Most Beautiful Universities for Running

The quintessential leafy college campus also makes it bucolic for running. This is a list of the most beautiful and run-friendly universities.  The route is either the campus itself, or the university within an especially bucolic setting. In some cases, we’ve mapped a specific route, while in other cases we link to a campus map and recommend a few particular spots. If we had to pick a “Top 5”: Wellesley College, Duke University, University of British Columbia, UC Santa Barbara, and Tulane.

To see ALL of our routes in and around university campuses, click on ‘University’ in our ‘Categories’ tab. Note that these tend to be universities in locations where we have developed guides. So we might miss the occasional campus that’s located outside a travel destination, such as a Kenyon or Notre Dame.

Duke University Campus

Raleigh-Durham, NC

One of the prettiest campuses in the United States and wonderful for running. Enjoy the Georgian-style east campus or the Gothic west campus. Run up to the Duke Chapel. The 3.7 mile Al Buehler Trail loop trail circles the golf course.
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Stanford Campus

Silicon Valley, CA

One of the most iconic university campuses in the world also makes for very pleasant running. Our 4.5 mile loop includes all the major campus highlights, with some great add-on options.
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Rice University Loop

Houston, TX

A 3-mile dirt trail around Rice University, in a pretty part of Houston. Great views of the gorgeous campus with its ivy-covered gate, lovely buildings and magnificent trees.
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University of Louisville

Louisville, KY

This 2.4 mile loop tours the country’s first city-owned public university. The University of Louisville is a university of many medical firsts, and a great place for some run-seeing. Or you can do a DIY running tour.
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UC Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA

Few college campuses rival UC Santa Barbara in beauty. Follow this loop around the paved lagoon path, with views of the university, and out to Del Playa Bluffs which cruises the cliffs lining the Pacific Ocean.
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University and Botanical Gardens

Birmingham, UK

This 5 mile route winds through the University of Birmingham campus and up the path of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. From there, you can branch off towards Chad Brook and connect with the paths of Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens.
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Yonsei University

Seoul, South Korea

Very pretty university campus with older buildings and pleasant running paths, at base of Ansan Mountain. There are also wooded trails and a forest park on campus. Can combine with Ansan trails.
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