15 Best Running Trails In Los Angeles You Can Visit Today
Turquoise waters, a sprawling metropolis, a Mediterranean climate, and a vast mountain range all make up the City of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is renowned for its top-notch hiking and running trails, ensuring that there is something suitable for everyone.
Whether you prefer waterfront trails or mountainous paths, you’ll find the perfect route to discover the city’s beauty while staying active.
No matter the weather conditions, skipping a run in Los Angeles is no excuse.
So, grab your gear, turn on an energizing playlist, and prepare to break a sweat as we delve into the 15 best running trails in Los Angeles today. Let’s dive right in!
15 Best Running Trails In Los Angeles
1. Westridge Trail
A favorite among locals, the Westridge trails take you to San Vicente Mountain, perfect for dog walkers, mountain bikers, and, of course, runners.
In the past, the area was used as a mountaintop military installation where it defended the city from Soviet attacks.
Now, however, it is one of the best running trails in Los Angeles.
Here, you’re provided with 4.5 miles of breathtaking scenery with views of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Plus, once you reach the 1,960-foot peak, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views.
2. Mount Hollywood, Griffith Park
Spanning over 4,300 acres of land, Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America and is the tenth-largest municipally owned park in the U.S.
Some of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles are located here, including the Griffith Observatory, the Greek Theatre, the Autry National Center, and Los Angeles Zoo.
In addition to this, Griffith Park boasts numerous running trails, too.
That said, one of the most memorable runs has to be Mount Hollywood – Griffith Park.
Here, the off-road run starts at the Observatory parking lot and takes you to the Mt Hollywood summit – the highest point in the park.
Once finished, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views across the City of Los Angeles. This is definitely one of the best running spots in L.A.
3. Fryman Canyon Park
Fryman Canyon Park, located in Studio City, is a hidden gem among the many beautiful parks and running trails in Los Angeles.
The main trail at Fryman Canyon Park is the Fryman Canyon Trail, which is under a 3-mile loop. The trail is well-maintained and features a combination of paved and dirt paths. It offers moderate difficulty with some inclines, making it suitable for runners of different fitness levels.
Another option is the 7.8-mile-long out-and-back Betty B. Dearing Trail, which offers a serene and peaceful running experience away from the bustling L.A.
4. Elysian Park
Measuring 600 acres, Elysian Park is considered the second-largest park in Los Angeles. Plus, it is also the oldest park, founded in 1886.
The park boasts a trail network catering to runners of various fitness levels. The most popular trails for running in Elysian Park are West Loop and the Chavez Ridge Loop Trail.
Trails in the park take you through scenic hills, offering panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium. The running in Elysian Park is a mixture of gentle slopes, wide fire roads, and narrow single-track paths.
You can park your car a short distance from the west loop trailhead at the Chavez Ravine lot or at the parking lot at 1880 Academy Road.
Elysian Park offers good amounts of shade, is dog-friendly, and offers various offshoot paths to explore. But some paths are quite hilly. There is also Chavez Ravine Disc Golf course nearby.
5. Vista Hermosa Natural Park
If you’re looking for one of the best running trails in Los Angeles, then look no further than Vista Hermosa Natural Park.
While it may be shorter than you expect, it is perfect for an early morning run.
Located in the heart of Los Angeles Historic Filipinotown, the 0.3-mile loop takes you only a nature oasis exploration.
It is dog-friendly, easy, and can be accessed throughout the year. Plus, you’ll even find a refreshing waterfall.
The Vista Hermosa Natural Park Trail is ideal if you’re looking for a quiet and serene job while taking in the views of the D.T.L.A. skyline.
6. Inspiration Point & Clouds Rest, Runyon Canyon
Runyon Canyon Park features 130 acres of land and is a favorite running spot among Hollywood joggers.
The trail is located just two blocks from the famous Hollywood Boulevard, situated west of the Hollywood Freeway (US 101), and extends north of Mulholland Drive.
The park itself is known for its frequent celebrity spotting, plus it contains 90 acres of off-leash dog walking, too.
You can either take the trail clockwise or counterclockwise.
The clockwise direction is much easier than the hardcore counterclockwise trail which have you climbing up steep slopes and steps.
Regardless of which trail you choose, you’re sure to work up a sweat. And you’ll be offered impressive views across Los Angeles.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to see all the way to Catalina Island, too.
7. Ocean Trails Reserve
The Ocean Trails Reserve provides you with an impressive 5 miles of adventure to explore.
Here, the protected, rugged coastline makes up one of L.A’s most popular running routes.
Situated on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the area hosts an array of birds, including the native gnatcatcher. Therefore, keep your eyes peeled for them while running.
Plus, there are various trails here to explore. These include the Coastal Switchback, the Catalina Trail, and the Sagebrush Walk, each providing glorious scenery.
8. Drake Stadium, UCLA
Drake Stadium at UCLA is primarily known as a venue for track and field events, but it also offers some running opportunities for visitors. While the stadium is primarily a track, adjacent areas can be utilized for running.
Access to the track might be restricted during scheduled events or practices, but there may be times when it is open to the public for running.
The UCLA campus has a network of pathways and sidewalks that can be used for running.
While these paths are not specifically designed as dedicated running trails, they offer a pleasant environment for runners to explore. You can weave through the campus, enjoying the vibrant atmosphere and beautiful architecture along the way.
The loop of the UCLA campus is a very popular 4-mile run, and it might be a little bit crowded in some spots.
9. La Cienega Park
One of the most popular Beverly Hills running paths is La Cienega Park. When it comes to the city’s athletic facilities, this one takes the top stop.
Here, the park features a recently built pavilion with outdoor training equipment, a perimeter jogging track, and three baseball diamonds – these can be converted into soccer fields.
Since the ground is soft, this 0.3-mile running route is great.
As a result, on the weekends it can get particularly busy, therefore, make sure to schedule your run for the morning.
10. Lake Balboa
Covering 80 acres of the recreation facility, Anthony C. Beilenson Park is located in the Sepulveda Basin of the San Fernando Valley. Here, the 27-acre Lake Balboa takes centerstage.
It is the site of the famous Japanese Garden and features a water basin filled with the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant.
In addition to the 1.3-mile running path, you’ll also find a bike path, barbecue pits, fly fishing areas, a children’s area, private boating, picnic areas, and pedal boats.
Balboa Park in Los Angeles may not offer the same level of scenic beauty or extensive trail systems as some other parks in the city, but it is a viable option for runners in the San Fernando Valley area. Its convenient location, flat terrain, and recreational amenities make it easy to enjoy for short runs when in L.A.
While Balboa Park in San Diego is a popular running spot, it’s worth noting that Balboa Park in Los Angeles is a different park altogether.
11. Beverly Gardens Park
Rose gardens, fountains, and cactuses – who wouldn’t enjoy a run around this park?
Here, you’re provided with two miles of the path with plenty of picturesque views and sights to see.
Beverly Gardens Park offers a pleasant and scenic environment for running in L.A., with its well-paved pathway and beautiful landscapes. It’s a great option for runners looking for a convenient and accessible location in the heart of Beverly Hills.
12. San Vicente Boulevard, Brentwood
San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood is a popular route for running in Los Angeles westside.
Here, the path begins at Federal Avenue, which takes you on a four-mile run through the Brentwood community until you reach Ocean Avenue.
The length of San Vicente Boulevard allows for flexibility in your running distance. You can choose to run a straight out-and-back route, or you can incorporate side streets and loops to customize your distance.
Looping the path offers you an eight-mile run, traveling through luxurious neighborhoods and breathtaking coastlines.
Running along San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood offers a pleasant and accessible route with a mix of residential and commercial surroundings. The designated running path and scenic views make it popular for runners seeking a convenient running location on the Westside of Los Angeles.
13. Palisades Park (one of the best running spots in L.A.)
Palisades Park is situated along the bluffs of Santa Monica, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It stretches for 26 acres, running parallel to Ocean Avenue between Colorado Avenue and Adelaide Drive.
As you run in the park, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the coastline, the Santa Monica Pier, and the sandy beaches below. For some spectacular views, head off just before the sun sets.
Running in Palisades Park is our favorite as it offers stunning ocean views, a well-maintained park, and popular running paths. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely jog or a longer run, Palisades Park provides a great place to run in Los Angeles.
14. Echo Park Lake
Echo Park Lake is a charming area located in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. It offers a picturesque setting for running and various amenities for visitors to enjoy.
On this one-mile path, you’ll be rewarded with glorious views of a spectacular man-made lake with a fountain in the middle.
With just one loop around the lake, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped the concrete jungle of L.A.
If you’re looking for a place to have a short run in Los Angeles, Echo Park Lake provides a pleasant environment for runners of all levels.
15. Bluff Trail in the Montana De Oro State Park
Bluff Trail in Montana de Oro State Park is a scenic and popular trail located on the central coast of California, near Los Osos. While it is not in Los Angeles, it is a notable trail that offers stunning views and a great outdoor experience.
Montana de Oro State Park is located in San Luis Obispo County, approximately 200 miles north of Los Angeles. The park has an extensive network of hiking and running trails catering to various skill levels.
Bluff Trail is one of the prominent trails within the park, known for its coastal views and natural beauty. So if you are driving along the coast, it might be worth visiting.
The trail spans under 3 miles one-way, providing ample opportunity for a refreshing run amidst nature.
From scenic coastal paths to challenging mountain trails, Los Angeles provides great opportunities for runners to explore and stay active.
When choosing a running trail in Los Angeles, consider factors such as distance, terrain, scenery, accessibility, and safety. Be mindful of weather conditions, trail etiquette, and any posted rules or regulations.
In addition to Los Angeles, San Francisco is one of California’s best cities for runners. It has miles of paved running trails and a wide range of running events. Check out our article on the running routes in San Francisco.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Safe to Run in Los Angeles?
Running in Los Angeles can be safe if you take precautions. Choose well-populated routes, be aware of your surroundings, and run during daylight hours.
Stay visible with reflective clothing, carry identification and a phone, and consider running with a buddy or group. Stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, and secure your valuables.
Stay informed about current safety conditions in the areas you plan to run is important. Stay updated on local news, follow any safety advisories, and adjust your running plans accordingly.
Can I Access These Trails Early in the Morning or Late at Night?
The availability of access to the trails early in the morning or late at night may vary depending on the specific trail and park regulations. While some trails may have limited hours or designated opening and closing times, others may be accessible 24/7.
Regarding safety, running early in the morning or late at night may present different considerations. Running during daylight hours offers better visibility and a higher presence of other people, which can enhance safety.
If you choose to run during low-light conditions, it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure your safety. Running in a group can enhance safety during these times.