Essen is built with the Ruhr River as its centerpiece. There is plenty of great running along the riverbanks thanks to the local branch of the Ruhr Valley Cycle Path. This 230 km route spans from Winterberg to Duisburg, where it flows into the Rhine. Runners can pick up the path from almost anywhere along the river. The most popular area to run is the Baldeneysee, a reservoir along the Ruhr river just south of Essen. There is a pleasant 14 km loop connecting with the Hardenbergufer Road on the south bank of the river. Other good starting points near the city include Vogelinsel wildlife refuge and the stretch between Heisinger Ruhraue wildlife refuge and Brücke Obergraben/Spillenburger Wehr. You can do the full 14 km loop, or choose a section — the off-road path is more developed and seamless on the north side.