Running Trails In Los Angeles

Trail running is a great way to enhance your fitness regime. Running trails can make every run you embark on an adventure. Trails allow you to experience nature and different terrain, more than this, they can be a great portal to explore cities. 

Los Angeles is one of the best cities for trail running in the entirety of the USA. The city has many beautiful parks with miles upon miles of trails that are perfect for runners.

Running Trails In Los Angeles

There are also some amazing trails located within Los Angeles County Parks which have been designed specifically for trail running.

These include the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Griffith Park, San Gabriel River Trail, and the Sepulveda Basin Recreational Trail.

So you’re looking for the best running trails in Los Angeles, but don’t know where to get started! if this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place!

Below is a list of the 10 best running trails in the Los Angeles area. We’ll explain a little about each trail, as well as how popular and difficult they are.

We’ve also included a short FAQ section that will answer any additional questions you might have.

Let’s put on our running shoes and explore the many running trails of Los Angeles. 

Running Trails In Los Angeles 

Below is our comprehensive list of the 10 best running trails in Los Angeles.

Just a note before you begin reading – some of these describe an area rather than a specific trail, this is because these areas offer multiple trails that you can choose from, or create your own with the space available.

When running trails it’s important to consider your abilities and plan out a distance that will connect with your personal training goals. 

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) 

This is one of the most popular trail running spots in Los Angeles. It features a total of 4 miles of trails, with varying degrees of difficulty. The trails are well maintained and offer scenic views of the ocean.

Mount Lowe Railway 

This is a historic railway that was built in 1881 by Charles Fletcher Lummis. The railway runs through Griffith Park, providing hikers with beautiful views of Hollywood Hills.

Hikers can also enjoy the view of the mountains while they walk along the trail.

Runyon Canyon 

This canyon has been around since the 1920s. It offers a unique experience due to its huge cliffs. Hikers can climb up these cliffs or simply admire them from below.

There is a network of trails around this area that offer different levels of difficulty, as well as some spectacular views!

Mulholland Highway

This is a famous hiking spot that connects the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean. Hikers can enjoy the views of the valley as they hike along this trail.

If you’re looking for a truly iconic trail that will push you as well as be an impressive location, this might be the one for you.

Palos Verdes Peninsula State Beach

This beach has a long history of being used for recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, and kayaking.

There is one trail we liked in particular called the Palos Verdes Bluffs, which is great training for a 5k with gorgeous ocean views. 

Venice Canals

This trail runs alongside the canals of Venice Beach and offers you a large amount of space to run. It’s a very popular trail so it can get pretty crowded during peak hours.

However, there are plenty of benches along the way so you won’t feel too cramped.

Topanga State Park 

There are many urban parks within L.A, but his park is located near Malibu and provides runners with stunning views of the surrounding areas.

Runners can choose between two main trails here: the 2-mile loop and the 3.5-mile out-and-back trail. Both are easy hikes, but can cause some difficulties for new runners!

Silver Lake Reservoir 

This reservoir is surrounded by beautiful hills and trees. It’s a great place to go for a jog, especially when the weather is nice. You can find the trailhead at the end of Sunset Boulevard.

Sepulveda Basin Recreation Trail


This trail is located in the Sepulveda Pass area. It’s a 1.75-mile trail that begins at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Westchester Parkway.

It’s a relatively new trail, having only opened in 2015. However, it’s already become a favorite among locals.

Elysian Park 

Out of all the parts on this list, Elysian park might be the most beautiful. Located in downtown LA, it’s home to tons of amazing attractions like the California Science Center, Natural History Museum, and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Runners can access the trails from several places including Exposition Park, Lincoln Blvd, and Vermont Ave. There is a mixture of different trails here including dirt paths and paved roads. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your last-minute running trail questions answered here!

What Makes A Scenic Trail?

A scenic trail is usually defined as any trail that features natural scenery or landscapes. Scenic trails are often found in national parks, wilderness areas, state parks, etc. They tend to be longer than other types of trails (e.g., paved paths).

Why Do I Need A Trail Map?

Trail maps provide valuable information on trail conditions, distances, elevation changes, amenities, etc. They also make it easier to plan and avoid getting lost.

Some people prefer paper maps while others use GPS apps. Either way, you should always carry a map when you’re out running.

What Is A Trail Race?

Trail races are events where runners compete against each other in different categories based on their skill level. These include ultra-marathons, marathon races, 10Ks, 5Ks, etc.

The distance depends on what category you participate in. For example, ultra marathoners typically run 26.2 miles.

How Long Does It Take To Train For A Trail Race?

It varies depending on how much training you’ve done beforehand. If you haven’t trained much, then it will probably take at least 4 months to prepare for your first trail race.

However, if you’ve been training regularly, then it may only take a few weeks.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Trail Race?

Many different factors determine how much it costs to participate in a trail race. The most important factor is whether you’ll be competing against other runners or not.

If you’re planning on participating in a race, then you will likely pay more than $100. On average, races typically charge anywhere from $50-$150 per person.

Can You Run On A Hiking Trail?

Yes, you can run on a hiking trail. Hiking trails are generally made up of dirt, grass, rocks, and trees so you might want to make sure you’re bringing proper footwear. 

Do I Need To Wear Special Shoes For Running Trails?

No, you don’t need special shoes for running trails. Running shoes work just fine. However, you’ll want to wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely without hindering your movement.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! As you can see above, Los Angeles is a great city for running trails, as it has a mix of gorgeous parks, opportunities to connect with nature, beaches, and iconic locations!

Make sure to pick a trail that is within your ability, and you’re bound to have a great time! We hope that this article has given you some ideas for your next trail run – but if you still have some questions, check out our extensive FAQ above!

Happy running! We hope you meet all your goals!

Megan Rinzel
Latest posts by Megan Rinzel (see all)