A friend sent a few helpful links a few days ago for a potential running trail in Des Moines for my trip this week. The e-mail sparked an idea to share locations I have discovered and enjoyed running. I hope to continue adding some of my current favorite routes and new locations as I discover them.
James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area
1 mile east of Lee’s Summit on Ranson Rd and 1.5 miles south of Highway 50.
Even though it’s close to the city, once you start running here you feel 100s of miles from the nearest person. This location offers many different running trails and options. Most trails are horse riding trails which offers a soft running surface. Due to the often uneven terrain, I pick running here for slow-paced runs to ensure no injuries such as a twisted ankle. It also has a gravel hiking path that is a little over 1 mile.
The location also offers are great variety of wildlife. During my runs, I have seen deer, canadian geese, racoons, opossums, and a very fast cat-like creature that scared the living daylights out of me once. This is a great location to get away from the roads and enjoying nature.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Located near the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport at 3815 American Blvd., Bloomington, MN 55425.
Wonderful trail system that has large marsh areas near the Minnesota River. Running on these trails make it seem impossible that you are so close to a metropolitan area. Although I only ran the trails a few times, I was able to see lots of deer, many just a few feet away. A few words of caution, though. Since it’s near marshes, be sure to wear some type of bug repellant and nix the new shoes if you want to keep them clean.
Little Blue Trace Trail
I usually join the trail near Independence Center in Independence, MO.
A great 13 mile trail system that follows the Little Blue River. It is mostly gravel and provides a wide and stable running surface. The area offers lots of wildlife including deer and wild turkeys.