Top South Bend Running Trails

If you’re a runner, you’ll find The Bend a great spot for your favorite form of exercise.

There are several trails and running routes to accommodate different distances, many of which run along the St. Joseph River for a scenic distraction.

Mishawaka Riverwalk Loop

Let’s talk a little bit more about that 5-mile Riverwalk loop in downtown Mishawaka. It follows the St. Joseph River, which slips past Battell, Beutter and Central parks.

MORE INFO: Mishawaka Riverwalk 5K Path 

At 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.

Notre Dame’s Campus

Routes on this iconic campus range from a half-mile lap around the stadium to 3.8 miles skirting the edge of campus, passing a nine-hole golf course.

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. You can cap your run with a visit to the Grotto.

East Bank Trail

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 Howard and Kernan parks then passes the bungalow and Craftsman-style homes of Harter Heights.

Running Events Around The Bend

Warmer temperatures mean the return of outdoor races. Cinco de Miles, which takes place along the Mishawaka Riverwalk, takes place in early May every year. South Bend’s Sunburst Races is in early June. Sunburst features a 5K fitness walk, 5K run, 10K run and a half marathon. Although these events have passed, there are more notables in the future.

Wine Run 5K | July 12

Ironhand Vineyard put together this run along with several local partners. The course takes you along the St. Joseph River. Registration includes a shirt, souvenir wine glass and a finisher medal.

Logan’s Run | Aug. 1 (tentative)

Planned for August, it’s unclear right now what Logan’s run will look like in 2020 due to coronavirus. The course is usually around Notre Dame’s campus with a 10K, 5K or walk available. The race benefits Logan Center, which supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Sunburst Races | Aug. 8

Originally scheduled for June 6, Sunburst postponed in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The Bend’s flagship race offers a half marathon, 10K, 5K, and 5K fitness walk. The course runs through downtown South Bend and includes a finish inside Notre Dame Stadium, although that is subject to change.

Running Wild | Aug. 15

This 5K trail run through St. Patrick’s County Park lives up its name by sending runners across fields, grass and gravel. A 3K walk follows a similar path but on flat surfaces. Proceeds benefit the St. Joseph County Parks Department.