If you represent the one in five adults who list staying healthy and fit as their New Years resolution, hopefully you’ve already shaken your New Year’s Eve hangover and burned off the tamales you ate over the holidays. In an effort to keep you from falling off the wagon, here are the best places to run in (and around) McAllen.
McAllen Hike & Bike Trails
McAllen’s Hike & Bike Trails offer 15 miles of paved pathways where cardio-lovers can bike, jog or walk through beautifully maintained and preserved landscapes. Whether you’re a lone wolf or you run with the pack, this non-gym conditioning is excellent for all levels of fitness. The Bicentennial Hike & Bike Trail is a 6.1-mile tree-lined trail that starts downtown and heads north, while the 2nd Street Hike & Bike trail weaves its 8.3-mile trail through more residential areas of the city. From pre-dawn to late night, the trails offer joggers a free alternative to breaking a sweat.
Good for: Intervals, long runs, easy runs
Firemen’s Park is a hidden away health-minded hangout featuring a paved running loop surrounding Town Lake, which measures exactly a half-mile around. Its uneven path is perfect for interval workouts, answering all your treadmill woes. If you’re looking to put in more miles, Firemen’s Park offers easy access to the 2nd Street Hike & Bike Trail too.
If you’ve fallen off your fitness routine, and good place to get back on the wagon is Bill Schupp Park. Its well-appointed running trail has more than a dozen recently upgraded exercise stations, making it the perfect way to add strength training along with conditioning without the added cost of a gym membership, so you can pocket the extra dough for a post-workout beer or two.
Good for: Intervals, tempo runs, easy runs
Did you know? 44% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions
Mission Hike & Bike Trail
Without question, the Mission Hike & Bike Trail is a favorite workout spot amongst running enthusiast. The trail offers a safe, uninterrupted option for outdoor runners with both paved and unpaved routes that can be mixed and matched to fit your fitness level and workout plan. For runners who prefer to go off the beaten path, Mission Hike & Bike Trail dishes out one of the best trail routes in South Texas, with miles of sweat-inducing pathways of varying intensities. Start off easy snaking your way through the Levy Run or blast your quads running up and down the hills of Psychopath or Wetback Trails. I head to Mission Trails for my long runs where the distance from the trail head to Bentsen State Park is exactly 5 miles, making it easy to put in a scenic 10-mile run. Ample parking, a shaded stretching area and decent restrooms are added amenities that make Mission Trails a top-tier destination for runners.
Good for: tempo runs, long runs, intervals, easy runs, hill work
Pro Tip: There are public restrooms and water fountains at Bentsen State Park, making it the perfect pit stop on long runs.
La Sal Del Rey
La Sal Del Rey, or “the King’s Salt”, is ideal for nature-loving runners. The 5,400-acre wildlife refuge is home to a variety of wildlife species, including javelina, bobcat, armadillo, white-tailed deer, butterflies and countless bird species, to name a few. The main attraction is its 530-acre salt lake, which is one of three naturally occurring salt lakes in South Texas, sitting on top of 4 million tons of salt, these hypersaline lakes are seven times saltier than the ocean, according the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services. Runners can enjoy winding around the carved out paths around the lake or run along its shoreline and enjoy nature while burning off those unwanted calories. Directions from McAllen: Go North on Hwy 281 for approx 20 miles. Exit 186 East for approx. four miles to the kiosk on the north side of the road. Download the park map here.
Good for: easy runs
Pro Tip: Sal Del Rey is a nature reserve, so take any water and supplies you need for a run or hike. There are no water fountains amongst the Tamualipan thornscrub.
Avoid the slippery slope of skipped workouts and broken promises disguised as another failed resolution, and head to one of these outdoor health havens to keep your bad habits at bay and your fitness goals on track.