Birmingham’s canals hail from the city’s Industrial Revolution boom, when locals needed a quick and efficient way to move goods. Today, the canals form quick and efficient running routes with miles of paved “towpaths” which parallel the water. The crown jewel of these canal routes starts at the “Mailbox,” a former post center which is now the heart of the city center. After crossing a footbridge beyond the Ramada hotel, the canal path winds up past Gas Street Basin, the National Indoor Arena, and the aquarium. Just before that confluence, you can take a left onto the Old Line Canal, which loops back around to the main canal. Cross over the St. Vincent Street Bridge, take a right, and keep going up the other side of the canal until you hit Newhall Street, and turn around. Once you reach the initial start near the Mailbox, you can extend your trip with a right turn onto Old Line Canal. Go out about 1.25 miles and return to complete a route of about 5 miles.
For a longer canals run, start out at New Street Station and head down the Worcester and Birmingham line. If you get tired, you can take the train back from University (after 2.5 miles) Selly Oak (after 3.5 miles) or Bourneville (after 5 miles).