Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

From Boyer to Bennington: Running Trails In, Around Walla Walla

Sports.Cooper-Ellis.Issue #8. Running Route
Illustration by Sophie Cooper-Ellis

The Walla Walla area provides plenty of scenic trails for Whitman runners, from beginners to cross country studs. Here are a few essential routes to check out.

Route One: Pioneer Park

Distance: From corner of Boyer Avenue and Stanton Street, approximately two miles round-trip (including one lap around the park)

The relaxed runner’s dream, this route has the appeal of being both short and interesting. Easy to find, Pioneer Park is a beautifully maintained park less than a mile away from campus. In addition to rolling hills and enormous trees, the park sports a gazebo, a pond and an aviary with birds ranging from colorful peacocks to majestic swans. This run is what you make of it. It is easy to do a quick two-miler or get lost watching the birds.

Route Two: Mill Creek (Kingfisher) Trail

Distance: From corner of Boyer Avenue and Stanton Street, approximately 7.6 miles round-trip. From Eastgate Lions Park (head of the trail), five miles roundtrip

One of the most scenic runs around Walla Walla, make the choice to leave from school or from the head of the trail 1.3 miles away. The Mill Creek Trail borders Mill Creek, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project originally built in 1948. There are trails on both sides of the creek –– one side is paved for biking while the other side is hard gravel for walking or running. The trail loops around Rooks Park, making the distance perfect for a moderately experienced runner. Be careful though, as this reporter has been attacked by a dog and gotten a flat tire on the trail.

Route Three: Bennington Lake

Distance: From corner of Boyer Avenue and Stanton Street, approximately 10.5 miles round-trip.

For those looking to add distance to the Mill Creek Trail, cross the creek just after passing Walla Walla Community College and head towards Bennington Lake. This is the most rural and scenic set of trails around Walla Walla. There are many trails around the lake, so it is easy to shorten or lengthen runs when necessary. Make sure to look to the north for a nice view of the Blue Mountains, and on a hot day there is always the possibility of giving your body a rest with a swim in the only public lake within 45 minutes of Walla Walla.

Route Four: Wheat fields

Distance: From corner of Isaacs Avenue and Penrose Avenue, 3.75 miles round-trip (part A) or runner’s discretion (part B).

A staple of the Whitman runner’s diet has always been a healthy dose of running through the wheat fields. There are two ways to get there, but the safer and more recommended one is by running through the underpass next to Borleske Stadium. From there, take a sharp right and head up the hill next to Highway 12, then after a little over half a mile turn left onto Lower Waitsburg Road. The road winds its way through the fields for 15 miles before running into Highway 124, allowing runners to turn back whenever they want. If running on the road does not suit you, turn left about 500 yards down the road and run around Veterans Memorial Golf Course. Again, while this is up to the runner’s discretion, the route around the perimeter of the golf course is just under four miles total.

Route Five: Tietan Park

Distance: From corner of Boyer Avenue and Stanton Street, approximately 3.75 miles round-trip.

For another short run to a park, head south to Tietan Park. This is a good place to stretch or run sprints in, as it has fewer trees and is flatter than Pioneer Park. Tietan Park has less to offer than Pioneer, but is further away and still provides a nice landmark for turning around*.

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