Explore Ames’ running trails


By Alyssa Gonzalez [email protected]

Reactor Woods, Hope Run Loop, Bike Path/Stuart Smith Park and Vet Med/Squaw Creek Park offer a variety of trails to run on in Ames. The trails range from 2.5 miles to 6.5 miles in distance. 

Carlie Howard

Iowa State’s campus is truly gorgeous — especially during fall. Even outside of the hustle and bustle of campus, Ames is full of additional beautiful and scenic running routes for runners at all levels. 

Brookside Park Trail, 5.69 miles

1. Starting at the Memorial Union, head east down Lincoln Way and across University Boulevard. After crossing, there is a walking path that heads down a hill on the south side of the sidewalk.

2. Turn left here and follow the pathway along Squaw Creek and through the woods. This pathway ends at the intersection of University Boulevard and 6th Street.

3. Turn left on 6th Street and follow the sidewalk past the skater park.

4. After passing the skater park the walking path continues swinging south off of the sidewalk. This trail will loop around under a bridge and head north.

5. Continue north on this pathway through Brookside Park. This trail will cross Squaw Creek and end at 13th Street.

6. Cross 13th Street and head north toward the Furman Aquatic Center. At the end of the parking lot, there is another waking path that curves up a hill toward Ames High School.

7. Head up this trail and turn right when the trail comes to a T at the top of the hill. This path will turn into a driveway at the high school.

8. Continue straight and cross Ridgewood Avenue.

9. Head east on 16th street until reaching Grand Avenue.

10. Turn right heading south on Grand Avenue until reaching Lincoln Way.

11. Turn right on Lincoln Way and head south until you reach the Memorial Union.

This route can be shorted to 3.6 miles by continuing straight on 6th Street in step 4 until reaching Grand Avenue. Then follow steps 10 and 11.

Ada Hayden route, 2.74 miles

Ada Hayden Park is located off of Grand Avenue just north of North Grand Mall in Ames. It has a beautiful fishing lake, picnic areas, trails and more. One of the trails around the lake is 2.74 miles. Running from the Memorial Union around the Ada Hayden Lake and back is 10.78 miles.

Mortensen Road and Ames Middle School, 5.03 miles

Another scenic route passes through the outskirts of Ames and Ames Middle School. There is sidewalk down Ash Avenue and Lincoln Way. South Dakota Avenue and Mortensen Road have a walking and biking path to run on. It is a box route that creates a simple, relaxing run.

Iowa State has its own course dedicated to the cross-country team. The course is conveniently located on Mortensen Road across from Wallace and Wilson residence halls. It can be ran by the public while it is not being used for ISU athletic events.

The Ames area is full of different and fun running routes for anyone to enjoy.