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Posted on Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 2 p.m.

Top 5 places to run around Ann Arbor

By Chelsea Hanson


Welcome to Ann Arbor sign near US-23 and Plymouth Rd

Chelsea Earls | Contributor

Some cities boast of mountainous views, exciting and treacherous terrain, or beautiful oceans and beaches — all of which can add to the fun of going for an everyday run. While Ann Arbor doesn’t have mountains, lakes or oceans nearby, it does have lots of interesting and beautiful places to run. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Bird Hills and Sunset: On the west side of Ann Arbor, a beautiful trail awaits. After crossing over the highway on Newburgh Road, Bird Hills provides some hilly and technical trails to distract from the endless miles on the road. After logging a few on the soft dirt ground, running down Sunset (and back up) will give you a butt-busting hill workout to end your run and keep you in shape!

2) Gallup Park: If you’re sick of running the hills around the city, Gallup Park, right on the Huron River, provides a flat respite from both hills and traffic. Whether you’re out for a longer run or interested in some speed-work, Gallup Park is a great place to go. A few loops in Gallup will get you 5-10 miles, and in many places there are markers every ¼ mile-great for those speed workouts and much more interesting than the local high school track. After your run, you can rent a canoe or kayak at the Gallup Canoe Livery.

3) North Campus: Surprisingly hilly and green, the University of Michigan’s North Campus is usually reserved for musicians, artists, and engineers. Go for a run, and you’ll see the beauty that is missed while in the classroom all day. If you’re coming from downtown, running up Broadway hill will give you a challenging start. Make sure that after that challenge you run down Murfin, or you’ll be going up two of the most rigorous hills in the area. The North Campus diag provides a pretty shortcut through campus, and most of the run back toward downtown will be downhill — a beautiful route.


North Campus at the corner of Plymouth and Murfin

Chelsea Earls | Contributor

4) Argo and Bandemer Park: After a quick game of disc golf on the course in Bandemer, take a trot around Bandemer and Argo Park. The paved trail, next to the Huron River, is mostly flat near Bandemer. Go past Argo Canoe Livery and up Longshore Drive and you’ll get a few more hills as you complete this route, which is nearly three miles. Bathroom and water stops make this a nice route for a long run or a hot summer day, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see crew practice in the spring and fall on the river.

A beautiful view of the Huron River from Argo Park

Chelsea Earls | Contributor

5) The Arboretum: A gorgeous, picturesque area that brings runners, walkers, and nature enthusiasts alike, the Arb is a great place to run. With a trail loop that runs along the perimeter of the park, you can log around three hilly miles of trail. Run off the trails and you’ll find soft, luscious grass and maybe come upon a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee. In the spring, the peonies along the hospital entrance provide a fragrant and beautiful start to any run.

These are just a few of my favorite areas to run in Ann Arbor. If you have any favorite runs that you want others to check out, post them below. I’m always interested in exploring new areas of A2!

Chelsea Earls is a runner and works at Running Fit in Ann Arbor. You can reach her at



Tue, Sep 27, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

What do you suggest for running in Ann Arbor during the winter? I live on a busy road with a very narrow bike path (about 1 foot?) and this will be my first winter running! Thanks!


Sun, Oct 25, 2009 : 8 a.m.

Excellent topic. I'd love to see some reporting on how marathon runners plan their routes around town! Maybe even a discussion on runners safety. I love your picks for the 5!

Peggy Lampman

Tue, Oct 20, 2009 : 6:55 p.m.

Love this article! I run in most of these places but have yet to try Bird hills. I enjoy County Farm cause of the crops. Thanks. Peggy


Tue, Oct 20, 2009 : 3:41 p.m.

Thanks for the article, this is great. It's always nice to find new routes and change it up a bit. I wish you had actual maps of each route, but that's just me. Well I guess there is Google Maps and all :)


Tue, Oct 20, 2009 : 8:11 a.m.

County Farm was missed, as was Marshall Park.


Tue, Oct 20, 2009 : 7:36 a.m.

The trails at the Botanical Gardens are nice - and after a LOT of trial and error, it's possible to loop around County Farm Park for a nice 5 mile run with the most coverage of all the trail loops...with the least amount of repetition and overlap - just beware the hills. Do Gallup for the flatest run. The bike path via Devonshire to Gallup could be more enjoyable if the neighborhood traffic wasn't so fast and aggressive.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Tue, Oct 20, 2009 : 7:33 a.m.

For a southern alternative, the Platt road greenway is already attracting a lot of runners. I like to cross over from the greenway onto Morgan for a trot down to State Road and on the way back head south on Thomas. It's beautiful right now and hardly any cars!


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 11:03 p.m.

Cool, I'll have to save this.

Anonymous Commentor

Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 10 p.m.

Great article, Chelsea! I love running through Bird Hills, and from there you can take trails through city parks all the way to Leslie Science Center.

Chelsea Hanson

Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 7:27 p.m.

You're definitely correct--it's Newport Road, not Newburgh. Excuse the mix-up!


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 7:24 p.m.

Bird Hills -- I think you mean Newport, not Newburgh?


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 6:52 p.m.

Gallup park is by FAR the best park in Ann Arbor and one of the best places to hang out in all of the City to enjoy nature, the existing countryside and the landscape of Ann Arbor. Bar none!!!


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 12:32 p.m.

A run thru Barton Hills is a great workout... and a great way the see how the other half lives!