Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Editor’s Note: This is one of the many posts you’ll be seeing here from Nat Runs Far—keep an eye out for more as she joins #TeamWR as a weekly writer!
Los Angeles is often thought of as huge, sprawling city filled with smog, endless traffic, movie star hopefuls and bikini clad beach babes—am I right?
When I first moved to LA, it was the summer before my junior year in high school and I was devastated to leave my Midwestern roots in Ohio to travel to a foreign land. The only way I knew how to cope was to run.
I’d like to share with you a completely different side of Los Angeles—a few of the many gorgeous, silent running trails sprinkled with spectacular views. We’re talking about vistas that will make you forget you are actually running, from towering mountains and steep canyons to azure blue panoramas of the Pacific.
Los Liones Trail
Located in the Pacific Palisades section of the city, I have one word to describe it: Incredible. From the moment you step onto this trail you are in for a treat. Lush foliage and mountain views await, until you suddenly come around a corner and get a peek of the Pacific Ocean in all its glory. As the trail continues its ascent up and up, you’ll continue to spy canyon and ocean views until you get to the top. There you will find mountains and views of the entire city on one side and ocean vistas on the other. You can even see Catalina Island (located 22 miles out to sea) way out into the distance. Not only is this a stunning trail, it’s long—you could run far enough out through Topanga State Park to make this a 15- or 20-mile run and beyond.
This beautiful trail is located in the Brentwood section of LA and is one of my favorites. A runner will see a glimpse of the ocean at the start of this trail, but it’s all about the mountain and canyon views (and incredible sunsets!) on this run. My favorite memory is running a 17-mile training run here while my husband rode his mountain bike by my side. We hired a babysitter to be with our kids for half the day and had so much fun on our “date”! Beware, there is wildlife, especially at dusk and dawn—mountain lions and coyotes make their home here, but the trail has enough runners, bikers and hikers during the day that it doesn’t pose a problem.
Sycamore Canyon Trail
This trail requires a trip outside of the city, and the drive alone is a true gift. You’ll hop in the car and drive along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) north past Malibu. Want to rent a convertible and experience Southern California at it’s finest? This is the trip to splurge and make it happen! You’ll arrive at Point Mugu State Park and the start of Sycamore Canyon. I used to run this trail with my cross country team in high school and it is a very special place. Lots of steep hills, lonely stretches of trail and beautiful ocean views. If you stop and look off into the distance, you’ll see a lone long distance runner speeding by, getting in their marathon training or preparing for an ultra marathon. Once you’ve finished your run, simply jump into the ocean for a cool down!
Fryman Canyon Trail
LA has so many smaller cities nestled within the sprawl of our metropolis and Fryman Canyon is one of them. Located in Studio City, this trail takes you completely away to a place of tranquility. This trail is so fun and you can choose to do a short three mile run or add on for a longer run.
Temescal Canyon Park
Begin your run from this stunning park and be sure to wear your trail running shoes. These trails start flat and quickly go up, up, up with very technical footing. You can run all the way to a waterfall and beyond. My family and I adore this park and it always makes me smile to run here. It is tucked away from any hint of urban living and you simple go to enjoy nature’s beauty and a butt busting workout.
Have you been to Los Angeles? Where is your favorite place to run?