Top South Bend Running Trails

Run sights along these trails are distracting enough that you will be tempted to forget pace and stop for the views. Lace up your shoes and hit the great running trails along the Riverwalk, through the parks and around the lakes at the University of Notre Dame. To see a full map of trails in and around the area, click here.

A 5-mile loop known as the Riverwalk follows the St. Joseph River, which slips past Battell, Beutter and Central parks.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.20.18 PMAt the western end of the loop, Kate’s Garden blooms with thousands of perennials and annuals. At the east end, the river makes a statement as it rushes over a dam. In between, bridges cross to shady Kamm Island. Linking the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend, the 3.5-mile East Bank Trail crosses bridges above the river and East Race Waterway, goes through Viewing and Howard parks, and passes the bungalow and Craftsman-style homes of Harters Heights. On the University of Notre Dame campus, routes range from a half-mile lap around the stadium to 3.8 miles around the edge of campus, passing a nine-hole golf course and farm fields.

For classic views, try the 1.3-mile loop from the main building past the quad and up Notre Dame Avenue or the 2 miles of trails around St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s lakes, where the Golden Dome and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart’s Gothic Revival-style spire tower above the trees.


SUNBURST RACES  / (JUNE 2) A family-friendly walk Friday night kicks off the 35th annual event in downtown South Bend. Saturday’s 5K, 10K, and half and full marathons draw 10,000-some people.

URBAN ADVENTURE GAMES / (JULY 28) The Urban Adventure Games is a thrilling scavenger hunt that rallies teams of two to explore South Bend Mishawaka on bicycle and by foot as they complete a series of top-secret physical and mental obstacles. Created in 2009, this “Scavenger Hunt on Steroids” is one of the most unique races in the United States and continues to grow in size every year.


LOGAN’S RUN / (AUGUST 4) Logan Center clients (people with disabilities) and family start the race day with a 1-mile fun walk through the University of Notre Dame campus. The pack follows to complete a 10K or 5K run/ walk to raise funds for Logan Center. A family fun fest and pancake breakfast follow.

RUNNING WILD / (AUGUST 18) This 5K through St. Patrick’s County Park lives up its name by sending runners across fields, grass and gravel. A 3K Wacky Scavenger Hunt Walk takes a similar route but on flat surfaces. Proceeds benefit the park department.

ST. JOE RIVER RACES / (SEPTEMBER 22) It’s a wet sprint when paddlers race from Veterans’ Memorial Park in the 13th annual St. Joe River biathlon (5K run and 3-mile paddle) or the 3- or 7.2-mile paddle races for canoes or kayaks.