North to south, east to west, and everywhere in between, you are hard pressed to find a city in the United States that offers as many paved trail options as Lincoln provides. Through scenic Pioneers Park to Holmes Lake, Antelope Valley and more, chances are you will find some quiet, relaxing miles in and around Lincoln, but also a place where you can push the tempo and maximize a workout or two.
Lincoln offers a close knit and friendly running community that is welcoming to newcomers and visitors alike. Both the Lincoln Running Company and Fleet Feet also provide training classes if you are new to the sport, running in a few races here or there or are trying to hit that marathon PR. The Lincoln Running Company and Fleet Feet are excellent stores with the latest and best merchandise, accessories and knowledgeable staff to help you along your running journey.
With over 131 miles of trails to choose from, one of the most popular is the Mopac Trail, which spans nearly 27 miles from west Lincoln all the way through the city and east to the Wabash Trailhead. The crushed-stone pathway provides scenic views and through the smaller communities of Walton, Eagle and Elmwood. MoPac East begins just south of 84th and O Street and continues east for nearly 22 miles while MoPac West begins at the same 84th Street trailhead and moves west by UNL’s East Campus and all the way to 17th and Vine streets.
Rock Island Trail
The Rock Island Trail takes you from north to south by such scenic spots as the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Antelope Park, UNL’s City Campus and more. This paved trail has numerous shady spots and eventually concludes at Densmore Park. You can also traverse the Jamaica North Trail, which begins at its southern point near 25th and Saltillo Road and jaunts north to near Robber’s Cave in southwest Lincoln. Should you want to head a little further south, the Jamaica North Trail also connects to the Homestead Trail, which stretches all the way south to Beatrice.
Lincoln’s residential neighborhoods can also provide some excellent running and a chance to see the unique parts of the community. Sheridan Boulevard stretches from South Street heading southeast to Calvert Street, approximately three miles in total. Mahoney Park in northeast Lincoln features a loop around softball fields, tennis courts and more and connects to the Murdock Trail, which features both crushed stone and asphalt surfaces.
The Lincoln Marathon and Half Marathon are two of the most popular races in the Midwest. Now in its 46th year in 2023, the Lincoln Marathon is filled with great experiences running through the streets of Lincoln, ranging from the cheering crowds to the scenic neighborhoods and relatively flat course. This year, over 5,000 runners will take to the streets on May 7 and accomplish their fitness goals and snag a PR or two. Be sure to say hi to the gentleman wearing a tuxedo and handing out water along South 48th Street near Union College!
The Lincoln Track Club and Pink Gorilla Events put on other races throughout the year of varying distances, including the Good Life Halfsy, Buffalo Run, Lincoln Mile and more.