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Lake Balboa © Giggs Huang/Flickr
Lake Balboa © Giggs Huang/Flickr
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The Most Beautiful Scenic Trails To Run In Los Angeles

Picture of Daren DeFrank
Updated: 16 November 2016
Los Angeles is a fast-paced city where people are always on the run. Whether, training for a marathon or just taking a nice jog to clear your mind, be sure to check out L.A.’s best scenic running trails.
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Mount Hollywood/Griffith Park

Griffith Park offers a variety of activities in the 4,300 acres of land the park encompasses. Some of the more popular routes include Griffith Park Drive from the Los Feliz Boulevard entrance; Zoo Drive to the Travel Town Museum; and Crystal Springs Drive to the zoo. Our personal favorite trail is the one that leads from the Observatory parking lot to the summit of Mount Hollywood. The summit is the highest peak in the park and is accompanied by views of the entire Los Angeles Basin.

Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Culver City Stairs

If you’re in the mood for a little extra challenge during your run, head to the Culver City Stairs. The trail offers a loop culminating with 280 steep stone steps that will kick that last burst of adrenaline into high gear. Once you reach the top you are greeted by a sweeping view of Los Angeles from the north. The perspective looks over the Los Angeles Basin and extends from Santa Monica Bay to the west, across the Hollywood Hills toward downtown and the San Gabriel Mountain to the east.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, 6300 Hetzler Rd, Culver City, CA, USA.

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San Vicente Blvd.

A well-known spot to run on the westside of Los Angeles is the median along San Vicente Boulevard. The spot is so popular that it is common to see a dozen or more runners along with local track teams going for a run. Start along Federal Avenue and head west through Brentwood before ending at Ocean Avenue. The median is four miles in total and offers eight miles when looped.

San Vicente Blvd & Federal Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Rose Bowl Loop

For variety head to the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena. The park has over 22 miles of trails perfect for running, biking, hiking, and even horseback riding. The park has paved and unpaved paths that range from flat to steep. We suggest heading to one of the most popular trails in the park, the Rose Bowl Loop. The three-mile loop circles the world famous Rose Bowl Stadium and the greens of the Brookside Golf Course. The route is marked by colored pavement that separates cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. Bonus, there is plenty of free parking at the Rose Bowl, so working out will be hassle free.

The Rose Bowl | © Joe Flood/Flickr
The Rose Bowl | © Joe Flood/Flickr.com

Arroyo Seco Park, 5566 Via Marisol, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The California Coastal Trail

Also known as The Strand, this a 22-mile-long paved bike path runs from Torrance Beach in South Bay to Will Rogers State Park in the Pacific Palisades. You can hop on the path anywhere in between. For a shorter run, take the path for two miles from the Santa Monica pier to the Venice Boardwalk and pass the skatepark and the world-famous Muscle Beach. This path does get increasingly crowded with cyclists and pedestrians as the day goes on. Any time before 10 am though is usually very clear. If you are looking for a little extra challenge, try running on the sand next to the trail for increased resistance.

Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA, USA.

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Los Angeles State Historic Park

Located in downtown L.A., adjacent to Chinatown, there lays Los Angeles State Historic Park. The park was once a fertile basin and just within a mile of the park is the last recorded location of the Yang-na, a large Tongva village. The historic park is seated on 32 acres and is a lush green oasis away from the hustle and bustle of downtown city life. The park normally plays host to events, ceremonies, and sports but is a great place for runners to explore its trails.

Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Runyon Canyon

This popular hiking spot is infamous for its views of the city and the ocean. Located near the famous Hollywood Boulevard the park spans 130 acres. We recommend starting at the Fuller Avenue entrance. The trail can be taken in either direction, clockwise includes a gradual run up the back side of the canyon, while the counter-clockwise route is an intense incline and some steps. Either direction you run will take you to Cloud Rest and Inspiration Point. Both other unbeatable panoramic views of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.

Runyon Canyon Overlook | © Mark Mitchell/Flickr
Runyon Canyon Overlook | © Mark Mitchell/Flickr.com

Runyon Canyon Park, N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

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Elysian Park

Elysian Park is located in east L.A. near Dodger Stadium. The park was founded in 1886 which makes it the oldest park in the city. Go for a run along the west loop. The trailhead starts at Elysian Park Drive and Stadium way and offers views of Downtown L.A. and the San Fernando Valley as you run. The loop goes for 2.4 miles and at about half a mile in is where the sights truly begin. At this mark, you will reach a clearing that divulges the Golden State Freeway where you can look beyond to the San Gabriel Mountains.

Elysian Park, 835 Academy Rd, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

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Anthony C. Beilenson Park/Lake Balboa

The Anthony C. Beilenson Park is a recreation facility with 80 acres of greenery in the Sepulveda Basin of the San Fernando Valley. The flagship of the park is Lake Balboa which is the site of the Japanese Garden. The path is 1.3 miles and during the blossoming season, typically February to March, the lake is surrounded by 2,000 cherry blossom trees all in bloom.

Anthony C. Beilenson Park, Lake Balboa, 6300 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys, CA, USA.