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Running In NYC: Best Parks, Trails And Long-Distance Routes

Jogger At Central Park Reservoir
A woman runs along the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. (credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

NYC has running trails across all five boroughs that will inspire you to go further.  Remember to look out for bicyclists and remember that running in the city often means sharing the road with many others. Check out the NYC Road Runners Club for great overall information about running in the city and training programs, and always get a clean bill of health from your doctor before hitting the pavement. Here are our recommendations for the best trails in the Big Apple:  By John Friia/ Rebecca Levy

Roosevelt Island
(Credit: NYC Parks)

Roosevelt Island

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Nestled between Manhattan and Queens is Roosevelt Island, which offers a tranquil run with views of the skyline. The island was once home to a smallpox hospital and penitentiary, but has transformed into an urban space, with apartment complexes and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. As runners trace the 3.5-mile perimeter, they can take in the sights of the United Nations, Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building. You can get to Roosevelt Island by taking the F train, or take in the sights on their East River tram.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (Credit: NYC Parks)

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park

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Once the site of the New York World's Fair, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park has become one of the most popular parks in Queens. The park is filled with numerous attractions, from the Queens Art Museum to the Uni-sphere and Citi Field. Their 2.5 mile trail serves as a tranquil tour of the beloved borough park.

The Highline Park
(Credit: Friends of the Highline)

The High Line

New Yorkers can run above the streets on the Highline. Before the tourist take over the sprawling urban oasis, people can wake up early and run the 1.5-mile long park. Boasting views of the Hudson River, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, the Highline is the ideal spot for beginners or people that prefer a view with their run.

Central Park Reservoir

File Photo: Central Park Resevoir
File Photo: Central Park Resevoir

Central Park from East 86th Street to East 96th St.

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Perhaps one of the most famous running tracks in all of New York, the 1.5 mile loop encircles the idle reservoir and allows runners to pace themselves and keep track of their distance easily. With the large pool of water on one side and the beauty of the park on the other, it's easy to see why this is a favorite.

Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park (credit:

Hudson River Park

West Side from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge

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Whether heading north towards (and over) the George Washington Bridge or south to Battery Park, the tree-lined stretch along the Hudson River is one of the city's most picturesque and well traveled running routes. Above 96th Street, the fences give way and you are running right along the grassy banks of the Hudson. The southern end is dotted with playgrounds and sprinklers until you reach the gorgeous oasis of Rockefeller Park. While running, be careful to look out for bikers, roller bladers and the cars and trucks driving the midtown stretch.

Inwood Park

Inwood Hill Park

Dyckman Street, Hudson River, Harlem River Ship Canal

For the best trail running and much fewer crowds, head up to Inwood Hill Park. There are great hills and miles of paths. The park is safe, but you may want to run with a buddy since the park feels more remote than other, more open trails. The trade-off is the ability to run in nature without the need to either jockey for position or avoid other outdoor exercise enthusiasts.

Prospect Park
(credit: Prospect Park)

Prospect Park

Prospect Park West, Flatbush, Parkside, Ocean Avenues

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The jewel of Brooklyn, Prospect Park has various loops for running - each spanning a range of miles from 1.5 to 3.7. The paths are hilly and well-paved . They are also usually quite crowded. However, there are no tall buildings in sight and the park has numerous water fountains and benches for breaks or post-run cool downs.

Staten Island Boardwalk

Staten Island Boardwalk

The boardwalk is approximately two-and-a-half miles long and runs from Miller Field (an old WWII recon airbase turned into soccer and baseball fields) all the way to the base of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. To get there from the ferry, take a cab or S51, S52 or S81 bus to Father Capodanno Blvd. and walk towards the water.

Long Beach Boardwalk
(Credit: City of Long Beach)

Long Beach Boardwalk

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Whether it is summer or winter, people can lace up their sneaker and head to the Long Beach Boardwalk. Running adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, people can be experience the tranquility of hearing the waves and watching the sunsets and sunrises. While the 2.5-miles boardwalk becomes crowded during the summer months, it is recommend to run in the early mornings or evenings.

Sunken Meadow State Park

Sunken Meadow State Park

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Long Islanders looking for an intense run can head to Sunken Meadow State Park in Suffolk County. Boasting five types of courses, the park offers a 1.5-mile trail to 10K course. With winding trails and hills, this run is ideal for experienced runners that can withstand the endurance and cardio.

(Credit: Rockefeller State Park)

Rockwood Hall Park

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Located in the historic Rockefeller State Park in Westchester County, the 2.1-mile trail in Rockwood Hall Park is a mixture of hills and flat land. While people run the path, they will notice the breathtaking views of the Hudson River, William Rockefeller's summer house, wooden bridges and acres of trees.

John Friia is a freelance journalist and native New Yorker writing about food, drinks and lifestyle. You can follow his adventures on Instagram

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