Best Running Trails in Singapore

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By MARKUS GNIRCK

The jungle of Singapore offers some good trails for beginners and advanced runners. The training in the heat and humidity pushes the runner to his/her limits and makes sure that this kind of training is an advantage for racing outside Singapore. 

As the trail running community is growing and more runners being keen on hitting the trails, here an attempt to capture all (only ‘pure’ trails are included, so with more than 90% of running is done on trail).

MacRitchie Reservoir

MacRitchie, the King of Singapore Trails. A great trail that takes you around the water reservoir in the heart of Singapore. The 10.7km loop is perfect for anyone  – beginners who are keen to get into trail running or experienced ones that are looking for smashing a new record time.  It gets very busy on weekend mornings, so the best time is either during the week or later the afternoon on the weekend. 

Level: Beginner – Intermediate

Distance: 10.7km

Elevation Gain: 160m

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Where MacRitchie is the King, Bukit Timah is the Queen of Trails. A famous hiking destination for many Singaporeans, it is also a good training ground for trail runners that are looking to get some elevation in. Bukit Timah is the highest hill in Singapore and can be ran up and down multiple times for hill training. Best is to start from Hindhede Drive and explore the trails around Bukit Timah. Some nice loops are Dairy Farm and Kampong Trail. Similar to MacRitchie, the weekends are busy with many hikers being around, so better to hit the trail during the week or in the evening. 

More info on the Singapore’s National Park’s Website.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Distance: various

Elevation Gain: various (hilly though)

Green Pipe Stretch / Zhenghua Nature Park

Just a little north of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Dairy Farm, a a green stretch opens up which takes you through Zhenghua Nature Park alongside BKE highway. It is a mostly unshaded trail that allows for some nice up and down running. Elevation gain and loss isn’t too much and it is mostly all on trail. If you are looking for some distance running, this stretch is good for some mix&match when coming from Bukit Timah and connecting to Chestnut Trail (see below).

More info on Singapore’s National Park’s Website.

Level: Intermediate

Distance: 5-10km

Elevation Gain: 100m

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Chestnut Trails

Chestnut offers a network of various short and some longer trails. Best is to start from the Chestnut Nature Park car park (Mountainbike rentals) and explore the loops of Chestnut. One to recommend is the Butterfly Trail, a 3km loop that can be run fairly fast given the little elevation. 

Watch out to go on the designated hiking trails as mountain bikers are also racing around Chestnut on their biking trails.

More Info on Singapore’s National Parks Website.

Level: Beginner  – Intermediate

Distances: 2-5km

Elevation Gain: various (hilly though)

Mandai T15 Trail

A great, flat-ish trail down from the Singapore Zoo to Chestnut. You can get dropped at the Zoo, run back on Mandai Lake Road and find the trail entrance on your left, just before the junction with the Mandai road. Then it is a pretty straight trail down alongside BKE towards Chestnut and Bukit Timah. It is not that much elevation and it is a great way to start a long run all way to MacRitchie (>20km) and further.

Watch out for Mountainbikers who come up from Chestnut!

Level: Beginner 

Distance: 5-6km

Elevation Gain: <100m

Rumours have it that Woodcutter is another great trail, one of the most original ones apparently, but it remains unclear where it exactly is…

Other great running routes are alongside East Coast Park, Marina Bay/Kallang, Mount Faber, Bedok Reservoir, Pandan Reservoir, the Quays and Botanic Gardens. Those are not pure trail and are mostly on road. 

Happy running!

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