I first experienced Wichita when I moved to this amazing city at age 15. To be honest, I loathed the fact I had to leave my home in the beautiful Northwest and was adamant Wichita was the ugliest place to live (forgive me ICT!). Luckily for me, we moved into an adorable home in Riverside which allowed me to explore many unique places in an around Wichita as well as cultivate my love of running. I’ve run along the Arkansas River, down the many quaint Riverside streets, along the outskirts of the city, in the city streets, through various parks, neighborhoods and more. And let me tell you…Wichita is anything but ugly and boasts a TON of wonderful areas to run. If you would like to explore our great city on foot, this list is for you!
The Arkansas River
The Arkansas River has over 14 miles of scenic running paths and is a great way to capture the beauty of Wichita. This path takes you through beautiful Riverside Park, past attractions like Cow Town, Water Walk and up and close to our beloved Keeper of the Plains.
Sedgwick County Park
Sedgwick County Park hosts many running events throughout the year, but it is also a wonderful place for anyone new to running as well as anyone training for their first race. This awesome park has running paths equaling over 8 miles of scenic running pleasure! The cool thing is, you can make it longer or shorter depending on the path you take! At Sedgwick County park, you will run by lakes & meadows, around the zoo, past kids playing & friend picnicking and so much more. You might even catch a Renaissance reenactment if you’re lucky!
K-96 Bike Path
This path is not just for those on two wheels – it’s enjoyed by many a runner as well. With over 8 miles to cover, it is a great place to enjoy a long run & test ones ability to run against the wind. This path is doesn’t provide much protection from the wind in the way of trees and…well, we live in Kansas. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying this great path! It has easy access at 127th & Central and also hooks up with Canal Hike & Bike Trail which will allow you to make a continuous loop around Wichita’s east side. It’s a long run though, so come prepared!
College Hill & Riverside Neighborhoods
Nobody can argue the fact both College Hill and Riverside are some of the cutest and most whimsical neighborhoods in Wichita as well as a fantastic place to run. Although sidewalks may be an issue, the charm of running down tree lined streets and lovely cottages in College Hill and past quaint Riverside dwellings will leave you wanting more! Not to mention, both Collage Hill and Riverside have some of the best coffee shops and juice bars (hello, Songbird Juice Co.!) where you can stop to relax after a good run.
I know what you’re thinking but stay with me here. I don’t know about you but there are times I am DYING to get a little silence. I crave it! I need it. A place where I can be alone and soak in the solitude. If this sounds like you too, then a quiet run on a country road is your place. I don’t do this often but I LOVE it every time I do. The sound of my feet hitting the gravel road, the mixed smells of fresh air & hay fields coupled with the absolute beauty of our great state of Kansas… it’s glorious! And something only a country road run can provide.