United States

Richmond, VA

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Run in Richmond

Taber Andrew Bain

Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is a historic city situated along the fall line of the James River. The village sprang up as a hub of the Powhatan Confederacy, and later played an important role as the site of Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, and as the capital of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. Today, Richmond’s economy is a powerhouse of finance, government, and law, attracting traveling business professionals and tourists alike. One thing we love about running in Richmond is the variety and the proximity/overlapping of some of its best routes.

Richmond has a great running scene, with lots of spots. The most popular runs are along the James River waterfront park, which includes scenic Belle Isle. Pretty historic and residential runs include Monument Ave and Grove Ave, or the campus of the University of Richmond. A number of local parks, including Byrd Park, Maymont, and Bryan Park, also have short but pleasant designated running paths. Distance runners often prefer to do their mileage on the Virginia Capital “Cap” Trail, which is accessible via the lovely Canal Walk, while trail runners can travel a short distance outside the city to beautiful Pocahontas State Park.

The downtown/waterfront area is pretty compact and walkable (or runnable!). There is a “Pulse” route that circles the main parts of town from the West End, to the Museum District, to Downtown, to the East End. There’s a GRTC bus for longer options. Note Richmond can be hot and humid in summer.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Richmond, VA

Canal Walk

Pleasant ~1.25 mile (one way) path along the Richmond Canal system with murals, history lessons, and tips... more...

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  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

James River Park Trails & Belle Isle

Richmond, VA

The most popular running spot in Richmond, with waterside trails and multiple pedestrian bridges. Well-groomed 2-10 mile options along the Buttermilk and North Bank trails, Forest Hill Park, and Pony Pasture. Trails are mainly wooded, gravel surface.
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Canal Walk

Richmond, VA

Pleasant ~1.25 mile (one way) path along the Richmond Canal system with murals, history lessons, and tips on things to do. Run out to the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge for views — especially great at sunrise or sunset.
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Riverside Drive Neighborhood

Richmond, VA

An attractive road for running on the south side of the James River, with views to the river and historic bridges, and attractive residential roads coming off it. It rides above the James River trail system, providing numerous access points to those trails as well.
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Maymont Park and Byrd Park

Richmond, VA

Run the grounds of this gorgeous Victorian estate with mansion, Japanese botanical gardens, and a ~3 mile paved perimeter path with some challenging hills. Options to connect with Byrd Park or the North Bank Trail.
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Great Richmond Neighborhoods for Running

Richmond, VA

Richmond has some lovely residential areas featuring pretty, lengthy streets lined with trees and historic homes. Favorite neighborhoods for running include the Museum & Fan Districts, Windsor Farms/Near West End, and some streets off Riverside Dr. or around Maymont/Byrd Park.
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Bryan Park

Richmond, VA

Historic green space with a 3.4 mile paved path around ponds, forest, azealia gardens, and playing fields. Add-ons include dirt singletrack paths like the one along Jordan’s Branch.
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Pocahontas State Park

Richmond, VA

The 64 miles of paved bike paths, double track fire roads, and dirt trails of scenic Pocahontas State Park are definitely worth the 30 minute drive from Richmond. Popular trails are the Old Mill bike path and the Beaver Lake loop.
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James River Park Trails & Belle Isle

Richmond, VA

The most popular running spot in Richmond, with waterside trails and multiple pedestrian bridges. Well-groomed 2-10 mile options along the Buttermilk and North Bank trails, Forest Hill Park, and Pony Pasture. Trails are mainly wooded, gravel surface.
Explore

Canal Walk

Richmond, VA

Pleasant ~1.25 mile (one way) path along the Richmond Canal system with murals, history lessons, and tips on things to do. Run out to the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge for views — especially great at sunrise or sunset.
Explore

Summers in Richmond are hot and muggy — so run with caution — but the rest of the year temperatures are pleasant and snow is minimal. It can be rainy, especially in summer with thunderstorm downpours.

 

The question of “Where should I stay?” in Richmond depends what you’re there to see. Most tourists choose to stay in the downtown area, where the waterfront, museums, shops, and restaurants are all walkable — and near many of our best running spots. You’ll find another cluster of hotels along Route 64 heading east towards the airport or west towards Dumbarton and Henrico. There are lots more options north of the city in Glen Allen or across the river near Midlothian.

VisitRichmondVA.com has a great guide to hotels in each area of Richmond.

Richmond has tons of great independent running stores and groups.

In addition to great shoes and service, Richmond Road Runner hosts Monday Fun Runs weekly at 7 pm. All levels are invited to participate, then head back to the store for electrolyte drinks and a core workout.

Fleet Feet Sports not only sells shoes, they host occasional Brewery Runs, and a Fun Run each Tuesday at 6 pm. Training for an event? Join their Run Club. 

The Richmond Road Runners have a pretty comprehensive guide to Richmond running groups here.

Sportsbackers is the premiere host for popular Richmond races and running events. Check out their upcoming events at www.sportsbackers.org.