The Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center has a paved, two-mile loop around its perimeter. Mostly flat with a few short, steep hills, the loop around the medical center is perfect for speed work, especially for runners looking for a change of scenery. The trail is marked in half mile increments, so it’s easy to track your pace and judge distance.Although the loop around the perimeter marks only two miles, sidewalks and pathways wind throughout the 125-acre campus, providing runners with a larger distance to cover if desired. The northeast section of the trail is especially beautiful, as it runs alongside a large green space that borders the former University Golf Course, providing expansive views of rolling hills, flowering trees, and pines. Other parts of the trail hug a large forested area on the edge of the VA Medical Center’s property.The VA Medical Center campus is equally stunning and well-kept. Colonial-style buildings made of red brick dot the landscape, and the main building, which is visible from much of the trail’s northeast section, features stately columns and classical-style architecture. Towering trees also line the sidewalks in the heart of campus and the sidewalks closest to the main entrance.
What Makes It Great
The Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center offers a nice change of scenery for short-distance runners who are used to sharing the road with cars. Although a large amount of traffic comes through the medical center, the sidewalks largely hug the perimeter and give runners ample space from cars that typically travel through the middle of campus. The VA also provides road runners with a pleasant change of scenery, as the loop provides expansive views of well-kept grounds and colonial and classical architecture.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners looking to soak up some sunshine. The trail is in full sun, so it’s best to avoid running it in summer months and in the middle of the day, but in cooler months, the trail often provides a much-needed getaway for runners craving the warmth of sunlight.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center is at the corner of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Loop Road. From McFarland Boulevard, head east on Veterans Memorial Parkway and, staying in the right lane, follow signs for the VA Medical Center, which is located on Loop Road. From Veterans Memorial, take a right on Loop Ride and the VA Medical Center will be immediately to your left. Once you enter through the VA’s main gate, take a left and park in the parking lot by the playground and activity center. You’ll see the running trail between the parking lot and the large grassy area.