15 Best Running Trails In San Diego You Can Visit Today

15 Best Running Trails In San Diego You Can Visit Today

If you enjoy running, you will likely search for new scenic routes to run every time you visit a new city or town.

Across the USA, there are tons of different brilliant running trails located near cities and towns.

If you are hoping to go running in San Diego and the surrounding area, then you are in the right place. 

In this guide, we’re looking at 15 of the best running trails in San Diego that you can visit today. So, no matter whether you are new to the area or you’re a local, we’ve got you covered with the places to run in SD. 

Read on to find out more! 

1. Lake Murray Trail

The Lake Murray trail is easily one of the best trails in San Diego. This route is perfect for anybody who is interested in running in beautiful locations.

This 9.2-kilometer trail takes you around the Lake Murray reservoir with a 33 m gain throughout the run.

It is a beautiful route and a great way to see the area, no matter whether you are an experienced trail runner, or new to this hobby!

2. Mission Bay Loop

Another brilliant route in San Diego to check out is Mission Bay Loop. This loop is a brilliant running route for anyone who prefers a flatter trail run because it consists of 12 miles of flat paths.

This running trail is also open to cyclists, so if you take this route be aware that you need to keep an eye on your surroundings. If you simply want a run that allows you to cover quite a few miles, this is a good one to do! 

3. The Train Run

The Train running route is perfect for you if you want to run alongside the water.

This spot is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike simply because it is a great route that allows you to appreciate the beauty of San Diego.

With plenty of miles to be covered, all while really taking in the area of the city, this is a great run to check out! 

4. Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of the biggest tourist attractions in San Diego and one that we’re sure you’ll want to check out while you’re in town.

The best thing about this park is that it is filled with running routes, so you can easily combine your love for running with your desire to explore the city.

Balboa Park really is an excellent location, and we’re confident you’ll love the running spots in the area. It is one of the best places to run in San Diego!

5. Lake Poway Trail

The Lake Poway trail is another beautiful route to run while in SD.

As the name suggests, this trail takes you around the beautiful Lake Poway. So, it is a great spot if you like to run in beautiful locations.

There is a parking fee charged on the weekends for non-residents, but other than that, the area is free to access. So, you should definitely check it out! 

6. Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail

If outstanding natural beauty is what you are after, then you should check out the Los Peñasquitos Canyon trail.

This running route is filled with different canyons, which is perfect for anyone who loves nature.

With a challenging running trail that allows you to admire the beauty of the area, there really isn’t anything not to love about this route!

7. Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve

Alternatively, if your idea of natural beauty is trees, then Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve is a good place to run.

This nature reserve was set up to protect the natural beauty of this area which is located just outside San Diego.

Throughout the reserve, you will find lots of beautiful running trails to explore, and you can easily spend hours in this area. You should definitely check it out! 

8. Fortuna Mountain Trail 

If elevation gain is something that you look for in your running, then you should check out the Fortuna Mountain trail.

This 10-kilometer trail has a 411-meter elevation gain, and it also allows you to check out beautiful views stretching across San Diego.

For a run that will take around 3 hours to complete, and is suitable for runners of all experience levels, this is the perfect trail.

9. Cowles Mountain

Another great mountain spot that is perfect if you are searching for a shorter trail is the Cowles Mountain trail.

This route is just under 5 kilometers long with an elevation gain of around 280 meters.

It will take just under 2 hours to complete, and it can be a challenging run. But it’s one we’re confident you’ll love! 

10. Seven Bridge Walk

San Diego is filled with bridges, and the Seven Bridge walk takes you on a tour of these different bridges.

If you utilize the bridges for your walk or run, you can easily admire San Diego’s beauty while exercising. It really is the perfect spot to run if you are new to the area!

11. Silver Strand Trail

Many routes are also designed for bicycles, and that is why the Silver Strand trail is also known as the Bayshore Bikeway trail.

This 30-kilometer trail is perfect for anybody who prefers a flatter route, with an elevation gain of 27 meters across the entire run.

It is not a short route and will take quite some time to complete. However, it is perfect for anyone who loves a challenge! 

12. Oak Canyon To Grasslands Trail

Another brilliant spot you should consider is the running trail between Oak Canyon and Grasslands.

This route is just 6 kilometers long but has an elevation gain of 105 meters, so it is perfect for anyone who wants a short challenge.

This is one of the most popular routes in San Diego, so if you want to check it out, we would recommend going early in the morning.

But it is definitely worth a visit during your trip to the city! 

13. Tecolote Canyon Natural Park

A much flatter spot to consider runs through Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. This route is around 10 kilometers long, with just a handful of inclines along the way.

It can be challenging at times, but for the most part, it is a very enjoyable trail that will be great for you to complete while you’re in town.

If you want to explore the San Diego area while also getting some exercise, this is a great trail to check out! 

14. Sunset Cliffs Trail

If you are on vacation in San Diego, then you might not necessarily want your running trail to be a difficult one.

This is an excellent spot if you simply want to get some light exercise while you are away. Just 1.6 kilometers in length, this route is perfect for early morning exercise.

We would definitely recommend giving this running spot a try! 

15. Embarcadero

Finally, if you want to check out a running route that takes you across the San Diego waterfront, then a trip to Embarcadero is a good idea!

This spot is perfect for anyone who enjoys jogging among the hustle and bustle of busy cities.

You can make this route as long or as short as you want, and that is why you should check it out during your visit!


In short, there are tons of brilliant running spots to be found all across the USA. But if you are specifically looking for the best places to run in San Diego and the surrounding areas, you are in luck. 

In this guide, we’ve taken a look at 15 of the best running trails in San Diego that you can visit today.

So no matter whether you’re from the area and trying to find new trails, or you’re visiting San Diego for the first time, you’re in the right place. 

If you want to explore other running spots in sunny California, check out our article on the best running trails in Los Angeles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is San Diego a Good Location For Running? 

Yes, San Diego is a great location for running. Many different trails are scattered across the city, and lots of new places to explore during your visit.

No matter whether you are a local or you’re new to the area, we’re sure you’ll still be able to find new and exciting trails to run in San Diego. 

Can You Combine Running And Tourist Destinations In San Diego?

If you are a tourist visiting San Diego, you can easily combine running and visiting some of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.

Balboa Park, for example, is one of San Diego’s biggest tourist attractions, and it is also a great place to go if you love running.

So, you will easily be able to combine both during your trip! 

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