lincoln Park, down Professor Avenue for some great sights and smells from tasty restaurants, and maybe pass by AffoGATO (the cat cafe) next to the beautifully domed St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral. 

Depending on how long you’d like to run, I also highly recommend jumping onto the Scranton Flats route next to Sokolowski’s. This is attached to the ever-growing Towpath trail, and this urban section has great views of the city as you run along the Cuyahoga River. 

4. Christmas Story 5k/10k

A Christmas Story House in Cleveland
A Christmas Story house

There is an actual race called the Christmas Story Run held on the first Saturday of December, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. This is a re-creation of that race by doing your own 5k from Tower City in downtown Cleveland all the way into Tremont to the Christmas Story House

Snap some photos of the house and finish up there for the 5k, or return downtown to make it a 10k run. You’ll get to pass over the Hope Memorial Bridge and enjoy the scenery in Tremont while getting a great workout! 

5. Tour de Ohio City

West Side Market building
West Side Market in Ohio City

Ohio City has some fantastic points of interest, and, while running around this neighborhood, you get your own DIY tour of the area. 

If you’re coming from downtown Cleveland, cross over the Detroit/Superior Bridge and take a left onto W. 25th St. Then, you can spot the West Side Market in the distance as you run past several breweries including Bookhouse Brewing and Nano Brew before turning down the charming street by Great Lakes Brewing Company near the West Side Market.

Then, continue down Bridge Avenue to see the charming older homes. Run over to Fairview Park on W. 32nd St. before passing through Hingetown along W. 29th St. and back into downtown.

This is a great way to spot some neat spots in the area before revisiting for a beer or delicious meal later in the day! 

6. Running in Downtown Cleveland

Terminal Tower in Cleveland
Pubic Square

Downtown Cleveland has some great places to run. To avoid lengthy traffic lights, I love starting around Public Square, running down toward FirstEnergyStadium, past the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, back up E. 9th St., and then either take a right on Euclid Ave. to loop back to Public Square (making sure to swing by E. 4th St. for a photo op), or go left to pass by Playhouse Square

This avoids many stoplights, and you get a great tour of the downtown Cleveland area along the way.

I love running in downtown Cleveland early in the morning, as the sun rises and the city is barely awake. First of all, it is great for avoiding crowds. Second, it is incredibly peaceful to watch the city in the early morning! 

7. Bridge-to-Bridge 5k

For a quick 5k run, I like to call this the bridge-to-bridge route. It is a loop from the Hope Memorial Bridge to the Detroit Superior Bridge. 

It doesn’t matter where you start, but it is right around a 5k distance to complete. I typically start running along W. 25th St. and then turn left on Carnegie Ave. to run over the Hope Memorial Bridge. Then, I run past the back of Jack Casino, the Ritz Carlton, and Tower City and cross over the Cuyahoga River on the Detroit/Superior Bridge. 

This route is simple, easy to find, and the high-sloping bridges will ensure you get a great workout! 

8. Rocky River Reservation

So far, most of these routes are accessible without a car if you are in the downtown area, and they all consist of running in the city. However, the Cleveland Metroparks are phenomenal, so if you want to get out of the downtown area and enjoy some running paths in nature, Rocky River Reservation is perfect and not too far away. 

With over 13 miles of paved trails, you can do a lot of training runs in Rocky River Reservation.

Also, Rocky River Reservation may start in Rocky River, but you can keep going south all the way down to Strongsville if you want! (Just be sure to turn around at some point, as this doesn’t loop back!)

9. Rockefeller Park

Cleveland Cultural Gardens
Cleveland Cultural Gardens

The east side of Cleveland boasts one of the most beautiful parks in the city. This often forgotten park winds around the Cultural Gardens, near Case Western Reserve University, and even University Circle! Spot the many memorials and gardens devoted to various countries, pass under beautiful bridges, and wind your way to the museums or a fun cafe. 

This route is a great opportunity to get into your running groove and enjoy a little bit of nature in the city. 

10. Towpath Trail

Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail
Towpath Trail

Last, but certainly not least, is the Towpath Trail. The Towpath is a massive trail system that winds through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is 87 miles long and starts up north in downtown Cleveland, goes through the CVNP, and ends way down in Tuscarawas County well south of Cleveland. 

With that incredibly long trail, you’ve got ample opportunities for running, biking, and all kinds of exercise! Also, as this trail runs through a national park, you could potentially spot some great wildlife along the way.

Here are a few of my favorite places to start a run on the Towpath Trail:

Scranton Flats: Mentioned on the Tremont run, this is one of the easiest ways to start on the Towpath and head south from downtown. Unfortunately, unless you are running many miles, you likely won’t see much other than the urban area of Cleveland rather than the nature of the CVNP.

Scranton Flats viewpoint
Scranton Flats viewpoint

Harvard Road: This is the closest area where you’ll start to get into the canals and wooded areas of the Towpath Trail. The Harvard Road trailhead is approximately a 10 minute drive from downtown Cleveland. If you don’t want to spend too much time in the car but want to get out and run in nature, this is a great spot to start. I’ve also noticed that this area isn’t terribly crowded throughout the year! 

Lock 39: This entrance is the start of the Towpath inside of CVNP. Lock 39 has an old canal lock to admire, as well as a beautiful canal and river to run by – perfect for spotting blue heron during a run! It takes about 15 minutes to get to the Lock 39 trailhead from downtown Cleveland. 

Lock 29: If you have plenty of time and want to visit the more scenic running paths in CVNP, then Lock 29 is perfect. Located south of Cleveland in Peninsula, this area is truly beautiful with the rushing river and heavily wooded trails. If you plan to run 9 miles or more, be sure to swing by Brandywine Falls for the one of the prettiest waterfalls in Ohio. Lock 29 is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Cleveland. 

There are ample places to run in Cleveland, but these cover all our favorites. Whether you want to get in a quick workout downtown or you want to escape for a run in nature, you’ll enjoy each of these running routes in Cleveland!

If you try any of these out, we’d love to hear about it!

Where would you like to run in Cleveland? 

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