The beauty of Los Angeles is hard to beat when pitted against any other urban city in America, but if you’re on the run in these parts, it’s important to find a favorite spot filled with nature’s finery to take every run over the top.
Ferndell in Griffith Park
For arguably the prettiest place in Los Angeles to run, try this nature trail shaded in ancient trees, including native redwoods and California sycamores. Not only will your effort reward you with a picturesque stream, but you’ll also be privy to the place where the Star Trek production team chose to represent the planet Bajor. This place is great for hot afternoons and post-workout picnics (aka collapsing on the soft grass to eat a protein bar) in the park.
Get up close and personal with the iconic Hollywood sign as you run past dogs walking their owners and hikers passing the time by slowly taking the modest incline. Stop by for a free yoga class (available daily), or scale up your casual jog with any number of more aggressive options in this diverse destination. Register to share photos and swap workout regimes.
Bluff Trail Park
If it’s alternative scenery you like to speed past, opt for this trail not far from LAX that takes you straight to the Ballona Wetlands Freshwater Marsh. Connect to area trails — though you might have to run a little road in between — or just make this a quickie in a never-too-crowded city spot. The bluffs are scenic and the area peaceful on this pleasant, local jaunt.
Related: Best Off-Beat LA Recreation Spots
Brand Park Hiking Trail
Starts near Green Cross
Trail running shoes (with cleats) are necessary to take on this scenic Glendale Trail in the glorious Verdugo Mountains. Don’t forget your water bottle, and only try this pick if you’re in good shape. Go for the glory of the peak with magnificent Pasadena and La Crascenta views, and then sail back down to the start where you’ll once again greet the Green Cross lady statue. Rigorous, but worth it, and equipped with a lovely Japanese tea house, it’s a Zen place to catch your wind.
Manhattan Beach Dr.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
For soft sand running along the trail, pick Manhattan Beach, especially at dusk when the scene is more serene. Gaze directly into the Pacific and feel the reward of a few hills over your shoulder while you get a great lower-leg workout with a distracting view. Avoid the pier until after your jaunt, and then slow down and soak up a more frenetic scene until you reach a standstill at the water’s edge.
Related: Best Fitness Hiking Trails
Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.