Trinity River Trails
Fort Worth, Texas
In Fort Worth, runners log their miles on the scenic, greenbelted Trinity River Trails, a far-flung network of paved and natural-surface paths-35 miles' worth -- many of which meander through a half-dozen of the city's many parks (Fort Worth's total park acreage is second only to Chicago's).
From downtown, you'll find the best access to Trinity at Heritage Park, which is right behind the spectacular, solid-granite Tarrant County Courthouse. Turn left (south), and you can run up to 14.2 miles out-and-back to Southwest Boulevard -- all paved, each mile marked with a wooden stake. Route maps are available at The Worthington Hotel.
The prettiest snippet along this southern route takes you through wooded Trinity Park (5 miles round-trip). To stretch it to about 10-K, keep going until you reach Forest Park and the Fort Worth Zoo, or extend your run to about 10 miles by continuing on to tiny River Park.
For an out-and-back 8-miler, two-thirds of which are natural surface, head north from Heritage Park and, about a mile out, hang a right and follow the river southeast to Gateway Park. Another off-road option, also around 8 miles round-trip: head west about 1.5 miles on a paved path to Rockwood Park, where the trail turns into dirt and goes out to 28th Street.
A new section of the Trinity Trails -- all packed shale -- runs out 4 miles from the corner of Rogers Road and University Drive, a few miles west of downtown and close to Luke's.
There are also plenty of other Trinity Trail routes to carve out if you're up for a little rubber-soled exploring, but take along a water bottle, as fountains pop up only irregularly on the trails. Ask the Visitors Bureau to toss in a trail map -- cutely packaged in the shape of a spurred cowboy boot -- or pick one up at the downtown Visitor Center (415 Throckmorton, two blocks south of The Worthington Hotel).