Now that one or two local road races are one your calendar, it’s time to get outside and get your training miles in. But where to run? The absence of summer traffic and crowds means you can run down Bellevue Ave or Memorial Drive relatively hassle-free this time of year. But if you don’t want to worry about traffic altogether, what are the alternatives to running the streets? Here are a few trails and paved paths where Rhode Island runners can train without having to worry about cars.
East Bay Bike Path
Training for a marathon or half marathon? Check out the East Bay Bike Path.This paved rail trail spans 14 miles along the Narragansett coastline from Independence Park in Bristol to India Point Park in Providence. If you run the entire path, you’ll pass through natural landscapes and urban enclaves alike. In Bristol, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Narragansett Bay. This is Rhode Island’s best-known rail-trail and may get a bit crowded on weekends, so heads up for bikers!
Blackstone River Greenway
The Blackstone River Greenway in the northeast corner of Rhode Island is an 11.8-mile trail spanning from Valley Falls in the south to Woonsocket in the north. Runners can train on these nearly 12 miles of asphalt alongside the Blackstone River, Blackstone Canal, historic old mills, mill towns, waterfalls and marshes. The trail ends just a short distance from downtown Providence and is a segment of a planned 48-mile route that will connect Providence with Worcester, MA eventually.
South County Bike Path
South Country Bike Path, also known as the William C. O’Neill Bike Path, is a beautiful place to train for long or short distance running. This very flat path currently spans 7 miles long but once completed, it will reach about 8 miles. It begins at Kingston train station and follows the old Narragansett Pier Railroad through Peace Dale, Wakefield, and ends at Mumford Road in Narragansett. On this trail you’ll also run through Great Swamp and lush, wooded areas – great for taking in fall foliage. Plenty of parking at the Kingston Station entrance.
Sachuest Wildlife Refuge
Beyond Second and Third Beach in Middletown are 242 acres of protected land with short trails and stunning views of the Sakonnet River. Sachuest Point’s 1.2 and 1.5 mile loops are great for shorter runs, but you might be tempted to stop a few times and take photos of the beautiful scenery and wildlife. The fall months will be too early to catch a sighting of the famous snowy owl, but the peninsula is an important stopover and wintering area for many other migratory birds.
Happy training! And don’t forget to sign up for one of the great road races happening in the area this fall.