Places To Run In The Valley (Like, Totally!)

Griffith Park Trail Junctions

Being born and raised in Los Angeles (by “Los Angeles” I mean LA proper) I’ve always had a natural aversion to the Valley. For those who are not familiar with the term “The Valley” it refers to any place that is a part of the San Fernando Valley in LA County (also known as known as the 818, Valle or SFV). I realized that there was a whole world (never mind that it’s almost an entire county) of running routes just recently discovered when I finally opened up my running horizons. Truth be told, I just started making friends in that area, and since I’ve been hanging out there more, decided I might as well adjust my running routes accordingly. Here are some cool routes I’ve tried out in the 818:

Los Angeles River (Atwater Village): Worlds away from the South Los Angeles portion of the river I usually run, the bikepath in Atwater Village has lush trees, rocks, horse stable along the path and when running North will take you all the way to Burbank.

Hollywood Reservoir: Only half of the perimeter road is open (other half will be open in Spring 2011). Park at the Weidlake Gate run the route to North Gate and back for a 4 1/4 mile course. Most of the path up to North Gate is a nice paved dirt road. Comes with some great views around the lake and it’s very “un”-Hollywood despite its name.

Lake Balboa Park: Great park with a running trail, bike trail, kids playgrounds, a lake (probably man made) and lots of ducks! I did a 5K race here recently and it was a ton of fun.

Dirt Mullholand: A well-maintained dirt path flanked by chaparral and seasonal wildflowers the unpaved portion of Mulholland Drive with the not so glam moniker of  “Dirt Mulholland” is a stellar place to go for a run. Dirt Mullholand is the 8 miles unpaved road above the western San Fernando Valley.*

Griffith Park: You can’t go wrong trying different route combinations through the largest municipal city park in the country. This whole area has lots of great scenery with trails (if you’re into that). Take a route along the way to run across the Shakespeare Bridge or even do a loop around the LA Zoo – depending on how long you’d like your route to be. (I’m aiming for 20 milers here so I’ll be able to fit all this in and then some!)

*Here’s a site with really cool maps for other trails near that area (Note: not for the faint at heart runners – I’ve been up around these parts and it can get pretty rocky at times).

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About the Author: Jennifer Tran

She's a runner, rebel and a stunner. On her merry way saying, 'Baby, whatcha gonna?' Looking down the barrel of a hot metal .45 - just another way to survive.



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