Best Running Trails in San Diego

Ready to mix up your running routine and check out more areas of America’s Finest City in the process? San Diego is home to more beautiful running routes than we could ever possibly list, so we compiled a few favorite places to run ranging from quiet neighborhood secrets to popular, heavily-visited areas to help you find something no matter what kind of run you are in the mood for! So lace up your shoes and head outside! Here are some excellent running trails in San Diego.

Mission Trails Regional Park

1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119

Mission Trails is a real gem for San Diego nature lovers and outdoor runners, with nearly 65 miles of trails that wind through a 7,220-acre open space preserve. When planning your run, check out the trail map to see which are easy, moderate, or difficult. Feel like taking your run to the next level? Take the 5-Peak Challenge! The nice thing about Mission Trails is the variety — with this many trails and peaks to climb, you can visit many times without ever getting bored of your workout!

Sunset Cliffs Coastal Trail

Palisades, San Diego, CA 92101

Your pooch is welcome to join you on this 1.7 mile out and back trail, although he or she may get excited by all the birds and wildlife you may see on your job! While you run, be sure to keep your head up so you don’t miss the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and San Diego coastline.

Marston Point

Eighth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Located on the southwest side of Balboa Park, a tree-lined area leads to mostly flat paved trails that can be described as easy-to-medium in difficulty. Choose from a 1-mile paved trail, a 1.6-mile trail that includes some unpaved and road surfaces, a 2.6-mile tree-lined path that winds around some of the park’s prettiest views, or the 3.3-mile trail that winds through the section of the park that was once home to the 1915 Panama California Exposition.

Tecolote Canyon 

5180 Tecolote Rd, San Diego, CA 92110

Looking for a new place to run? Start at the nature center in Tecolote Canyon park to learn about the plants and animals you may see on your run, then see how many you can spot! The park’s six miles of trails can be used for walking or mountain biking as well as running, and dogs are allowed on a leash.

Otay Valley Regional Park

2369 Beyer Blvd, San Diego, CA 92173

This beautiful park in south San Diego has a lot of nice trails for running or walking. You’ll also be treated to several scenic viewpoints, including glimpses of a sparkling lake. After your run, have a picnic and relax at this family-friendly park.

The Embarcadero and Convention Center

111 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Visitors to San Diego staying near downtown should definitely go for a run (or walk) along this route. Start at the Convention Center and travel up along the Embarcadero. Run along the waterfront with ships and marine life to your west, and shops and restaurants to your east as you make your way past Seaport Village up to Waterfront Park. With all this, you will want to stop mid-run for a photo op or two!

Switzer Canyon

2800 Maple Street, San Diego, CA 92104

This canyon crosses a residential area and acts as the diving line between the North Park and South Park neighborhoods. A favorite of locals, you’ll see plenty of native plants and flowers as you run along the plant-filled river canyon. 


For more articles about exercise in San Diego, check out this resource guide!

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