Southern California is a running enthusiast's dream come true. With mostly mild, sunny weather the majority of the year and gorgeous scenery that includes scenic ocean views, vistas and even waterfalls. It’s no question that the area offers hundreds of runs around the region for people of all ability levels, so whether you’re new to the sport or a dedicated runner, you’ll have no trouble finding a trail that not only suits your ability level, you will also experience some of the most gorgeous landscapes this state has to offer.
Can’t decide between a nice beach run or a quiet trail? Why not enjoy both with this fantastic running path through one of Orange County’s most scenic beaches. After parking in the conveniently located lot directly off of PCH you can explore the coast and choose between 15 miles of trails, including a 2.5 mile paved trail that runs along the coastal lookouts. For an easier, family friendly run, enjoy the Crystal Cove Promenade that stretches for 2.7 miles from Little Treasure Cove to Muddy Canyon. While there, take a few minutes to explore the tide pools filled to the brim with indigenous plants and wildlife. One of the most unique features along the park’s federally listed Historic District is an enclave of 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s & 40’s located at the mouth of Los Trancos Creek. After your run, check out Corona Del Mar’s impressive selection of healthy dining options located along the Pacific Coast Highway.
As far as San Diego goes, there are numerous trails to suit every runner’s skill level but one in particular stands out above the rest. Located in the quiet town of Poway, just off the 5 freeway, the Mt. Woodson trail is 7.3 miles of picturesque trails and lookouts. Although heavily trafficked and sometimes slightly strenuous, the pathways leading towards Potato chip rock and lake Poway are perfect for both novices and veterans of the sport. Experience the best views of San Diego apart from their cities iconic skyline while climbing more than 2,000 feet along the way. Be sure to pack some extra water and some Tanri SPF30 sunscreen as the sun shines 355 days out of the year and is about as forgiving as Los Angeles traffic.
Santa Monica To Venice Beach Run
One of the most iconic sections of real estate in Los Angeles is also the perfect place for fine-tuning your runs. Starting at the infamous Santa Monica Pier, which stretches more than 3 miles to Venice Beach, and finally ending at Washington Blvd, you’ll recognize countless filming locations from your favorite Hollywood blockbusters. After that continue inland for 2 miles from the Santa Monica Pier to the Venice Beach boardwalk. From there you can rest while taking in Muscle Beach, the famous outdoor basketball courts, and Venice Skatepark for some classic California vibes.
Devil’s Backbone Trail gives runners miles of ridges to run in the San Gabriel Mountains. As you head toward the summit of Mount Baldy, you’ll have breathtaking panoramic views of cities, mountains, and the Mojave desert. Start at the Mount Baldy Trailhead to begin this 10.8-mile run that gains more than 3,800 feet of elevation. After going about half a mile you’ll pass San Antonio Falls, an impressive 75-foot waterfall. After running another third of a mile, you’ll turn onto an unmarked trail and ascend 2.6 miles to the Sierra Club Ski Hut. From there, cross Baldy Bowl and follow the trail to the north along the summit ridge. After you reach the Mount Baldy summit (10,064 feet), drop down the Devil’s Backbone Trail to Baldy Notch. After Baldy Notch, follow the dirt road that passes the ski lifts, descend back to San Antonio Falls, and retrace your route to the trailhead. This trail is equal parts rocky, steep, and technical but the payoff is worth the sweat. For information on weather forecasts, trail conditions, and upcoming events check here.
Craving some fun in the sun? California’s High Desert is a trail runner's dream for training in high-temperature climates. The North entrance of the park features trails that span the entire park so “out and back” runners can turn around at their leisure. For shorter, more diverse trails the Cottonwood entrance in the south of the park boasts one of our personal favorites; The Lost Palms Oasis Trail is a 7 mile out-and-back textbook path that is sure to appease everyone in the pack. After exploring the urban-less terrain, cool down with TANRI After Sun Restorative Moisturizer and a quick dip in one of Palm Springs world famous hotel pools.