Whether you are just in town for the day or have lived in Naperville your entire life, chances are that you have not visited all of the running paths and trails that Naperville has to offer. Between the riverwalk, bike paths, and the extensive forest preserve system, you can get miles and miles of running in with differing terrain and new and exciting scenery. Rather than running through the roads and around your neighborhood over and over, try out some of these great running spots!
The Naperville River-walk
This is probably the most famous landmark of the town. The beautiful and extensive river-walk follows the Dupage River for almost 2 miles right through the heart of downtown. It is a must see location in this town and great for an easy run to take in the excitement. However, it may get crowded at points so steer clear if you have a heart workout on tap as you may collide with some joggers or walkers. Also, it is almost entirely brick and concrete, so if you are looking for a nice soft surface for your run, there are better options. Either way, you should visit the river-walk either during a run or later in the day to take in the great scenery.
For a more serious and focused run there is a river-walk extension that continues for miles from each end of the downtown river-walk. This path is entirely pavement and is designed for runners and bikers. If you follow the extension from the North West end you have about a mile before you will hit the McDowell forest preserve which I will talk about later. On the other end you need to take about a half mile neighborhood detour but then will have over 5 miles of a great pavement path that will take you to Dupage river park, where you can veer off onto their several miles of dirt and wood-chip trails.
McDowell Forest Preserve
As I mentioned earlier, if you follow the river-walk extension from to the North West end you eventually run into McDowell Forest Preserve. This forest preserve features about 5 miles of limestone path as well as several miles of single-track forest paths if that is more your speed. Either way it is great soft surface for running as well as a great place to witness nature. This path eventually continues to join up with other options such as Blackwell Forest Preserve, Herrick Lake, or the Prairie path.
Herrick Lake, Blackwell, and the Prairie Path
I combines these three options together as they are situated very close however each one has enough trails to serve as its own running adventure. Herrick Lake continuing onto Danada Forest Preserve supplies about 8 miles of trails, so a 16 miles round trip run with the option to add on around the mile loop around the lake itself. Blackwell similarly offers about 5 miles of trails but what is featured here is the hill. If you are looking to get in a hill workout or just an extra challenge you should go to Blackwell and try running up the hill. It is approximately half a mile and very steep. You will get a great workout with only a couple trips up the hill. Your last option in this part of town is the Prairie Path. Whether you choose to go North or West on this path, you will have limestone trails for as long as you need (unless you are planning on running an ultramarathon and then you may need to repeat some parts).
Greene Valley Forest Preserve
This forest preserve is on the opposite side of town but offers similar traits to these trails. It features up to 8 miles of trails with a mix of woodchip and limestone surfaces to suit your preferences. The hill here is arguably larger than Blackwell however it is less steep. Either way, also a great place to get a hard hill workout in.
Although the running routes are by no means limited to these locations, these offer the best surfaces and scenery for your workout. Feel free to explore other places for yourself but at the very least, give a couple of these a try rather than just running the roads or even worse, skipping your workout on your vacation!