Most Beautiful Universities for Running

The quintessential leafy college campus also makes it bucolic for running. This our list of the most beautiful and run-friendly universities — the Top 40 out of our 150+ routes worldwide that feature a university campus. It’s organized alphabetically by city name, rather than ranked. 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 5-6”: Wellesley College, Duke University, University of British Columbia (setting), UC Santa Cruz, Cornell, and Cambridge University.

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.

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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Bologna ‘Runseeing’ Tour

Bologna, Italy

This 7.5 km 'runseeing' tour incorporates many of the important sights of Bologna's historic section, which sits inside the SS64 and SS9 ring roads. Numerous towers, arcades, palazzos, old churches, museums, and two parks.
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Harvard and MIT Tour

Boston, MA

Two of the most famous universities in the world are also popular visitor destinations. We've designed a 'running' tour of both campuses, which are 2 miles apart and are linked by either neighborhood streets or the Charles River Paths.
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Boulder Creek Path/Univ. of Colorado

Boulder, CO

Boulder's signature, 8-mile paved path has three sections. The eastern 3 miles is more open, passing through grassland. Miles 4-6 are through the University of Colorado at Boulder, downtown, and several parks. The hilly last 2 miles go into Boulder Canyon.
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UVA Campus

Charlottesville, VA

The University of Virginia is the heart of Charlottesville, and the Jeffersonian architecture of its beautiful grounds makes for a wonderful run of any length. We have several mapped routes, ranging from 3 to 7 miles.
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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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Brunswick Area Options

Maine: Mid-Coast

There are good running options in the Brunswick area. A 5-mile downtown tour features 3 bridges, historic buildings, and pretty waterfront paths. The Bowdoin campus is a treat. We also love the Town Commons Trails and Crystal Springs Farm Trails.
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Montgomery County

Philadelphia: Suburbs

Known to locals as “Montco,” this wealthy, family-friendly community borders Philadelphia to the north. Highlights include bike paths, Valley Forge, and the campuses of Villanova, Haveford, and Bryn Mawr.
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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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Hokkaido University

Sapporo, Japan

The airy public campus of Hokkaido University has a very park-like feel with plenty of runnable paths and sidewalks. We’ve mapped a 7.5 km tour of the highlights, including Gingko Ave.
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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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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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