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Nov 04, 2008

Celebrate the end of the marathon season—and autumn’s arrival—with these scenic jaunts.

By FLYP Staff

Jealous of all your friends and family members who are completing marathons this marathon season? Or, did you just not get into one? Why not head out on a great trail near you for a short—or long—run. FLYP shows you where to go.

Northern Ambles
Where: Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
This one is hard to beat. Follow the Alaskan coastline on this 11-mile all-season jaunt (named for Sarah Palin’s predecessor in the governor’s office), which is equally pleasant for biking, in-line skating and, when the snow falls, cross-country skiing.
From its start in downtown Anchorage to its end point in Kincaid Park, the trail overlooks the world’s second largest tidal flats. But, do heed the signs and stay out of the mud: lives have occasionally been lost by hikers who got stuck and later drowned at high tide. There’s also a chance you’ll glimpse a moose somewhere on the journey, but here again, keep your distance!

Island Escape
Where: Diamond Head
If you can take the humidity, the path around this volcanic tuff cone, Oahu’s most famous landmark, provides ample rewards. The Diamond Head trail spans five miles of breathtaking, quiet landscape. Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction of feeling tougher than the multitude of sunbathers on Honolulu’s resort beaches below.
Fans of “Lost” can also take a voyeuristic thrill in the site’s occasional appearance in the backdrop of the TV series, which is filmed on location in Oahu.
The trail starts in the verdant Kapiolani Park and climbs along the crater. At five miles, the trail provides a good mid-distance run. If you’re looking for a lighter jaunt, stick to the Kapiolani perimeter loop, which is only two miles.

Loop the Lake
Where: Woodlawn Lake Park
For a breezy 1.3 miles (or for great mile repeats), hoof it around Woodlawn Lake, an 1880s development once dubbed “the finest artificial lake in
the South.”
Just northwest of downtown San Antonio, the 30-acre lake offers fishing, nearby tennis and softball facilities, and, by special request, non-motorized boating.
For a more substantive 6-mile workout, start at Jefferson High School and follow Kampmann Boulevard to Summit Avenue and Lake Boulevard, then run the lake loop before heading back. Or, just pack a barbecue picnic and enjoy the park’s 62 acres of pastoral beauty.

Historic Hoofing
Where: The Mount Vernon Trail
Release the stress in post-election Washington with an escape route that begins on the Virginian side of the Potomac River near Georgetown.
Before you head to the start, be sure to leave a car at the finish in Mount Vernon, located a full 20 miles away. For a loop, you can turn around at the halfway point in quaint Old Town Alexandria.
If you’re looking for something a little more manageable, head west when you get to Alexandria until you hit the Metro. Hopping on at the King Street stop shortens the run to around 11 miles.

Canal Careen
Where: Highline Canal
When Scotsman James Duff masterminded Denver’s Highline Canal in 1870, his intention was to irrigate farmland east of the city. There’s still an agricultural function for the water flowing along this 71-mile canal, but local city-dwellers appreciate it more for its aesthetic appeal.
Head southeast starting at Hampden Avenue, and small mile markers will guide you through the 19.5-mile roundtrip route. If you plan to tough it out for the full route, the water fountain at the center of the park marks your halfway point.

Hit the Beach
Where: Coronado Island
Get a slice of village life in the midst of sprawling San Diego by circling 20 miles around Coronado Island, which lies just across the bay from downtown and houses the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base.
Begin at the Hotel del Coronado and follow the bike path along Silver Strand Boulevard before hitting the turnaround point, which is a wooden footbridge. Then, make your way past the golf course, under the bridge and along the bay until you hit the Coronado Municipal Beach.
After a final stretch across sands that are consistently ranked among the country’s best, you can reward yourself with a lemonade and fish taco back at the starting point.

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