Puffers Pond, a lovely body of water in North Amherst, is a popular destination for UMass students to hang out on the sandy beach or take a plunge from the steep rocks above the dam (though, officially, signs warn against it). It’s a simple run from the UMass campus (or a slightly longer run from downtown Amherst) that can be incorporated into a nice roughly 4.7 mile loop. Follow North Pleasant Street north out of campus for 1 mile until you reach the lights at the Black Walnut Inn. Turn RIGHT onto Pine Street and follow it slightly uphill, then bear LEFT onto State Street. State Street has little shoulder, but only sees light residential traffic. At the intersection with Mill Street, you can turn LEFT to run over the dam/falls to the Pond or continue straight to the beach area. After enjoying the pond, continue up State Street then turn RIGHT onto Bridge Street. Pass Cushman Market on your left and bear RIGHT onto Pine Street. Then turn LEFT onto East Pleasant Street. To return to the start, turn RIGHT at the lights/police station and enjoy a breezy downhill on Eastman Lane.
If you like trail running, there are plenty of nice add-ons around Puffers Pond and the Mill River. A flat path circles the waterside, then meets the Robert Frost Trail which parallels the river up to Bridge Street. There are also trails between the lower end of State Street and the Mill River west of Puffers Pond. These paths can be added on to a Puffers Pond Run or swapped out for the State Street section.