When I have to run anything further than 6 miles, there's a 99% chance I'm doing a lap of Central Park because I love Central Park. There are a million different trails if you need to change up your route and most importantly, I know I won't cheat my runs if I'm in Central Park! (If I'm in Prospect Park in Brooklyn I cheat ALL THE TIME. It's a weird mental block). But there's something magical about being able to escape the concrete jungle by winding through Central Park. If you're coming to New York City and you're thinking to yourself, "WHERE DO I RUN!?!?", this is how I run Central Park.
Now the majority of runners go clockwise around the paved loop of the park which is about a 6 mile course (and there's always ways to deviate). Not to hate on the loop, I love the loop, but I also love to change it up by running on some of the trails that run parallel to the loop.
I live in Brooklyn and when I run in Central Park, I either run up the West Side or take the 1 train to Columbus Circle and start right on the edge of 59th and Columbus Circle.
I go counter clockwise along the trail that hugs the west side.
(This is also a really great way to stay in the shade on warmer days.)
You get to go under some fun bridges.
And the trails are on dirt so it's a little easier on your knees.
Once you hit your third bridge, you're coming up on the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
One last little hill and you're there.
This is probably my favorite part of the park because the views across the water are SPECTACULAR.
After doing the full loop, you're around the 3 mile marker which is a perfect time to stop for water.
Then it's back on the trails!
After about 1/2 of a mile, I hop back onto the main road to go up the backside of Harlem Hill.
Once you hit the top of Harlem Hill, you get to go down the front side and then up another hill!
The fun part about doing the reverse loop is that you get to watch all the runners coming towards you and sometimes you run into your friends!
(Here it is going fast).
Once I round the top of that hill, I stop for water and hop back on the trail for about 1/4 of a mile.
Then it's back onto the loop!
You can guess why.
Don't forget to stop and say hi to Fred!
And check out the artwork on the East Side of the Park.
Then throw your claws up at the top of Cat Hill.
Once I hit the boat house (an excellent place to use the restroom or get some water), I hop onto the trail and run towards the fountain.
Get ready to dodge a ton of tourists but you're headed towards iconic Central Park sights so it's totally worth it!
There's always stuff going on in the Naumburg Bandshell so expect lots of people!
Then it's a straight shot down "The Mall" and back towards the main loop.
Hop back onto the main loop and circle back to Columbus Circle!
And there you have it! Depending on how much you weave, you should do about 8 miles! The best part about Central Park is that there are so many different trails to get lost on! So go explore! Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.