If you are looking for a run on the Duke campus and don’t want to deal with the hills of the Buehler Trail or street traffic, the 1.6-mile East Campus trail is a solid choice.
Other than a couple of places where cars are entering parking lots and crossing Campus Drive, you don’t have to contend with cars or traffic on the soft-gravel trail.
If you just want to do several loops to get in your miles, you can. Or, you can also add a few miles by running under the bridge on Campus Drive for a run to the front of Duke Chapel and back for some picture-postcard running.
You do have to look out for tree roots and ruts in places on the East Campus trail, and it can get a little muddy when there has been a lot of rain. But it’s an ideal running spot in just about any other weather. When it’s very hot, there’s welcome shade on about half of the loop.
This is a trail that runners and walkers generally have to themselves because it’s not the best option for cyclists. You’ll see families with strollers and all sorts of runners.
On many weekend mornings during the school year, you’ll see more people on this trail than just about any in Durham, even the American Tobacco Trail.
If you enjoy evening runs after sunset, there is decent lighting and there are emergency call boxes for your safety.
Parking can be tricky but there usually are spaces on neighboring streets. Don’t park at the Bull City Market shopping center, which includes Whole Foods. The lot is monitored to ensure that only customers are using it.
One negative is that there aren’t any easily accessible public bathrooms other than those at the shopping center.