12 Best Places to Run in Los Angeles (Top Tracks, Trails & Routes)
You may not think of Los Angeles as a runner’s paradise, but it is with its varied landscapes and mild, sunny weather! LA offers runners beautiful stretches of beachfront paths, hills, canyons, vast parks, and perhaps even a celebrity-sighting along the course of your run.
But as the United States’ second-most populous city, LA also offers lots of traffic. Plus, it’s a very large, sprawling city, so if you’re visiting or new, you definitely need some guidance in finding the best places to run in LA.
That’s what we are here for!
Let’s get ready to answer the question: where can I go for a run in Los Angeles?
But first, is it safe to run in Los Angeles?
Like running in any city, use your common sense. Try not to run alone—especially at night.
Aim to run in well-lit, popular places. LA also has a lot of traffic, so try to avoid running on congested roads, which means avoid Hollywood unless you like stopping and starting at red lights constantly.
In this guide, we share the best running paths in LA that aren’t interrupted by traffic and stoplights.
Top 12 Places to Run in LA
We polled resident runners in LA and have rounded up the best running routes in LA.
1. LA River Greenway
If you want a long peaceful run that doesn’t involve stopping for cars, then head on over the LA River Greenway. It runs continuously for 10 miles alongside the river. The bike path creates an interconnected network of parks and trails from the mountain to the sea.
Start your run at different sections of the LA River, including Sepulveda Basin, Griffith Park, the City of Glendale Riverwalk, and the Long Beach bike trail.
2. Griffith Park
Speaking on Griffith Park, it was the most mentioned running path in LA by our LA locals.
Our resident runners call it an escape from the city within the city, boasting its beautiful trails with scenic views and easy access.
“It’s both the best park and one of the biggest!” said one runner. “The views are jaw-dropping!”
Indeed, situated on the eastern side of the Santa Monica Mountain range, Griffith Park is more than 4,210 acres big, featuring natural chaparral-covered terrain and landscaped parks and picnic areas. Runners will run under the canopy of trees such as walnut, mahogany, sumac, oak, and sages.
Griffith Park delivers with elevations ranging from 384 to 1,625 feet if it is hills you seek.
Because there are so many trails, it rarely feels crowded. Take the Amir’s Garden trail to get a stunning view of the Hollywood sign and the Hollywood hills.
Griffith Park is popular for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians, so watch out for horse manure! Also, it’s not a recommended running spot at night or early morning due to its vastness.
3. Runyon Canyon
How could you not run in a place called Runyon Canyon? Runyon Canyon, a 160-acre park located on the eastern side of the Santa Monica mountains, offers breathtaking views of downtown LA, area canyons and valleys, and the infamous Hollywood sign.
Popular with both hikers and runners, beware of cliff drop-offs if you’re making the steeper ascent. Some trails are for beginners, while others are for advanced hikers and trail runners. There are also paved trails if rugged terrain isn’t your thing.
4. Rose Bowl Loop
If you want a flat loop where you don’t need to worry about technical terrain or getting lost, head to the Rose Bowl Loop near Pasadena. This loop is your perfect pick if you have speedwork to do in LA.
It’s a 3.1 mile (5k) loop path heavily trafficked by dog walkers, runners, and cyclists. It also offers hiking trails. The loop has beautiful views, easy access, free parking, and bathrooms!
What more could you want?
What are the best running trails in Los Angeles?
In addition to the above running trails in LA, head to:
5. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
If you want an added reward for your run, head to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook urban park, which will treat you to a panoramic view of the entire Los Angeles Basin, the Pacific Ocean, and surrounding mountains.
The overlook stands at a 500-foot peak and is short from downtown. The path runs 2.5 miles overlooks an area once exploited by drilling but is now a restored native habitat.
The elevation is gentle, and enjoy refueling with some healthy street vendors or food trucks at the bottom. Parking is a couple of dollars, but there are metered spots along Jefferson Blvd. just west of the trailhead.
Resident runners suggest doing this run at sunset as the view is breathtaking! Then grab dinner at the food vendors!
6. Silver Lake Reservoir
The Silver Lake Reservoir is a popular 2.2. mile trail loop near Dodgertown, California. The loop circles a lake and is relatively flat. Runners say it’s a popular spot for dog walkers and cyclists but can also be peaceful and quiet.
Some of our runners head there after work and like to watch the ducks float in the pond or have a picnic with the family after a weekend morning run. There are also restrooms and a playground.
7. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area offers five miles trails and footpaths and fun for the whole family! The park offers a beautiful natural scrub habitat, landscaped areas and lawns, picnic sites, basketball courts, ball fields, playgrounds, a fishing lake, a lotus pond, a sand volleyball court, and restrooms.
Check out the Waterfall Trail at the one-mile mark and the Hummingbird Village and butterfly garden.
Where can I run on the beach in Los Angeles?
LA offers some of the best beach running options in the world.
Here are some of the best beach running paths in LA:
8. Santa Monica Strand Beach Path
The Santa Monica Strand Beach path offers 22 miles of flat, mostly uninterrupted running. The path starts north at Rogers Beach and connects to Venice, Manhattan, and Redondo beaches, ending at Torrance Beach in the south.
9. Santa Monica Beach to Venice Beach Path
If you want to be picky about what beach path you run on, our runners like the Marvin Braude path starting at Santa Monica Pier.
This path runs you 3.3 miles to Venice Beach, ending at Washington Blvd. This is one of the most scenic sections of the strand, including the famed Muscle Beach, outdoor basketball courts, and Venice Skatepark.
10. Santa Monica Palisades Path
If the iconic and beautiful palm-lined beachfront path is what you seek, then head to the Santa Monica Palisades path, which is beautiful during the day and offers star-gazing views at night along the Santa Monica Pier.
Celebrate your run on any of these paths with a dip in the ocean!
Where can I run around UCLA?
11. UCLA Perimeter Walk
You can’t visit LA without visiting UCLA! And how best to explore and experience it than by running it?
The UCLA Perimeter Walk wraps around the university, offering a 4.4-mile loop trail near Beverly Hills. It’s relatively flat and used by runners and walkers alike.
Best track to run on in LA?
12. Santa Monica College & Santa Monica High School
If you have speedwork to do, Santa Monica College’s track is open to the public! You can also use the Santa Monica High School’s track, less than a mile away, which is also open.
Where can I run at night in Los Angeles?
If you are traveling alone and must run at night alone, running along the Santa Monica Strand path is your safest option since it is well-trafficked by people (with the exception of the Dockweiler State Beach near the airport).
The UCLA Perimeter Walk is also a safer option since it’s typically busy with university students and runners and walkers. (If you can run with someone or during daylight hours, do that!)
Whether you want the bustling of the city, beach, quiet trails, or a track, LA offers no shortage of great places to explore the city of angels!
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