5 Places to Run in Boston

Hilly terrain, tree canopies and water views: This is your guide to Boston’s scenic running routes.

Lace up those Nikes and Asics, queue up a great iPod playlist and grab a bottle of water. This is your chance to explore some of Boston's most beautiful destinations—whether you're looking for a quick morning jog or a strenuous trail run. And if these aren't hard-core enough for your tastes, there's always the Boston Marathon route. Discover where to run in Boston.


Blue Hills Reservation

Who said there isn’t any wilderness near Boston? Just 10 driving minutes from downtown, Great Blue Hill (at 635 feet) and its vast surroundings across Blue Hills Reservation feature more than 125 miles of trails with varied terrain ranging from packed dirt to granite staircases. Head up Buck Hill on the Skyline Trail and you’ll catch a 360-degree view of Boston and the harbor, and maybe even spot some wildlife.

Blue Hills scenery (© C. D. A. Lewis/Flickr, Creative Commons)


Boston HarborWalk

By following the royal-blue signs that mark Boston HarborWalk you can cover up to roughly 39 miles of grass, gravel, cobblestone, cement and other surfaces that skirt Boston Harbor. From the Financial District, the easiest place to access the route is at Long Wharf, but one of the best places to hop on is at Castle Island in South Boston, where a two-mile loop juts into Pleasure Bay, offering stunning views of the Boston Harbor Islands.

Moakley Courthouse and Boston HarborWalk (© Newtoncourt/Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)


Charles River Esplanade

The Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path begins near the Museum of Science at the mouth of the Charles River and extends nine miles along the riverbank into Watertown Square. For a shorter trip, there is a great, four-mile circuit that starts at the Longfellow Bridge (accessible from the Charles/MGH Red Line T stop), continues along Memorial Drive past M.I.T., then crosses back via the Boston University Bridge to reconnect with Beacon Hill along the Charles River Esplanade.

Take a run along the Charles River Esplanade


Emerald Necklace

Frederick Law Olmsted’s historic Emerald Necklace park system extends about 10 miles, from Boston Common in downtown to Franklin Park in Dorchester. One highlight of the lush chain of green parks is the Arnold Arboretum, which is the oldest public arboretum in North America and boasts additional miles of trails for running across 265 acres.

Emerald Necklace Photo Walk at Jamaica Pond Park (© Todd Van Hoosear/Flickr, Creative Commons)


Minute Man National Historical Park

History buffs who like to run can learn more about the American Revolution in some of the locations where it actually happened. Twenty miles west of Boston, the 1,000-acre Minute Man National Historical Park encompasses such sites as the famous Battle Road Trail, a quaint and quiet five-mile dirt path that begins at Merriam Corner in Concord and then ends at Fisk Hill in Lexington after passing by the spot where the war began on April 19, 1775.

Minute Man National Historical Park (© Tomwsulcer/Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)

Leigh Harrington
About the author

Leigh formerly served as the Boston editor for Where and was the br...