Before the weather becomes frigid and students pack into the crowded SERF, Madison offers plenty of options to work out while also taking in some scenery.
Stephen Matthias, University of Wisconsin Running Club’s president, lists some of the best routes the isthmus offers:
1. Maple Bluff/Dengel Bay: 7.99 miles — Heading east of downtown, you’ll hug Lake Mendota’s shoreline for most of the route. Much of the route is located in the tranquil Maple Bluff neighborhood, a far cry from the noise-laden streets of campus. The route, which passes near the governor’s mansion, offers stunning views of the capitol as well.
2. Owen Parkway: 4.74 miles — This run takes you west of campus, into neighborhoods located in Madison’s hills. Once at the crest of Owen Parkway, the route offers wide-ranging views of Madison’s west side.
3. Picnic Point: 6.58 miles — A spin on the typical Picnic Point route, this run visits the classic lookout point, but then continues to the northwest instead of turning back to campus. You’ll trace the shore northwest of picnic point, which offers views of the lake best seen at sunset.
4. Arboretum Drive: 5.59 miles — This route runs along the shore of Lake Wingra, offering great views of the lake while taking you through a Madison must-see: the Arboretum.
5. Monona Bay: 3.93 miles — Despite having to deal with noisy John Nolen Drive, which the Capital City State Trail runs along, this route offers unique skyline views before making its way onto South Shore Drive — the quiet side of Monona Bay.