A Trail Runner’s Guide to Lubbock, Texas

Written By McKenna Dowdle

March 29, 2022

Known as the “Hub City” of West Texas, Lubbock is located on top of the caprock, or the peak of the mountain as locals like to say. Its prime location in the panhandle makes it an unexpected location for trail running across the South Plains. With vast canyons nearby and running trails located throughout Lubbock’s many public parks, runners will find themselves among prime running conditions when looking to train.

Located in the eastern part of the city, Dunbar Historical Lake boasts over three miles of serene trail that loops with a breathtaking view of the water and city skyline. Just 1.5 hours north east of Lubbock, Caprock Canyon is a trail runners dream. With more than 50 miles of trail, beginner, intermediate and experienced runners are met with routes ranging from one half mile to nearly 11 miles with elevation gain. At Lubbock Lake Landmark, runners are offered more than dinosaur bones. This prehistoric lake offers 3.5 miles of wildflower lined trail and is the ideal running spot in North Lubbock.

When planning your runs, where you park your car matters. Luckily, parking in Lubbock is a breeze. At both Dunbar Historical Lake and Lubbock Lake Landmark parking is free! Dunbar’s prime location along the Brazos River system that flows through the city makes it easy to access via bike or car from downtown. Runners over 12 years old in Caprock Canyon State Park will be met with a small fee of $5. Parking is available at each of the trail heads. For complete details on directions and parking, visit the Visit Lubbock website.

A city with a population over 260,000, Lubbock offers big city resources while also fostering a small-town feel. Locals and visitors alike experience the tight-knit communities woven throughout each corner of the city. This includes the strong and active group of runners who meet at FootTech any day of the week to embark on a group run as part of the West Texas Running Club. The club offers members the opportunity to connect with like-minded athletes while also providing discounts to races, insider information on the best routes across the region, as well as sponsoring annual runs like the Red Raider Road Race, a marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K fun run through Texas Tech University’s campus.

Lubbock’s West Texas roots run deep. Across the city, guests are welcomed by the charm and grandeur of the wild west. After crossing the finish line, consider making your way to downtown Lubbock for a truly ‘Hub City” experience. On display through a variety of mediums including public art, live music, cosmopolitan cuisine and world-glass libations, the culture of our community is on display for all walks of life. As the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly, the leading producer of wine grapes in Texas, and home to the nation’s No. 1 brewpub, The Brewery LBK, Lubbock is an unexpected destination for travel. With a thriving and evolving culture, Lubbockites are quick to tribute the resiliency of a city whose pioneering spirit paves the way forward.

Nothing beats starting your day with a cup of coffee, but The Lobby by Sugar Browns takes that idea to the next level. Order a specialty coffee along with a house-made muffin or paleo cake donut and relax in the spacious seating area on the ground floor of the McDougal Companies building. Just down Broadway, Monomyth Coffee envelopes each guest in a warm aroma of roasted beans and pastries cooking in the oven. Here, locals, students and visitors enjoy craft coffee with a twist. We recommend ordering the Bourbon Maple Latte for an extra kick in your day.

Home Lubbock may be best known for its excellence in winemaking and producing, but the craft brewing scene here is just as notable. In fact, the “Hub City” is home to The Brewery LBK, a local and chef-driven outfit that was named the top brewpub in the nation by USA Today. Each beer available, from the locally inspired Doc Chilton summer ale to the LBK IPA, is made with seasonal and local ingredients when possible, giving you a true taste of West Texas. Try them all at the upbeat tasting room that’s full of modern industrial charm or outside on the dog friendly patio. Meanwhile, Two Docs Brewing Co. is a popular destination for beer enthusiasts as well thanks to its high quality takes on traditional favorites like a pilsner, lager, and a range of IPAs. Get a bite from local food trucks and stop to admire a mural of the iconic image of Buddy Holly. Purchase cans of your favorite brew to-go! The variety of brews at Auld Brewing Company means there’s a pint for every palate. The newest brewery in town, Auld crafts beers light and dark, including a delectable coffee stout and seasonal offerings like a Mexican lager and a watermelon wheat ale.

When you’re craving some seriously good eats, Lubbock, Texas is the place to be! Filled with chef-driven restaurants that serve elevated takes on your favorite dishes, locations like The West Table, The Nicolett and Rave On are sure to satisfy all palates. The prominent local chef Cameron West’s Dirk’s serves comfort food fare like fried chicken, chicken tenders, and oysters flown in from the Gulf of Mexico. The eatery was named after West’s grandfather Dirk, the former mayor of Lubbock and cartoonist for the local newspaper who created Raider Red, Texas Tech University’s mascot. Stop by and you’ll see Dirk’s cartoons hanging on the walls!

Is it a trip to Texas without indulging in barbeque? At Evie Mae’s, which was just rated no. 8 BBQ joint in Texas by Texas Monthly, meat lovers enjoy juicy smoked brisket, fall off the bone ribs, to-die-for turkey and more! Not to mention, each side and dessert are gluten-free, making it friendly for all to enjoy!

Be sure to visit local businesses throughout the city to visit with the experts. At FootTech, knowledgeable runners will share insight on the must-try trails, while also offering the premier gear to make your next run, your best yet. South of town, Cardinal’s also offers the insight needed as well as an extensive collection of athletic gear. Stop by Mountain Hideaway for all you need when it comes to hitting the trails, including local trail maps.

Keep Lubbock Beautiful is the local Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful affiliate. It’s goal is to uphold the tenants of litter reduction, beautification and recycling around the city parks, trails and other areas. Local groups across Lubbock partner with Keep Lubbock Beautiful to volunteer for cleanups in an effort to maintain the city’s outdoor recreation areas.

On the trails in West Texas, runners can participate in a variety of competitions including Lubbock Mayor’s Marathon, which takes runners through the trails inside Mackenzie Park, Dunbar Historical Lake, and the city’s downtown district. Other races include the Palo Duro Trail Run with 50 mile, 50K and 25K distances around the second largest canyon after the Grand Canyon. To find more local races, visit the West Texas Running Club or Visit Lubbock’s events calendar.


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