10 Best Places To Run In Los Angeles, California

10 Best Places To Run In Los Angeles, California


Searching for the best places to run in Los Angeles?

This city offers countless routes to run for locals, runners of all levels, and simply health-conscious people. You can explore gorgeous parks and excellent running trails with spectacular coastal views.

If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and just go on a nice run, here are some of the best places to run in Los Angeles, California. Happy Running!

1. Ray Miller Backbone Trail


Details About the Place

  • Ray Miller Backbone Trail is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Malibu, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
  • The trail is named after Ray Miller, "Guardian of the Canyon," who was the first official California State Park Camp Host, having volunteered from March 1, 1979 until his death on April 28, 1989.
  • The Ray Miller Backbone Trailhead is located at Pacific Coast Highway and La Jolla Canyon in Malibu, 90265.
  • The trail zigs and zags its way up as you take in views below.
  • On its own, the trail is 2.7 miles each direction, taking you from the base of La Jolla Canyon to an overlook of the Pacific Ocean that provides sweeping views towards Mugu Rock on the west and Sycamore Cove on the east.

Safety Tips

Poison oak, ticks, rattle snakes in summer and fall. Good year-around, but perhaps best in April-June when the waterfall runs strong and flowers abound. Avoid on the hottest days of summer. 

2. San Vicente Boulevard


Details About the Place

  • This 10-mile roundtrip run follows San Vicente Blvd and gives you the option of running on the flat grass space in the middle of the blvd or on the pavement along the road.
  • For the full route, begin at the Annenberg Community Beach House and go to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park and back.
  • Runners who enjoy a lively path with lots to see will enjoy the setting.   It's not so crowded that you'll have to slow down often but there's a lot to see. It's also long enough to give you a hearty workout.
  • When the median is at its widest, a dozen runners or more can run side-by-side - you’ll often see local track teams on practice runs. Looping the median offers an eight-mile run that includes luxury homes and spectacular coastal views.

3. Silver Lake Reservoir


Details About the Place

  • Silver Lake Reservoir jogging trail is a nice 2.5-mile loop around Silver Lake Reservoir with roughly 200 ft in elevation gain. While on this path, a runner will get a calming view of the water, and will get to pass through the hip Silver Lake community in the middle of Los Angeles.
  • For runners, there aren't many things better than lake loops. With a lake loop run, you've got the predictability and repetition of a track, combined with the appealing vistas of a pristine lake to keep you from getting bored.

Safety Tips

Silver Lake Reservoir is not close enough to any freeways or huge roads to make them audible from the area, but it does make parking and getting there a bit complicated. The best bet is to exit the Fletcher Drive exit off of 5 Freeway and take it until you hit Silver Lake Drive. This is a free park, but it does not have great parking. Once you see the reservoir, try to find parking on the side streets in the area. They are, for the most part, free but they may not be easy to find.

4. Griffith Park


Details About the Place

  • Located in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles, Griffith Park covers over 4,000 acres and is one of the largest urban parks in North America. There are 53 miles of trails throughout the park available for off-road running.
  • For a memorable off-road run, take the trail that leads from the Observatory parking lot to the summit of Mount Hollywood, the highest peak of the park, which rewards you with spectacular views of the entire Los Angeles Basin.
  • Home to past half and full marathon runs, Griffith Park is the obvious choice for long-distance runners. The park offers 35 different trails, branching one off the other, which gives runners a DIY mentality to create their own course.

Safety Tips

Sun - Sat: 5 am - 10:30 pm

Since the park is filled with different hiking trails, you’ll want to be particular in choosing which ones to run along to avoid injury.

5.The Strand


Details About the Place

  • The Marvin Braude Bike Trail—also known as “The Strand”— shows off some of the best that LA has to offer. Start at Will Rogers State Beach and head south.
  • The path begins in Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades area of the city of Los Angeles. It continues southbound along the beach and passes through Santa Monica State Beach in the city of Santa Monica, where the path passes underneath the Santa Monica Pier.
  • The trail consists entirely of paved surfaces. Some portions are shared with pedestrians, and some are marked as 'Bike Only'.
  • The two-mile run between the Santa Monica Pier and the Venice Boardwalk takes you to some of the most well-known sports destinations in Los Angeles, including Muscle Beach, the famed outdoor basketball courts, and Venice Skatepark.

Safety Tips

Pedestrians must cross the trail to gain access to the beach, so you need to be alert to that in any case. Unless your aim is to 'people watch', you will be better off making this trip in the morning hours on a weekday. 

The Marvin Braude Bicycle Path is considered a 'shared-use path' wherever an adequate adjacent pedestrian facility does not exist. In fact, this is the case for the majority of it's 22-mile stretch. Notable exceptions are portions within City of Santa Monica and City of Redondo Beach. Please note, the California Vehicle Code, section 21966 states: "No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility." As such, all path users, regardless of location or situation, are expected to exercise due caution to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.

6.Ocean Trails Reserve


Details About the Place

  • The Ocean Trails Reserve, located in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, offers more than five miles of scenic runs with varying degrees of difficulty.
  • There are numerous trails to explore, including the Catalina Trail, Coastal Switchback, and Sagebrush Walk, along with breathtaking views and tidal pools by the beach.
  • The Ocean Trails Reserve includes habitat areas restored or preserved by Trump National Golf Course south of Palos Verdes Drive. Conservation easements were placed over the adjacent 54-acre Shoreline Park and 65 acres were restored with habitat for the California gnatcatcher.
  • There are a number of different trails to explore depending on how much ground you want to cover. Give yourself ample time to explore the area and be sure to also take some extra time to venture down to the tide pools along the beach. If you plan your trip during low tide, this is a great location to spot local birds and sea life including sea stars, sea anemone, and sometimes even sea lions.

Safety Tips

Park Hours: One hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

 Follow Trail Use Designations

  • Hikers: yield to horses
  • Cyclists: yield to horses and hikers
  • Dog walkers: where dogs are permitted, always keep on a leash (maximum of 6 feet) under your command, and clean up after them

Not Allowed in This Preserve

  • Reckless use of trails that endangers people or animals
  • Motorized vehicles or radio-controlled models
  • Smoking, open flames, or rockets
  • Hunting or discharge of any weapons
  • Camping, Nudity, or Paragliding
  • Animals on the beach
  • Creating or damaging trails
  • Removing, damaging, or adding any animals, plants, rocks/fossils
  • Defacing signs or barriers

7. Lake Balboa


Details About the Place

  • The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and road biking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • The centerpiece of the park, Lake Balboa, is a 27 acre lake filled with water reclaimed from the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. There is a lovely 1.3 mile path around the lake, several miles of surrounding trails in the Sepulveda Basin, and the Orange Line Busway bike path that goes on for miles.
  • During the blooming season (roughly February to March), the lake’s 2,000 cherry blossom trees offer a stunning backdrop, whether you’re jogging, strolling or enjoying a picnic.
  •  If you complete a few laps and feel up to adding a bit more mileage, you can easily connect to the nearby trails in the Sepulveda Basin or the Orange Line Busway bike route.

Safety Tips

Park Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

PHONE: (818) 756-8187

Park patrons must enter through the Balboa Boulevard entrance and park in designated parking slots. Overflow parking on the dirt field to the northwest of the park is available during periods of heavy usage.

8. Elysian Park

  • There are miles of nearly untrafficked roads, former roads closed to traffic but open to pedestrians, and some bona fide trails. Parts of the park, especially on the eastern edge, are more dilapidated and somewhat empty.
  • The park is bracketed by some of LA’s busiest freeways, but despite its urbanity, it offers an amazing break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • The trail runner will find a fun, challenging, and relatively quick 3-mile loop that brings you up to the top of the Angeles Point. Starting at Stadium way and Elysian Park Drive, you will run northeast along a wide dirt path that gradually gains elevation as it winds its way around the northern border of the park. But if you are looking for a slightly longer loop, you can cross Stadium Way to the West side of the road and loop the Elysian Park trail.

Safety Tips

The park is very hilly.

It would be better if you avoid  Stadium Way as it is busy with no sidewalks.

9. Runyon Canyon Park

  • Runyon Canyon Trail is a 2.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near West Hollywood, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and running and is accessible year-round.
  • Given its proximity to West Hollywood and easy access, it's no wonder why this loop is one of L.A.'s most popular runs. This route heads north into the hills of Runyon Canyon Park with some steep grades to start that are rewarded with panoramic views of the city and surrounding hills.
  • The trails are variable – from wide-open, manicured fire roads to steep single-track. Runyon Canyon Park is only approximately 1.5 miles long, so if you are training for any type of racing this is an ideal spot to go and do some interval training on the short, steep hills.
  • There are three routes to hike Runyon Canyon from the Fuller Gate—Runyon Canyon Road (easy), the Star Trail (medium), and the Hero Trail (difficult).

Safety Tips

Runyon Canyon Trail is a DIFFICULT hike due to loose ground and   potential to slip on the descent. 

HOURS OF OPERATION: 7 Days a Week - Dawn to Dusk

Runyon Canyon is a public facility and does not have a staff on the premises. It's unlocked during the hours of operation, and locked from dusk until dawn each night. Questions regarding the park can be directed to 323-666-5046.

Land Manager: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

10. UCLA Drake Stadium

  • One of the best tracks in Los Angeles is at UCLA's Drake Stadium. Located in Westwood on the school's campus, the track is a standard 400 meter loop with nine lanes.
  • This route is just under 4 miles , which makes it a decent length for a jogging routine. It’s also probably the safest of these four courses to run at night, considering the fact that pretty much every stretch of the route, except for a short distance on Veteran Avenue, is extremely well-lit with pedestrians everywhere.
  • One typical routine may consists of running the stairs (the amount of ups and downs varies) and then cooling down by jogging a few laps around the track.

Safety Tips

Regular Hours:

Mon-Fri: Dawn-12:00pm / 5:00pm-10:00pm

Saturday: Dawn-9:00am / 12:00pm-10:00pm

Sunday: Dawn-10:00pm 

*Stadium stairs & limited lanes available 9:00am-12:00pm

Drake Stadium is often used by UCLA’s soccer, football, and track & field teams; check for hours of operation that are open to the public.

You can park in meters surrounding the stadium, but please note that they require payment daily from 7:00am-7:00pm and that quarters will buy you 8 minutes.

Additional Running Resources

Insert Content Template or Symbol

Additional Running Resources

Attend My Live Training Plan Workshop - Are you interested in learning how to build your own customized training plans? Want to learn how to stop relying on generic plans that don't take YOU into account. In my LIVE two-part interactive, workshop you will learn how to take control of your running and build a customized training program around your skill level, your race distance or your running goals.

You will learn how to build, customize and modify your own personalized training plans for any race distance between 5k and 50k. You will learn how to match your short and long terms goals to a training plan that can realistically achieve what you set out to achieve. And, you will walk away with a plan you actually built, plus mentoring to make sure the plan will work for you. Come learn the exact process I have used to build thousands of training plans for my clients of all experience levels.

Get Our Free Runner's Toolkit - Get access to 30 days of free coaching tips by email and get your #1 running question personally answered by me, just for signing up. Plus get free access to our private Facebook community where other RunBuzz community members gather for support, camaraderie and general shenanigans.


Sponsor The Podcast - Do you find the RunBuzz Running podcast helpful? Then consider helping me continue to bring quality running content to the running community. Did you know it takes approximately 8-10 hours of work to research, record, edit and release each episode of the RunBuzz podcast? Consider supporting me by donating a few dollars to keep the show running. Your support helps keep RunBuzz podcast episodes ad-free and new episodes coming.

About the Author Steve Carmichael

Steve is a RRCA / USA Track and Field Certified Running Coach who has helped thousands of runners since 2010. He coaches online as well as locally in the Columbus, Ohio area. He is host of RunBuzz Running a top rated running podcast with 150+ episodes available for free on all major podcast apps. Steve resides in Lewis Center, Ohio with his wife, kids, and dog.

follow me on: