If you like a hard-packed dirt trail, the challenge of rolling hills and avoiding vehicle traffic, the 2.91-mile Al Buehler Trail is a good fit.
The only traffic you might face is minimal: when you cross a small road that leads up to the Washington Duke Inn as you traverse the trail, which goes around the Duke University Golf Club.
It’s convenient for Duke students to run to the trail and there are a couple of parking options along Cameron Boulevard.
Here is a photo gallery of the trail, which was named after the legendary former Duke and Olympic track and field coach. It features several emergency call boxes, three bridges over creeks, distance markers every quarter-mile and two water fountains. Without lighting over the vast majority of the trail, you shouldn’t run there before sunrise or after sunset.
You can detour on a 0.11-of-a-mile connector trail to take the 0.58-of-a-mile Sally Meyerhoff Fitness Loop. It has stations where you can stop and do specific exercises, if that fits into your fitness plan.
There are some challenging hills but none more daunting than when running counterclockwise into a severe uphill near Cornwallis Road. It forces you to run on your toes and your heartbeat to rise quickly if you try to push your pace.
This is a trail to avoid the day after it rains a lot because it will get muddy in places. Ruts form in spots when it rains for a number of days.
This is a particularly appealing running option when it’s very hot because of the shade that the trail offers.
One negative to the trail is that there are no easily accessible bathrooms.
Unlike some other trails in Durham, you rarely hear reports about attacks, although there was one a few years ago. And the only traffic you’ll hear is when running on the portion of the trail that is close to the U.S. 15–501 Bypass.