5 Trails in Columbia Perfect for Outdoor Workouts

Ever feel like you need a change of scenery in your workout? You’re in luck! Columbia boasts dozens of great trails, perfect for an outdoor workout. On these trails, you can exercise strenuously or take it easy—it’s your choice. Here’s a list of our top five fav trails to walk and run on in Columbia, MO.

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Bear Creek Trail

This limestone trail is one of the longest in town at 4.8 miles. It’s located in northern Columbia and links two of the most popular parks in Columbia—Cosmo Park and Albert-Oakland Park. It even has a bicycle repair station, so if you’re looking to change up your usual running routine, try taking a bike instead!

Cosmo Nature Trail

This trail runs through the Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area, also known as Cosmo Park. The trail is 1.3 miles of dirt, and features 530-foot boardwalk over a marsh created by beavers. This trail is not bike-friendly, but you can take a short walk or run on the trail and see a variety of trees, birds, insects, and maybe even a beaver!

Hinkson Creek Trail

The Hinkson Creek Trail is unique in the fact that it is owned by both the City of Columbia and the University of Missouri. When you hit the ground running on this 4.25-mile trail, you’ll be able to trek from Grindstone Nature Area to the MKT Trail (and vice versa!). You’ll see both urban and natural sights as you make your way through MU’s campus, up near Capen Rock Park, and finish at the beautiful Grindstone Nature Area.

Albert-Oakland Trail and Fitness Circuit

If you really miss the amenities your favorite gym offers but want to switch up your workout, the Albert-Oakland Trail and Fitness Circuit is perfect for you. The concrete trail is short, measuring at about a mile, but it’s outfitted with several exercise stations. You can get in a total-body workout with equipment pieces like a leg press, seated chest press, sit up board, and many others.

MKT Nature and Fitness Trail

Perhaps the most well-known trail in Columbia, the MKT Trail was voted second “Best Urban Trail” in the nation in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards. The limestone trail, which is ten feet wide, begins in downtown Columbia at Flat Branch Park and runs 8.9 miles south to the KATY Trail. It features year-round restrooms and fitness areas with workout equipment. The best part? You don’t even need to cross the street to complete the trail! For those of you looking for a long trail to train on, the MKT Trail is for you.


After you’ve gotten your fill of the outdoors, we’d love to see you back at Body Refinery Gym. Sign up for a membership today, and make sure to check out our classes!