One of the most beloved places in Tuscaloosa is The University of Alabama Quad, an expansive, 22-acre green space located in the heart of the UA campus. With two-thirds of a mile of sidewalks surrounding the perimeter of this stunning space, the Quad is a popular destination for runners looking for a quick, flat run. The Quad is also great for speed work.When it was designed, the University hoped the Quad would reflect the well-rounded students the University hoped to produce. The Quad’s west side is full of hundred-year-old trees, providing ample shade for runners, but also students engrossed in their studies. The east side is open and sunny, great for runners looking for expansive views and students playing pick-up games of Frisbee, football, and soccer.Runners looking for more distance can start at the Quad and add mileage by heading east on University Boulevard toward University Medical Center. For a 5K loop, turn left from University Boulevard onto 5th Avenue, pass UA’s Student Recreation Center, and turn left onto Campus Drive. Follow Campus Drive until it dead-ends at Hackberry Lane and turn left. Veer left at Margaret Drive to return to the Quad. For more campus running routes, visit http://thesource.ua.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Crimson-Trails-PDF.pdf.
What Makes It Great
Despite its small size, running the Quad is never boring. Not only is the Quad half in shade and half in sun, but it’s surrounded by some of the most beautiful architecture in the state. Classical architecture abounds around the Quad with stately columns, decorative molding, and contrasting brick and limestone found on most buildings. The Quad is also rarely vacant. Students and community members often walk their dogs and take advantage of the Quad’s open space to play sports, adding to the Quad’s relaxed, leisurely feel.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners looking for a quick workout while soaking in some of West Alabama’s most iconic beauty. On weekends and during evenings when classes are not in session, runners have ample space to run on sidewalks, so the Quad is great for speed and interval workouts. Perhaps the most beautiful straightaway is the Quad’s southernmost sidewalk along University Boulevard, where hundred-year-old oaks tower overhead and canopy the roadway.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Quad is located at the intersections of Capstone Drive, Colonial Drive, University Boulevard, and Sixth Avenue on The University of Alabama campus. Parking is restricted to UA students, faculty, and staff on weekdays, so the best times to visit the Quad are evenings after 5 p.m. and weekends, when parking is open to the public. Runners wanting to visit the Quad before 5 p.m. on weekdays should park a few blocks west of campus on the Strip, a restaurant and retail district on University Boulevard.The best place to park on campus is the parking lot at the northwest corner of University Boulevard and Hackberry Lane, which is just one block away from the Quad. More parking is available off of University Boulevard directly in front of the Rose Administration Building and near UA’s Gorgas Library.