November 16, 2020
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Vast mountain ranges, turquoise waters, a Mediterranean climate, and a sprawling metropolis: These are all the things that define the City of Angels. Health-conscious locals and avid runners in Los Angeles are lucky to experience the best of the Golden State while jogging—miles of waterfront trails and urban parks are at your disposal.
Offering some of the best running and hiking trails in SoCal, especially in the fall, L.A. has numerous options to suit your needs. From mountain trails with stunning views to countless lively neighborhoods ready to be explored, your options for running routes are endless. Winter is no excuse to stop you from exercising, so gear up with your California-made gear and energizing workout playlist, and check out the best running trails in Los Angeles.
Running Trails in Los Angeles
1. Westridge Trail
The Westridge Trail is a local favorite. Leading to San Vicente Mountain, it's ideal for mountain bikers, trail runners, and dog walkers. Back in the day, the area served as a mountaintop military installation, defending the city from Soviet missile attacks. Now, it’s one of the best running trails in Los Angeles. The 4.5-mile path offers breathtaking views of West L.A. and the Santa Monica Mountains; be prepared for awe-inspiring 360-degree views of the scenery once you've reached the 1,960-foot peak.
2. Universal City Overlook
Located on the north side of Mulholland Drive, Universal City Overlook was built in 1984. It was funded by Universal Studios and built specifically for the Summer Olympics. The overlook offers superb views of the mountain range in the distance and the city life down below. The beautiful location has two observing areas—once you’re done exercising, reward yourself with stunning panoramas of Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, D.T.L.A., and the Hollywood Sign.
3. Vista Hermosa Natural Park
One of the best running trails in Los Angeles is found in Vista Hermosa Natural Park. Although it’s shorter than you’d expect, it’s exactly what you need for a quick early morning run. The 0.3-mile loop trail is basically a nature oasis in the heart of L.A.'s Historic Filipinotown. It’s easy, dog-friendly, and accessible year-round—it even features a waterfall. Providing stunning views of the D.T.L.A. skyline, the Vista Hermosa Natural Park Trail is the perfect running route in Los Angeles for a serene and quiet jog.
4. Ocean Trails Reserve
Five miles of impressive trails in Ocean Trails Reserve await to be explored. The protected rugged coastline is home to some of the most popular running routes in Los Angeles. Located in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, it’s also known as a habitat for native gnatcatcher birds, so keep an eye for them on your run. The Ocean Trails Reserve has multiple trails for jogging: the Catalina Trail, Coastal Switchback, and Sagebrush Walk. Neither of these paths has a shortage of striking ocean views.
Beverly Hills Running Routes
1. La Cienega Park
The most sought-after Beverly Hills running route is at La Cienega Park. As the crown jewel of the city’s athletic facilities, the park features a perimeter jogging track, a new pavilion with outdoor exercise equipment, and three baseball diamonds—two of which convert to soccer fields seasonally. The 0.3-mile trail is great for jogging because the ground is soft. It gets crowded on Sundays, so make sure to schedule your morning runs during the weekdays.
2. Beverly Gardens Park
Fountains, cactus, and rose gardens—who wouldn’t want to jog at Beverly Gardens Park? The decomposed-granite running and walking path is two miles long and offers picturesque views of hundred-year-old cypress and ficus trees. Here, the iconic Beverly Hills Sign peeks at you when you’re trying to get some exercise. As a beloved historic landmark, the park is open for everyone to enjoy a lap or two on the most popular Beverly Hills running route.
3. UCLA Perimeter Walk
The UCLA Perimeter Walk is a very easy and pretty flat Beverly Hills running route for a quick and refreshing workout. The 4.5-mile loop trail circles the UCLA campus and features a small section with a dirt path. Instead of going to the same running trails for your morning jog, try the UCLA Perimeter Walk—the loop will take you past the cemetery and the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.
Santa Monica Running Paths
1. Douglas Park
The top choice for jogging in Santa Monica is Douglas Park. The beloved urban park has lawn bowling, a playground, two tennis courts, and even a reflecting pool. Perfect for running in the mornings and afternoons, it’s the ideal place if you’re also bringing along your four-legged friend. With plenty to observe while doing laps, the family-friendly park has excellent spots for cooling down in the shade and stretching out on the grass. Take away from the ocean breeze and go for a morning jog along this Santa Monica running path.
2. Santa Monica Stairs
Descending to the northwest from Adelaide Drive in Santa Monica to Santa Monica Canyon in Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Stairs attract all kinds of exercisers. The surrounding area of this popular attraction provides breathtaking views of the city. Instead of going for a run at a flat trail, pump up the difficulty and tackle the 170 steps of this Santa Monica running path. Enjoy the outdoors while building muscle.
3. Santa Monica State Beach
The best place to jog freely is none other than the Santa Monica Beach running path. There’s nothing better than inhaling the crisp ocean air while the wind blows through your hair. The route at the beach provides the perfect setting for exercising outdoors. The nearby Santa Monica Pier has a variety of training equipment if cardio isn’t enough for you. Take advantage of the great outdoors as the sun makes your skin glow.
Hollywood Running Trails
1. Lake Hollywood Reservoir Trail
Located in the hills west of Griffith Park, below Cahuenga Peak and Mount Lee, Lake Hollywood Reservoir is an awesome place for runners, hikers, and cyclists. The trail is a 3.3-mile loop but was closed for many years due to landslides. After reopening in April of 2013, many have taken advantage of the location to get a little exercise in a scenic area. The highlight of this Hollywood running trail isn’t seeing the iconic sign, but rather the 1924 Mulholland Dam. With mountains above the elegantly shaped lake coming into view, this spot will quickly become your regular jogging path.
2. Runyon Canyon Trail
Runyon Canyon Trail is arguably the best running path in all of California. The 2.5-mile loop provides joggers the opportunity to view wildlife while tackling challenging hills. Featuring dirt trails and paved fire roads, the path can be quite dusty, so be prepared. Since Rustic Canyon among the most well-known Hollywood running trails, it gets pretty crowded on the weekends. With panoramic views of downtown L.A. and the prominent Hollywood Sign, it’s an ideal spot for a nice brisk jog that’ll break a sweat.
Griffith Park Running Trails
1. Mount Hollywood Trail
There are many routes to take in Griffith Park—after all, it’s one of the largest urban parks in North America. Mount Hollywood Trail is a quintessential Griffith Park running trail that each person must experience at least once. The memorable path starts from the Griffith Observatory parking lot, leading you to the highest peak in the area: Mount Hollywood. With breathtaking views of the L.A. Basin, it’s undoubtedly the best running trail in Los Angeles.
2. Beacon Hill Loop
Beacon Hill Loop is another Griffith Park running trail that has rewarding views of Los Angeles. The hill is named after a beacon that served the Glendale Grand Central Airport; the beacon warned incoming airplanes of the high-standing Hollywood Hills during the early 20th century. The four-mile loop follows broad double-track dirt trails, with a stop at the easternmost peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. Soak in the views of Silver Lake Reservoir, the 5, and the Los Angeles River as you make your way to the summit.
3. Western Heritage Loop
The Western Heritage Loop links seven different trails, taking you through the hills above L.A. Starting on the dirt path behind the Museum of the American West, across from the Los Angeles Zoo, the trail passes by numerous attractions and museums while leading away from the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles area.
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