Fresno is an agricultural city with plenty of trails and parks where runners with an active lifestyle can easily explore on foot. And with three rivers running through the city and incredible nearby national parks like Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon, what’s not to love? Here are some of our recommended top 10 running trails in Fresno for visitors and locals alike.
1. Lewis S. Eaton Trail
The Lewis S. Eaton Trail is a paved 5-mile trail that runs along the San Joaquin River Parkway in northern Fresno. It meanders through Woodward Park (the top running spot in the city) and takes you on a beautiful route along a bluff overlooking the San Joaquin River. The views are fantastic, and the park offers a good balance of shady areas and wide open spaces. The trail also has wide dirt shoulders if you prefer off-road running. Once you complete your run, consider walking around the beautiful Shinzen Japanese Gardens (also located at Woodward Park) to cool down.
Tips: The Lewis S. Eaton Trail also connects to the MacMichael Loop Trail for an additional 1.5 miles.
2. Fresno County Blossom Trail
The Fresno County Blossom Trail is a unique and stunning 10-mile self-guided road route. It’s more common for vehicles or cyclists to peruse this route, but you can also run it. We recommend just picking a section of it to enjoy on foot. The trail is a one-of-a-kind experience featuring gorgeous panoramic views of flowering fruit trees and fragrant blossoms. You’ll run past various flowering trees on the route, including apricot, peach, plum, almond, nectarine, apple, and citrus varieties. For the best views, we recommend running the Fresno County Blossom Trail during February and March, which is peak flowering season.
Tips: The orchards along the road are private property, so stay on the pavement or shoulder. Dogs are also discouraged, but if you do bring yours, keep them on a leash.
3. Sky Harbor Road
For an excellent road running experience, head north of Fresno to Millerton Lake State Recreation Area to Sky Harbor Road. The route runs along the east side of Millerton Lake, offering 6 miles of scenic road running with views that stretch out over the water. The first two miles of the trek are relatively flat, but things quickly get challenging with a steep 500-foot climb over the next 1.5 miles. If you’re up for the challenge, it’s well worth the 30-minute drive from Fresno.
Tips: Be aware that Sky Harbor Road does not have a shoulder. Watch for vehicle traffic and make sure you’re highly visible while running.
4. Clovis Old Town Trail
The Clovis Old Town Trail is an 8-mile off-road trail with access northeast of downtown Fresno, near the airport. Although it’s not as scenic as many other options on this list, the Clovis Old Town Trail is a solid off-road running option with plenty of distance. It also runs right through the center of Fresno’s sister town, Clovis, offering a peek into the area known as Old Town Clovis, which has been restored to its early 19th-century appearance—historic train depot and all! The trail transitions into the Sugar Pine Trail on Willow Avenue, which will take you to northern Fresno, and the trail’s end near the River Park Shopping Center.
Tips: There are convenient access points all along the trail and plenty of nearby restaurants if you want to grab a bite to eat after your run.
5. Tesoro Viejo Trails
Tesoro Viejo offers over 14 miles of off-road trails encircling the Hillside Village neighborhood and meandering through a stunning natural landscape. The picturesque trails are about 30 minutes north of Fresno and feature a fishing pond and Buck Meadow, a beautiful preserved open space where visitors have reported buck sightings. While running the trails here and exploring the historic farm roads, you’ll also encounter landmarks like The Grotto, a unique rock formation, the Tesoro Viejo Tree Nursery, Friant Dam, and sweeping views of the gorgeous Sierra Mountains. You can choose from a sprawling network of trails to find the ones that best suit your desired distance, scenery, and difficulty. The options include:
- Tesoro Viejo Trail – 3.5 miles, moderate to difficult
- Hillside Loop Trail – 3.7 miles, easy to moderate
- Creekside Connection Trail – 1.3 miles, easy to moderate
- Tesoro Nuevo Trail – 2.2 miles, moderate
- Lost Oaks Trail – 1.5 miles, moderate to difficult
- Big Canyon Trail – 2 miles, moderate
Tips: The trails are open from dawn to dusk, and you can bring your dog. Just be on the lookout for the natural wildlife in the area, including
6. Oso de Oro Park
Oso de Oro Park is a modest park located in northwest Fresno. The main path that winds its way around the park is ideal for runners who want an easily accessible, flat, and paved option off the city’s main roads. The entire trail is concrete or a boardwalk surface with railings and is at least 5 feet wide, leaving plenty of space to share the path with other runners, walkers, and cyclists. Benches and picnic tables along the route make it all too convenient to stop for a break when needed, and the abundant shade and tranquil water views are lovely too.
Tips: Oso de Oro Park was designed to be accessible for people who use a wheelchair or are visually impaired. The trail grade is 1% or less, it’s extra wide, and the green space also features a maze for visually-impaired park goers.
7. Thomas MacMichael Loop Trail
The Thomas MacMichael Loop Trail (also known as the cow loop) is another great trail located on the north side of Fresno’s Woodward Park. It’s a paved 1.5-mile loop that wraps around the center of the park. The entire route is paved and relatively flat for an easy run. It also has some pretty scenery since it leads you down to the banks of the San Joaquin River, where you can enjoy the tranquil water views.
Tips: This trail connects to the popular Lewis S. Eaton Trail, which you can add to your run for additional mileage and scenery.
8. San Joaquin River Gorge
The San Joaquin River Gorge is a scenic natural area that straddles the San Joaquin River, just upstream from Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, about an hour north of Fresno. This natural playground includes land in Fresno and Madera Counties and is a hotspot for trail runners who love adventure. With more than 20 miles of multi-use trails, there’s something for runners of all experience levels. Plus, you can return to this recreation area repeatedly and experience something different on every run! The Dumna and Kechayi Native Americans once called the San Joaquin River Gorge home and still practice many cultural traditions and ceremonies on the land. The trail names are also derived from their native language.
Tips: A day use pass for the San Joaquin River Gorge costs $5. You can also stay overnight at one of three campgrounds onsite for an additional fee.
9. Fig Garden District
Looking for great residential running in Fresno? Look no further than the Fig Garden District. It’s a charming residential area in the heart of Fresno with plenty of great spots for running. The quiet neighborhood is filled with historic homes featuring unique architecture, large lots, and tree-lined streets. As you run through the six-mile area, you’ll enjoy plenty of shade provided by the mature trees and lots of parks where you can stop off to rest or stretch after your run.
Tips: The Fig Garden District is also close to many popular Fresno restaurants and shopping centers if you want to refuel after your run or enjoy some retail therapy.
10. Courthouse Park Loop
The Courthouse Park Loop is a trail in central Fresno that wraps around Courthouse Park, the center of county government. The shady path is great for a leisurely run. It wraps around the various government buildings on the grounds, including the County Courthouse, Law Library, sheriff’s office, and the Hall of Records. All and all, it’s an easy and short run (less than a mile), but it’s convenient if you want a place to run in the center of the city that doesn’t require traveling to the outskirts of Fresno or beyond.
Tips: Courthouse Park also has many memorials that offer insight into the history, culture, and distinctiveness of the city of Fresno. If you’re visiting the area, take your time and check them out as you run!
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