Trail running in Brooklyn?! Trails in New York City? Yes, trails do exist. Although, okay, we're not always talking about your typical technical trail running kinds of trails here. We are in an urban concrete jungle in NYC, but these running trails still rival your traditional trails.
We've seen our share of horror movies to know well enough what happens to runners that just show up and start making rounds through an unfamiliar park. So, here are some of the not so scary running trails in Brooklyn that we highly recommend:
PROSPECT PARK, one of Brooklyn's most popular parks for running and trails is in the top spot for good reason. We run here a lot. It’s clean, well maintained, and accompanied by many friendly locals (well, most Brooklynites, like us, are generally cool people). We swear the air is fresher here, too. There’s a looped trail and bridle path where you can run almost 4 continuous miles! Then there’s the quiet atmosphere of the Long Meadow and a 90-acre stretch of slow rolling meadows will keep any runner focused. A favorite on the other end of the spectrum is the Drummers Grove section in the corner of the park, where high energy is contagious and motivating. On Sunday afternoons into the evening, you can run by a huge drum circle that goes for hours, and even pick up some fresh coconut water, juices and Ital food. Check out Prospect Park running map and trails, there are also some great events and free music all summer in the park.
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS PROMENADE is a tree edged spectacular. We run here at least once a week. With views of the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge this is a great area for runners who wish to scope out the scenery along the way. This run can be a quick couple miles, or extended to eight miles beginning from Park Slope and looping back around. We like to do our speed work on the Promenade. There’s also a short, steep hill nicknamed Jehovah’s Hill (hey, we didn’t name it) where we like to do hill repeats. Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
A winding, and scene-changing trail run is from the BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK, over the BROOKLYN BRIDGE, to EAST RIVER OUT AND BACK path. You may recognize this from our OnlyAtoms running photos, or the Airbnb NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon Expo location. We love running here. Beginning from Atlantic Avenue and through Pier 6 then follow path through to go up and over the Brooklyn Bridge. Coming down into Manhattan, take a right through pedestrian plaza and north on to open air and watch the calming water. If you go early, you may see locals of Chinatown practicing Tai Chi on the Manhattan riverfront. Half decent at following directions and not prone to getting lost, this is a great spot to run away from the congestion of buildings to the open, water filled breezes. When you've had your fill, turn around and go back where you came from for a nice Brooklyn to Manhattan out-and-back run.
GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY overlooks most of its surrounding area, Prospect Park included at the high point of the region. A hilly run (and distinctively creepy as it remains open as an active cemetery) being still in business for catering to the non-running side of life, all excessively physical activities are restricted to the perimeter. Many add this on to a loop through Prospect Park as it's only a little over three miles, however keep in mind the great span of elevation you'll see on your loop around. The only two concerns to bear in mind is first that the sidewalk from 20th to 7th street has seen better days so watch out for spots needing repair! Secondly when hitting 36th street, cross over to the side for use of the sidewalk as the outer edge of the cemetery narrows considerably. Green-wood Cemetary visitor info here. Oh, and did we mention the hills? Well, if you’re training for races like the Boston Marathon or TCS NYC Marathon, this is your place.
A peaceful run in FORT GREENE PARK is a great start to the morning, opening up at six. Three loops around the park is a 5K and hosts startling views with a monument to the Prison Ship Martyrs. Fort Greene is one of Brooklyn’s most beautiful neighborhoods. And, ask any NYC Marathon runner – the section through Fort Greene, miles 8-10, is one the best parts of the marathon with crazy cheering crowds on both sides.
Full of places to appreciate scenery, history and culture all on the go, any of Brooklyn's favorite running paths and trails are worth a visit.
Be sure to give us a shout if you’re coming to Brooklyn or New York City, we’d love to go for a run with you! Just let us know here: Twitter @OnlyAtoms, Instagram @OnlyAtomsNYC or Facebook/OnlyAtoms