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Do you like adventure and running in the great outdoors as opposed to roads and streets. Trail, mountain and ultrarunning is rapidly growing sector in the worls of running. Whether you enjoy running local trails or heading for an adventerous expedition to the mountains or desert found one hour east of San Diego the USATF mission is to provide you with information on trails to run, mountain and trail running race information and trail running resources such as where to find gear and local trail running clubs.
San Diego boasts some of the most vaired trail running terrain and trail running races in the entire USA. Locally we have many canyons and lakes to explore right in the heart of San Diego. To our east is Lake Cuyamaca and the Laguna mountains. If you continue beyond you will find the Anza Borrego Desert and all it has to offer.
While many associate San Diego with our beaches few know that when it comes to trails we have some amazing local canyons with plenty of hills and elevation change. In the spring one can find spectacular wild flowers and natural rivers, streams and waterfalls as our canyon are part of the watershed ranging from mountais to the ocean. These local open spaces offer free parking, nature centers and miles of trails to explore and are located 10-20 minutes from downtown San Diego.
Featured events are the
Pacific Coast Trail 50
) in May and
Raptor Ridge Trail Half Marathon
Below are a few links to some of our local canyons.
is located 10 minutes from downtown and is minutes from Sea World and Hotel Circle. It has between 6-10 miles of both single and double track trails and is a great place to get in a run with lots of hills and some elevation gain. Follow this link
for great information on Tecolote Canyon, directions and trail maps.
San Clemente Canyon
is approximately 15 minutes from downtown, 10 minutes from Sea World and 10 minutes from La Jolla. The trail runs east to west along highway 52 and serves up 6-8 miles of single and double track trail. In the rain season there is a stream that runs through it before dumping Mission Bay. It is mostly flat with lots of tree cover which is unusual for a San Diego Canyon. Because of the water there is plenty of local wildlife such as coyotes, rabbits and if you are lucky enough to spot them, bobcats. Follow this link
for great information on San Clemente Canyon, directions and trail maps.
Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve
is a San Diego trail running dream. It runs east to west between Sorrento Valley and highway 15 near Poway and offers up to 20 miles of trails. The Penasquitos river runs down the middle of the canyon and due to the elevation change offers a spectacular waterfall feature roughly 3.5 miles from the Sorrento Valley parking area. There are two main trails with many river crossing connecting the South to the North side. Both sides have a main jeep road trail that extend 6.5 miles from east to west. On the east side is Black Mountain park which has water and restrooms. For those that are a little more adventerous try the single track trails that veer from the jeep trail and run alongside the river. Don't worry about getting lost becasue the trails all converge back together at various points. Penasquitos Canyon is also part of the famous Sea to Sea Trail spanning 140 miles from the Salton Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
. Follow this link
for great information on Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, directions and trail maps.
is a beautiful lake located in notheastern San Diego near the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It has many staging areas and rougly 13 miles of trails with lake views. Lake Hodges trails also connects to the San Dieguito River Park San Dieguito River Park and is part of the Sea to Crest Trail that connects historic Julian to the Pacific Ocean
allowing those that like to run great distances the ability to trek over 50 miles. Follow this link
for more information about Lake Hodges, directions and trail maps.
Mission Trails Regional Park
is San Diego's largest park and offers miles of trails and canyons to explore. The historic San Diego River passes through Mission Trails Park and a parking area and memorial can be found at the decaying dam near Oak Canyon. Take the Oak Canyon trail bridge over the San Diego RIver and explore this beautiful park. For more information about Mission Trails Regional Park, directions and trail maps follow this link
. Mission Trails Regional Park is also home to San Diego's highest peak, Cowles Mountain. This popular run or hike takes you to San DIego's highest peak of 1593 feet and provides you with panoramic views of San Diego to the West and the Mountains to our East, give it a try!
There are many other beautiful and interesting open spaces to run, hike, bike and explore in San Diego. Lake Hodges, San Pasqual Valley, Otay Lakes and Black Mountain are just a few. Follow this link
for great information on these locations, directions and trail maps.
You want mountains....we got them. Located about one hour east is
Cuyamaca State Park
. This beautiful park has over 100 miles of trails, 2 campgounds and Lake Cuyamaca. The park is has elevation between 3500 and 6500 feet and boasts miles and miles of single track trails, streams, hidden wateralls, wildlife and natural beauty. Follow this link
for more information on running, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, directions and trail maps.
Mount Laguna Recreation Area
is roughly 1.5 hours East of San Diego and has hundreds of miles of trails to explore. The famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) which spans from Mexico to Canada passes through Mount Laguna and intersects with its trails. Mount Laguna is at 6000 feet of elevation and has many campgrounds to base your trail running adventures from. Follow this link
for more information of Mount Laguna Recreation Area and all it has to offer.
If you want to run trails that are really different and you have more time check out
Anza Borrego Deser
t. With over 500 miles of stunning desert trails available Anza Borrego Park is the ultimate in desert running experience. The park is located about 2 hours East of San Diego just on the other side of Mount Laguna. It has slot canyons, oasis, badlands and amazing wildlife like big horn sheep. Follow this link
for more on running, places to explore, directions and maps.