Despite its name, Mud Island is actually a small peninsula, bordered by the Mississippi River and the Wolf River Harbor. It’s just over a mile from downtown Memphis and is accessible by footbridge at no cost or the Memphis Suspension Railway, a monorail that costs $4 per person. In addition to its riverside trail, Mud Island is home to the Mud Island River Park, where you’ll find an amphitheater, the Mississippi River Museum, and the Riverwalk: a precise scale model of the Mississippi River spread out over the equivalent of five city blocks. The replica ends with a 40,000-square-foot replica of the Gulf of Mexico, where you can rent a pedal boat to explore.
What Makes It Great
Mud Island’s Mississippi River Greenbelt is an excellent spot for a pleasant riverside run. You can begin from either the northern terminus of the path at the upper end of the peninsula, or the southern end, which abuts the Mud Island River Park. Either way, an out-and-back run from end to end comes in at just over 6.5 miles. The path is relatively flat and even, so it’s also an ideal spot for a speed workout or tempo run.
The well-maintained greenbelt runs between the Mississippi River and Island Drive, and is lined with shade trees and park benches. There’s also colorful landscaping along the greenbelt, and runners can access the path at one of three parking lots (one at each end, plus one at the halfway point). A jog along the path provides excellent views of the Mississippi, and across the river, the Arkansas state line.
Who is Going to Love It
Thanks to its accessibility and proximity to downtown, Mud Island’s greenbelt is a great spot for a quick workout for those crunched for time, who want a lot of bang for their buck.
On sweltering summer days, though, it’s probably best saved for cooler morning or evening temperatures. Although the pleasant-looking shade trees provide some reprieve from the sun, they don’t shade the greenbelt itself.
It’s also a great spot for a family walk or jog, and kids will love a post-stroll visit to the Mud Island River Park (particularly the Riverwalk).
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Mississippi River Greenbelt’s three parking lots are accessible via either North Mud Island Road or A.W. Willis Avenue, both of which lead to Island Drive. Park in one of the end lots to easily measure your out-and-back distance (just over 6.5 miles), or it’s easy to run a quick 5k distance, too. Dogs are welcome in the park, but should be kept on a leash and cleaned up after.