Running can be a quite a chore, and exercise, in general, is quite a feat. Throughout college, I have maintained my fitness through running, but I have never fully liked it. The same old routine with the blank-walled, machine-filled gym has never been easy to get used to. I've decided to make a much needed change—embracing running trails around the University of Florida. 

This was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The greenery, the change of scenario, the silence, the contentment of the people were all part of an essential therapy for me after a chaotic week of responsibilities. It felt less like a chore and more like a luxury. More importantly, I got the chance to learn so much more about the city of Gainesville.

Previously, I had trapped myself into sticking around my apartment and the University of Florida's campus. I was able to break out of my comfort zone (finally!) and explore the hidden treasures of Gainesville. So, if you are looking for a close, private getaway or a place to spice up your running routine, these routes are for you. 

Morning Side Nature Center

Vanessa Wong

This is the farthest of all of the trails, but it is absolutely the most worth it. In fact, I would say this trail was my personal favorite.

The reason why I loved this trail the most was, primarily, the soil. This trail had optimal ground for running—it was soft, didn't have too many sticks, and it didn't hurt my knees. I noticed that when I run on trails, sometimes I have an issue with the ground being too hard. This wasn't a problem here. If you have the same issue, hit this trail up.

Theresa Grandoff

Secondly, the trail was narrow enough that you felt you were running through the trees; however, there was enough room to swerve a little. Lastly, the trail was so green and full of life. It was the mood booster that I definitely needed. Hopefully you will feel the same way. 

This trail is definitely worth the drive. If you have a chance, try it out. 

Sweetwater Wetlands Park

coffee, beer, milk, wine
Vanessa Wong

Sweetwater Wetlands Park has everything that you could ever want from a trail. The trail is long enough to fit in a couple of miles, there are slight hills for that extra burn, it's close in proximity, and the field is open with several lakes. It is fairly populated, in comparison to others, but this was not an issue due to the wide paths. Lastly, it has several rest points so you can sit and admire the view. However, you have to bring $5 to park and $2 if you are a pedestrian. 

Overall, I would say that this trail is definitely worth checking out.

Loblolly Woods Nature Park

pasture, grass
Vanessa Wong

Loblolly Woods Nature Park is a treat for those who love to be surrounded by trees. You're immersed in the forest once you enter the trail. The trail is roughly 1.5 miles long when run at full. Therefore, it's not the best for those looking for a long run. However, those looking for a short but sweet run will be delighted by this trail. It has two rest points to sit and admire the scenery—a delightful immersion of forest green.

SW 23rd Terrace Trail

date, beer, coffee
Theresa Grandoff

Where are my Gainesville Place, Campus Lodge, University Club people at? This trail is perfect for those who live in those apartments and others nearby. Not only is it super accessible, but it's a quick workout because of the intensity of those hills. It isn't technically a trail, however. It's more of a long sidewalk that has many hills and is surrounded by scenery (that's kind of what a trail is like right?).

beer, coffee, tea
Vanessa Wong

If you're nearby, I would say to give this route a try when you're feeling a time crunch. Even if you don't live nearby, this trail is only a quick 9 or 35 bus away.

The Stadium 

Vanessa Wong

Last, but certainly, not the least: the University of Florida stadium. Located in the center of campus, the location is a hard one to beat. This is a great place to run up the stairs, feeling as one with your fellow Gators. Additionally, it can be turned into a running trail through running circles around the edge. The view of the sun descending as you finish a few laps is unlike any other. 

Now that you've been exposed to the absolutely gorgeous running trails around Gainesville, kick off your pajamas, get those running shoes on, and get out onto a trail. In need of more tips about running? Check out this article.