The five best running trails and paths, handpicked by some of our favorite LA runners.
They are all over LA, from the waterfront west side to the hills in the east. Some are hidden and off the beaten path, some are beautifully buzzing with all walks of life. Ask anyone on the streets and they’ll claim to know the best one. And no, I’m not talking about juice bars.
Angelenos take their running seriously, and for good reason. With gorgeously warm weather nearly year round, it only makes sense to take your running routine outside. So we’ve rounded out, with the help of our runner friends in LA, our top five outdoor running paths. Find them below, in no particular order.
Sunset Trail. Discover Sunset Trail at the very end of Beachwood Drive in the Hollywood Hills, past the gate and right before the legendary Sunset Horse Ranch. The trail starts off tough, nearly all uphill for about 1/2 mile, and then eases up into a nice rolling path. Sunset Trail runs parallel to the iconic Hollywood sign, which always makes for a fun view. I love walking the initial uphill portion as a warm-up and, as I reach the first plateau, I start my run until the end of the trail at the paved road. On a clear day, you can see a stunning view of downtown LA, all the way west to Santa Monica.
The Strand. The Strand is one of the most beautiful bike and running paths in the world, no exaggeration! It’s a paved path about 20 miles long, running the length of the coast from the South Bay’s city of Torrance to Santa Monica. The entire trail lies atop the deep beach sands of the Pacific Ocean and never ventures further than 50 yards from the water’s crashing waves. The Strand is an active location, bustling with runners, bikers, rollerbladers, moms with strollers and beach cruisers. If you’re looking for a scenic path full of like-minded active people, The Strand is for you. (And you can take a dip in the ocean post-run!… or take a break to watch the beach volleyball players and surfers — both are never disappointing.)
Will Rogers State Park. This is one of my favorite parks (and running trails) in California. Astonishingly quiet and absurdly serene, Will Rogers is the place for runners and hikers in need of bird-chirping, wind-singing, green-tree nature. Enter the park from Sunset Blvd. and drive to the top of the hill. Once parked, you can take any trail your heart desires, which leads you to Inspiration Point, a quiet scenic vista with views that span across the entire City of Angels. On your way back, take either the same route you ran up, or head down the opposite side for a different view — each trail leads you back to the parking lot.
Venice Beach Boardwalk. The Boardwalk in Venice Beach is not for the faint of heart, especially if this is where you choose to take your running routine. The Boardwalk is more than whirling with constant people and that undeniable Venice Beach energy. However, I believe everyone should try it at least once. Weave in and out of tourists, dodge the skaters, and enjoy the infamous view of Muscle Beach. I’ve ran the Boardwalk a few times now and each experience is completely than the time before. Though I personally prefer my runs among nature and on dirt trails, The Boardwalk is always a fun place to spice up my running routine.
Griffith Park. Ahh, Griffith Park, one of my absolute favorite places in Los Angeles. Griffith is one of North America’s largest parks, sitting on over 4,300 acres of gorgeous land in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA. There are too many trails to count in Griffith, all of which are beautiful and yield insane views at the top. I like entering the park from Los Feliz Blvd. and immediately parking right off of the street. Near this entrance is a lush path hidden under a canopy of trees that crosses over a babbling creek, under stone tunnels and over wood bridges. Not many people are aware of this hidden path, and rather drive right past to the trailheads at the base of the mountain. These trails are breathtaking too, and lead you up to Griffith Observatory, one of LA’s most iconic and beautiful landmarks. Also included in Griffith Park is the LA Zoo and Greek Theater.
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Will Rogers State Park is one of my favorite places. Inspiration Point is where my dad proposed to my mom. My mom used to compete is horse shows there back in the 70’s. Hard to believe the park was once Will Rogers personal ranch and getaway.
Starting in April you can also go check out some fun polo games on the weekends, free to the public!
Can’t wait to try these places out! Always great to find beautiful outdoor spaces in a big city.
Thanks for sharing Britt! I’ll think about your parents next time I’m up there! So sweet. I’ve always wanted to catch a polo game there — I’ll be sure to check it out this Spring. xx, Joanna