The Best Running in California

Looking for the best running in California? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around California. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top running spots in and near California

  • San Francisco, California

    Lands End Trail

    4.7
    3.26 mi / 500 ft gain
    The Lands End Trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a fairly easy 3.26 mile out-and-back hike along the coastline of San Francisco. Entrances to the trail are at both the Visitor Center parking Lot just up from Cliff House or in the Sea Cliff neighborhood off of El Camino del Mar (...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Lover's Lane, Ecology, Mountain Lake Trail Loop

    4.5
    2.04 mi / 344 ft gain
    Tucked into a corner of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the Presidio, a beautiful little oasis of forests, beaches, and sweeping views that locals love. While the coastal trails get most of the attention here, the park covers 300 acres of prime real estate with lots of notable attract...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Clifftop Camping & Hot Springs in Big Sur

    4.7
    Campsite:There is nothing quite like driving or biking along US-1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Make sure you get a chance to do the drive during the day so that you can see all that Big Sur has to offer. Be careful when pulling off especially onto the shoulder and never stop on a curve in the road...
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  • Oakland, California

    East Ridge, Phillip, Eucalyptus, Steam, Starflower, Tres Sendas, West Ridge Loop

    4.5
    3.47 mi / 833 ft gain
    Tucked away in the hills of Oakland, you will find one of the homes of California's Coastal Redwoods. Created by a unique geographical circumstance, this forest breathes winds funneled through the Golden Gate across the bay, which created environment opportune for Redwood growth. These Redwoods a...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Secret Stairs Astro Loop

    3.0
    I learned about these remnants of Los Angeles history, just a few months ago. When I found myself in L.A. this past month, I decided to find some of these stairs, and find out what they’re all about. Back in the 1920’s these stairs were created for pedestrians to have direct routes to the trans...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Grand View Park ("Turtle Hill")

    5.0
    0.21 mi / 7 ft gain
    A recipe for happiness in the "cool grey city of love." To the seasoned San Franciscan there is no finer view in the Bay Area than that from San Francisco's front porch, Turtle Hill or "Grand View Park". If the North American continent / plate is a ship, then Grand View Park is the prow giving e...
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  • San Francisco, California

    16th Avenue Tiled Steps

    4.6
    0.09 mi / 79 ft gain
    The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps also known as the Moraga steps are an impressive community achievement, and an equally killer workout. Take an easy lap up the stairs to check out the amazing art, take in the views from the top, then get down to business. You'll be glad you made the trek over to this ...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Run the Coit Tower Stairs

    3.7
    There are 2 sets of stairs for Coit Tower on Sansome St. The first set is at Greenwich and the second is at Filbert. The Filbert steps are a little deeper per step and are mostly wood and concrete. The Greenwich steps are a little tougher because of the shallower, brick stairs as you get toward t...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Run Runyon Canyon

    3.3
    3.25 mi / 800 ft gain
    Located in the Hollywood Hills, Runyon is an iconic workout run/ hike that can give you great views all the way to the ocean. There are a few different loop trails/ hikes you can take ranging from ~1.5mi to 3.25mi all with a decent amount of elevation gain. Also, remember this is Hollywood, so yo...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Mount Davidson

    4.3
    1.03 mi / 299 ft gain
    Mount Davidson Park is located in the southwestern part of the city nestled between Diamond Heights and Portola Dr. The climb isn't too difficult, but to reach the top of the 928ft summit, you should wear close-toed shoes and be ready for some loose gravel or mud if it's been raining. The hike is...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Explore the Venice Canals

    4.4
    1 mi
    The canals are a fun and quiet place to relax away from the hectic Venice boardwalk. Take a stroll through the canals or even get in a run! The reflections in the water are the main attraction and are great for photography. Spring, after some rain, is the best time to go as the water levels are g...
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  • Moss Beach, California

    Explore the Cypress Tree Tunnels at Moss Beach

    5.0
    0.5 mi / 1 ft gain
    The Cypress Tree Tunnels are a quick jaunt from San Francisco (22 miles) and make for a great half-day trip. Getting here depends on traffic, but 30 minutes from the center of the city is doable. Parking is relatively easy. You can either park at the south end of the area at the Cypress Cove entr...
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  • Colfax, California

    Hike The Historical Stevens Trail

    5.0
    8 mi / 3376 ft gain
    Best known as one of the most popular hiking and biking trails to the North Fork American River, in part because of the easy access from Colfax. However, this is a remote trail, and hikers are advised to bring plenty of fluids as well as carry a whistle. The entire trail is primarily shaded, pa...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Twin Peaks Loop

    4.3
    2.04 mi / 259 ft gain
    There are a ton of ways to get here (and obviously that can affect the total distance) but this is starting from Clarendon. Follow along up Twin Peaks boulevard where you'll see the peaks upon your approach. Keep an eye out for traffic as there may be visitors driving toward and away from Twin Pe...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Lyon Street Steps

    4.5
    Rumor has it there are almost 300 stairs from top to bottom. This is a great place to get some exercise in if you're up for running or walking up the stairs. Do a few laps (roundtrip) and you'll be pretty happy with your workout. If you're really looking to get after it, throw in a few pushups an...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Stow Lake And Strawberry Hill

    4.9
    2.09 mi / 253 ft gain
    Strawberry Hill is one of the hidden gems of Golden Gate Park. It is named after the once abundant strawberry fields that inhabited the island. The hill, which reaches up to 430ft, is located in the middle of Stow Lake and has 2 foot bridges for access. This is a great place to run if you're look...
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