New Orleans is home to many beautiful parks and greenspaces. Within these parks you’ll find trails perfect for jogging, biking, or just strolling along. As the seasons change, one thing about these trails remains the same: they offer an urban oasis—an escape—from the hustle and bustle of the city surrounding them. Go ahead—turn your phone off and lace up those tennis shoes. These trails are awaiting your arrival.
Located in the heart of Uptown, the 1.8-mile jogging path encircling Audubon Park is a favorite of avid runners. Luckily, for those who prefer walking, the path is divided to allow for a natural flow of traffic. The scenery within the park offers a peaceful retreat from its city surroundings. I recommend grabbing a pair of skates to rollerblade around the park on a Sunday afternoon or breaking from the path to visit the Audubon Zoo.
New Orleans City Park
There are lots of spots to go on a walk in City Park, but the newest stretch of the bike/ walking path is open and ready to go. The Marconi Bike Path on the west side of the park allows those looking for a little exercise to get it in beautiful scenery. On this path, you’ll overlook the horses at the Equest Farm as they roam about freely. If you decide to take a detour at Filmore Avenue, you’ll run into the golf course. Keep going and you’ll hit Big Lake near the New Orleans Museum of Art, which includes a path encircling the small body of water. The trail combinations are endless in City Park, and each new one gives nature-lovers a chance to see even more of it.
Connecting Mid-City and Tremé with Downtown New Orleans, the Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile trail perfect for jogging, bicycling, or simply taking a stroll. Since its opening in November 2015, the Greenway has seen landscaping improvements including 500 shaded trees and storm water retention features. A walk along the ever-improving linear park is a great way to see different parts of the city.
Audubon Louisiana Nature Center
The long-awaited return of the Audubon Nature Center has finally come. Returning 12 years after Hurricane Katrina hit and destroyed the Center, it is back and better than ever with a botany center, planetarium, and 86 acres of nature to explore. The native forest surrounding the Center has been restored with three new walking trails for everyone to enjoy: the one-mile long Boardwalk, the Adventure Trail, and the Discovery Trail. As the seasons change, so does the scenery at each trail.
The New Orleans Lakefront offers a 4 mile stretch of land perfect for jogging, biking, or just walking along. While it’s always fun to hop in the car and take a drive down Lakeshore Drive, it’s nice to get out and see the water for yourself. With so many beautiful views, I’d say my favorite has to be the view from atop the bridge where St. Bernard Avenue intersects Lakeshore Drive. Look one way and you’ll see the water, turn the other way and you’ll see downtown New Orleans as it blends into City Park. There are lots of opportunities for a hard workout on the Lakefront, with the most challenging being the steep levees. After you’ve gotten your exercise in, reward yourself with a bite to eat from one of the restaurants at West End.
In the Bywater you’ll find this gem of a park. The 1.4-mile, 20-acre urban park features bike paths, a dog run, and pavilions for their signature events. Run alongside the train or get your step count in by heading atop the arch for an incredible view of the city. Check out the Piety Gardens and the two wharfs along the way.