Best La Jolla & San Diego Running Spots


Happy New Year! If your goal for 2019 is to get in better shape, the San Diego Area is the perfect place to get into a more active lifestyle, with trails and opportunities for outdoor excitement in abundance. Here are some possibilities for you.

Broken Hill Trail in La Jolla

Take 1-5 to La ]olla Village Drive west. Then take North Torrey Pines Road to the Torrey Pines Golf Course. Park in the northernmost area of the golf course. From the parking lot, head north on the sidewalk that parallels North Torrey Pines Road. Veer left at the fire road and look for the beginning of the trail. Be careful because the trail head is easy to miss.

Once on the trail, you’ll find yourself zigzagging your way through the Torrey Pines State Reserve. There are two trails, South Fork or North Fork. No matter which you take, you’ll end up headed for a steep but scenic area covered with chaparral and just a few trees, Broken Hill Trail. It is the longest of the six trails in the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The trail itself is 1.3 miles via the South Fork but you can turn it into a thirteen mile hike by walking along the beach to the Del Mar lifeguard station and then back up the cliff. Be careful. This route is quite rocky and you should watch your footing and slow down on your way to the beach.

Jewel Trail in La Jolla

Located in downtown La Jolla along Coast Boulevard: Drive into La Jolla from Torrey Pines Road and then turn right on Prospect Street. Veer right down to Coast Boulevard and park where you can to find La Jolla Jewel Trail.

Jewel Trail in La Jolla follows the perimeter of the western side of La Jolla. From La Jolla Cove at the downtown La Jolla (the north end) the trail travels all the way down to Bird Rock. It routes down Coast Boulevard, giving you stunning views of the Pacific Ocean’s La Jolla coastline and continues south through a residential area until reaching Bird Rock. The trail is 3.2 scenic miles long but be aware of tourists and cars and not that the trail is one way and doesn’t loop back.

Fiesta Island Run

Exit the 5 freeway at Sea World Drive and then enter Fiesta Island by taking a right onto Fiesta Island Road. Park anytime along the side of the road and run counterclockwise around the loop until you get back to your car.

The road surrounding Fiesta Island Run is a loop around the island four and a half miles long. (You could choose a smaller route because the road is intersected at one point.) This is located in Mission Bay, and the Mission Bay Area is famous for its jet skiing and windsurfing so you’re sure to see some activity. You can only run in a counter-clockwise direction on this road.

Cabrillo National Monument Run in Point Loma

Take I-5 south and exit at Rosecrans and stay straight to Talbot Street, then west to Catalina Boulevard south. Catalina Boulevard becomes Cabrillo Memorial Drive and goes directly to the National Monument Park, where there is plenty of parking. Go north on Cabrillo Memorial Drive past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. (The view of Coronado and Downtown San Diego makes the ride incredible.) Turn right on Talbot Street and take it to Shelter Island, where the road becomes Catalina Boulevard.

Begin wherever you’d like along this run but remember it’s not a loop but a twelve mile straight shot. The south to-north loop is the real gem on this route. Run along the harbor (on the sidewalk or grassy areas) until you get to Harbor Island. There, a longer loop runs west-to-east. Continue on the harbor side walkway along the water to Seaport Village, San Diego. The views on this run are really breathtaking.

“Marilyn’s Run” on Coronado

Take 1-5 South to the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge and then across to Coronado. Take Orange Avenue through downtown past the Hotel del Coronado and park in the free public lot at the Coronado Shores, the famous high-rise condos.

This route is named after superstar Marilyn Monroe even though she wasn’t a runner. She loved Coronado, though, enjoying it while filming “Some Like It Hot” in 1958 at the Hotel Del Coronado.  In a lot of ways, Coronado is one big running trail. The two most popular trails start in the hotel area and head south. Looking for a beach run? Run the seven mile trot over the glistening sands of Silver Strand State Beach to Imperial Beach. Careful of a tide-weathered slope for about a half-mile south of the Shores. Would you rather run on asphalt? Start at the Coronado Yacht Club along Highway 75 (Silver Strand Boulevard.) You can run the asphalt bike path and you’re likely to find joggers there at any time of the day or night. This run is also a seven mile trek, one way.

San Elijo Lagoon Run

Take 1-5 to Manchester Avenue West. Then take Coast Highway south. Park along the road at the north end of Cardiff State Beach.

You’ll want to start on the coast in Encinitas. Run south, cross at the light, and then have a whole lot of fun when you reach the swamp area. This is undeveloped and has intertwining hiking and equestrian trails. The trails go all through the swamp-like area surrounding San Elijo Lagoon.

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