5 Awesome Trail Running Spots in California

By Carly Zinderman

5 Awesome Trail Running Spots in California

California’s temperate climate means that you don’t have to wait for the seasons to change to enjoy running in the great outdoors. Trail running has many benefits, whether you are training for a marathon or just looking to get out of your neighborhood and try something new. More and more people are getting into trail running as a way to burn more calories than street running and to help connect with nature. For safety, be sure your shoes are meant for trail running and bring along a buddy if you find yourself exploring new areas. And then check out some awesome trail running spots in California! 

1. Backbone Trail

The area between the mountains and Malibu Beach is filled with lots of trails that are perfect for exploring because they allow for a mix of running and hiking. Locals never get tired of exploring new routes, some of which are really long and best for experienced trail runners. Other areas are shorter and flatter and make for good training for beginners.

2. Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon has a reputation for being a celebrity favorite, but it’s also popular with regular runners that love the feeling of being out in nature while enjoying stunning cityscape views. The canyon isn’t very big, but there are a variety of trails to take so that your run can be as short or long as you have stamina for. 

3. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park has plenty of paved spots, grassy areas, and things to do and see, but what you may not know is that there are also dirt trails that are perfect for running. Many locals enjoy finding new paths to take and the view that is constantly changing from city to rural, all in the same park. Hit the trails and be prepared for changing terrain as some spots are rougher than others.

4. Toro County Park

Toro County Park is the location of the Toro Trail Run event, but you can run the park at any time without the pressure of a race. There are over 20 miles of trails to discover and you can find smooth paths that go up and down, making it a prime spot for training or exploring. There is a fee to enter the park, so it may be best for weekend trips and training if you’re looking to mix up your regular routine.

5. The Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) follows the entire state of California and West Coast. Find a spot to start and then explore one of the best and most famous trail running spots in the world. PCT is a favorite with hikers and backpackers looking for new challenges but it also makes for good runs and hikes even just for the day. Be sure to use caution as the trail goes through rough terrain and may be subject to varying conditions. 

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