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Lace up your sneakers and head out on these 10 Boston-area running trails

Posted by Alex Pearlman  April 25, 2012 09:17 AM

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running sneakers.jpgBy Melissa Reohr

Last week, you might have attended the Boston Marathon. Whether you were running in it or cheering participants on from the sidelines, perhaps the event inspired you to find a local outdoor running spot.

In order of difficulty, starting with the easiest/shortest, here are 10 Boston-area running trails to enjoy this spring and summer (and fall and winter, if you’re gutsy enough to brave the cold). If you’re just getting into running, take it slow, and walk the trails instead. If you’re already in training for next year’s marathon, go all-out -- maybe even go back and forth a couple times on the trail of your choice.

Chestnut Hill Reservoir. If you live out on the Green Line, you should definitely head to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir for a run. A lot of Newton residents and Boston College students use this trail, which is approximately a 1.57-mile loop. If that seems like too short of a distance, enjoy the natural beauty of the greenery and water as you do multiple laps, or venture off onto Beacon Street or Comm Ave. for a longer run.

boston public garden.jpgBoston Common and Public Garden Loop. If you’d rather run in the “heart” of Boston, take a lap (or two; at about 1.98 miles, this loop is also relatively short) around the Common and Garden. Since the area’s popular with tourists and full of gorgeous, historical architecture, you’ll always have something to look at. When you get bored with running around the outside of the city’s urban oasis, just head through the gates and run on the park paths.

Alewife Linear Park. This trail starts at the Alewife T station in Cambridge and extends to Cedar Street in Somerville, passing many small parks and playgrounds along the way. The run through Alewife Linear Park is approximately 2 miles long.

South Boston Boardwalk. Looking for a great view of Boston? Take a run along this 2.08-mile loop, specifically called “Pleasure Bay.” The path can get a little windy, as it’s situated right on the water, but don’t let that stop you. Instead, embrace the challenge of running with (or against) the wind.

back bay fens.jpgBack Bay Fens. Located in the Fenway/Kenmore area, this trail is actually relatively secluded within this busy city. The Victory Gardens, in particular, make this 2.4-mile path a beautiful place for a run, walk, or bike ride.

Fresh Pond Reservation. Here’s another trail that’s a bit quieter. The 2.5-mile loop around this Cambridge pond is very scenic.

Franklin Park. If you're in the mood for a 5k (approximately 3.24 miles), check out Franklin Park in Dorchester. It’s a popular spot for high school and college races, so there's sure to be other runners around.

charles river esplanade.gifCharles River Esplanade. So much happens on the banks of the Charles during the summer: People picnic, live performances take place at the Hatch Shell, and rowers and sailors set out on the river. Without crossing into Cambridge, you can join the masses and take a 3.45-mile run down the Esplanade path. For a more extended run, head over the Mass Ave. Bridge and take in the view from Memorial Drive, or create your own route from the many options.

Downtown Boston. Got guests who are also runners? Bring them on a sightseeing run! A 6.34-mile loop will take you from the Fenway/Kenmore area, through the Financial District, to the North End, and back again.

The Minuteman Bikeway. This historic trail, which passes through Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge, is extremely popular with bikers, but you’ll see runners and walkers on it as well. The entire Bikeway is quite long, but you can take a loop that’s approximately 7.18 miles. And as with any loop, you can turn around at any point to shorten your run to fit your ability.

Where’s  your favorite place to run in Boston?

Photo (one) by slgckgc; photo of the Public Garden (two) by BostonPhotoSphere; photo of the Fens (three) by cho_kettie; and photo of the Esplanade (four) by essygie (Flickr)

About Melissa -- I am a senior at Bentley University and will be graduating in May. After graduation, I plan to live in Boston because I love it here. I am obsessed with social media and blogging and can't wait to further my skills and knowledge of both.

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This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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