By Katie Higgins
Inhale grit and exhale achievement. Let’s go on a run! With the leaves falling and the air chilling it’s the perfect time to get out of your home and enjoy an invigorating jog. There are many popular area running locations but here are a few of our favorite routes. Run them individually or pair them together to get a little more distance in, it’s up to you to decide.
On Terre Haute’s north side sits Collett Park, a 21-acre green space surrounded by a historic neighborhood. The park has several extra circular spaces, with a gazebo, tennis courts, playgrounds and the iconic Collett Pavilion.
This route follows the perimeter and then dips inside the park under the tree canopy utilizing its road. Tack on a little extra distance by including nearby Maple Avenue Nature Park.
Distance: About 1.25 miles. To add more distance, take in nearby Maple Avenue Nature Park
Lace up you shoes and go for a run at Deming Park. This destination should come as no surprise, Deming is an all-around great outdoor space. The park includes shade, ample water fountains, all at a convenient location. Exercising as never been so easy!
Distance: This route is 2.1 miles long, but with nearby Ohio Boulevard to the west and the Deming-Dobbs Trail which connecting Deming to Dobbs Park, you've got lots of options for changing things up!
There are ample wooded trails to run at Dobb’s Park, and with all the beautiful acreage it’s a great space to get lost in (metaphorically speaking). Three miles of trails that are perfect for running, will take you through beautifully restored wetlands, towering pines, and both old and new growth "forest." All this nature can be overwhelming. Don’t worry though, you can come back as many times as you’d like.
Distance: Approx. 3 miles, this trail at Dobbs Park takes you through both wetlands and woods. Don't think these are their only trails though, there are also many self-led trails here to explore.
You may have been to this riverfront park for a festival or just to watch the storied Wabash drift slowly by, but it's really worth the visit for a riverside run. An unpaved path was recently added leading out of the south end of Fairbanks and runs along the Wabash. Early mornings are especially breathtaking in the fall & spring months; differences between air & water temperatures bring sometimes heavy morning fog hanging over the river only to fade with the sun's warming rays.
Distance: This trail is 1.24 miles long but it could easily be extended along Ohio Street or across the Wabash River and into the Wabashiki Wetlands.
As the first park formed in Vigo county, Fowler Park is good place to start on this runner’s journey. It’s known for its historical structures and rich history, but did you know that there are also excellent spaces to run here? Pass through the covered bridge and around the lake. Catch your breath under the shaded awnings of one of the many historical buildings that sit on the property.
Distance: This route is about 3 miles, paved and encompasses the park's centerpiece lake, but there are also several unpaved foot trails in the Fowler Park woods that are definitely worth exploring.
GRIFFIN BIKE PARK
Not far from Fowler Park, this running spot is great for those who love a challenging workout. A national-caliber mountain bike destination, this park boasts myriad trails with lots of twists, turns and plenty of hills, great for running too. But stay alert! You never know when you'll encounter a mountain biker enjoying the beauty of the trails as well!
Distance: Griffin Bike Park has an elaborate system of soft-dirt mountain bike trails covering more than 18 miles throughout the property. This is a popular running spot because the hills offers routes from advanced running abilities to beginner abilities.
Hawthorn Park isn’t far from the beaten path and is a popular location for many of the town’s 5k races. The parks is known for its lake front paths and beautiful nature trails that snake around it. A beautiful 5.5 mile running trail raps around both of the lakes and is a favorite in the running community. There is a reason that there are so many people that come to visit this park.
Distance: The park has many trails, the majority of which overlook water. Here, a 2.65 miles long route is highlighted, varying in terrain from dirt to gravel to pavement. Don't feel limited to this path because there is plenty here to explore.
This is one of the many diamonds of Terre Haute’s outdoor experiences. The Heritage trail is a scenic pathway paved from start to finish and cutting through a large portion of Terre Haute. Spanning from a natural scenery including tree canopies and water views, to a more urban setting with plenty of space to bring a running partner. The path connects local parks and universities for a great recreation location. Lace up your shoes because this is a trail that you won’t want to detour.
Distance: While the trail itself is about 7 miles from end to end, Heritage trail covers the most area (from end to end) of any trail in Vigo County. There are many other connecting paths along this route including the Memorial Mile, Highland Lawn Cemetery and Hawthorn Park that are worth exploring. Add these to your run to increase your distance even further.
HIGHLAND LAWN CEMETERY
A respectful jog through hilly Highland Lawn Cemetery is a popular choice for runner, and for a good reason. The peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking monuments help center mind & body. Run under the gateway arch and past the romanesque Chapel and experience one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country. The road is clearly marked and visible.
Distance: The Highland Lawn route traced is 1.42 miles long and is just one of the many variations of the path here.
LAVERN GIBSON CHAMPIONSHIP CROSS COUNTRY COURSE
This destination is a cross country runners dream. LaVern Gibson has hosted 15 division 1 collegiate national championships and is a designed for runners of all speeds. The course is located in an open field by the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. A small fee is required for a day pass. This money goes into maintaining the course. Money well spent.
Distance: The Highlighted route is the 5k cross country race course. There are a variety of routes for different distance loops, making it easier to track your mileage.
MAPLE AVENUE NATURE PARK
This path overlooks one of the town well-kept fishing lakes with a few shelters, including a gazebo, to catch your breath under. The Maple Avenue Nature Park isn’t far from Collett Park, in fact the two are paths are great to run together. There really is the best of both worlds here, urban running and park running.
Distance: The northern part of Terre Haute has several running spaces one of which is the Maple Avenue Nature Park. This trail is paved and raps around a beautiful water front spanning a half mile (0.59). Couple it with nearby Collett Park to add more distance.
Memorial stadium has an excellent 1 mile trail around the perimeter of the football stadium. This running spot is small but mighty and is an easy run, great for those who like to run on a paved path. Along the path there are also stations to do a quick strength workout to double onto your cardio exercise. A fun fact about this 1-mile loop is that it was designed to be shaped like the state of Indiana.
The Indiana Veterans Memorial Mile is more than just a mile for running. This is a journey around the spacious ISU stadium, safely created away from any car traffic.
Distance: Um, it's a mile. Memorial Mile is a mile. BUT you can increase distance by tacking on nearby Heritage Trail or the North Brown Avenue Trail.
NORTH BROWN AVENUE TRAIL
North Brown Avenue is located just east of down town Terre Haute. The route is completely straight except for one turn. The convenient location makes it in the center of several running routes and close to many other businesses. Stop here for a run after work, school, or just in you free time.
This clean, well-kept side walk path has ample space to run.
Distance: At 1.49 miles long, it’s great for a short run. Pair this path with the National Heritage Trail or the Memorial Stadium Trail for a longer route.
Ohio Boulevard covers a great space on Terre Haute’s east side, with spacious walkways, perfect for running on the 1 1/2-mile stretch between 20th Street and South Fruitridge Avenue. Bike lanes run along either side of the roadway and a greenway of trees through the center of the boulevard. Some runners prefer to run the greenway instead of the side walk, but we’ll leave that up to you. This quaint historic neighborhood is a great running spot!
Distance: Run up one side of the street and back down the other side for a 2.92-mile jog. The boulevard feeds into Deming Park, so take the run into Deming if you want to stretch your distance, or to take it even further, run the Deming-Dobbs Trail along Poplar Street and on into Dobbs Park. Another wide paved pathway can take you from the Deming Park entry at Ohio & Fruitridge north to Heritage Trail. Obviously, you have LOTS of options!
PRAIRIE CREEK PARK, ELLIOTT WOODS TRAIL
Prairie Creek Park sits on the outer part of Vigo County and is a must visit destination for runners. Elliot Woods Trail located within the park is one of our favorites in the area. The trails here are great for those pushing their beginner status with mild hills and shallow ravines. Not too difficult but still challenging. It consists of a gravel path and a fairly shaded canopy of trees, depending the time of year.
Distance: Starting in Prairie Creek Park, Elliott Woods trail is 1.87 miles long, connecting to the park to the nature preserve. It's just north of the park and an excellent loop for optimum scenery. Don't stop here thought, there’s plenty more to explore in Prairie Creek.
WABASHIKI FISH & WILDLIFE PRESERVE
Wabashiki park has beautiful trails sitting on the west side if the Wabash River. This consists of both soft trials and gravel trails that “run” through roughly 5 miles of neighborhoods, woods, wildlife and around natural landscape. This is an excellent place to come for those long runs. It’s a popular trail in the running community and allows visitors to escape the busyness of their daily lives and take a jog through the back woods in the peace and quiet.
Distance: Wabashiki has two distinct trails, a soft dirt trail and a gravel trail. The soft trail is approximately 3.1 miles long, twisting through the landscape of West Terre Haute. The gravel trail is 1.94 miles long and is tucked into the neighborhoods of the area, even passing by a few lakes.
With all the great places & spaces to walk, run bike and explore in Vigo County, this list isn't nearly comprehensive, but it should give you a great start on finding a few routes. Just know: there are many more! Want to connect with other area runners? Wabash Valley Roadrunners is a great local running club. Check them out online at www.wvrr.org. Enjoy the great outdoors in Vigo County!