Top South Bend Running Trails

Visiting a different city doesn’t have to mean no exercise.

Instead we encourage you to pack those running shoes for your next trip to The Bend, which is home to several trails and running routes that are sure to pique your interest. They might even distract you enough to forget about whatever distance you’re planning to run. You can step outside a hotel in downtown South Bend and run along the St. Joseph River or do the same over in Mishawaka along its Riverwalk loop.

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

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.

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

On Notre Dame’s 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.

Mark Your Calendars for these Running Events

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.

Logan’s Run | Aug. 3

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 Logan’s Run 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 | Aug. 17

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.