Lake Merritt is a great running opportunity right near downtown Oakland. A 3.2 mile path goes around the circumference of the lake. One can start anywhere, but Grand Ave. provides good access. The Oakland Museum of California is located at the south side of the park, while Lakeside Park, which includes a lovely Bonsai Garden, is at the north side of the park. You’ll also run by the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Add-Ons: For a little extra and some hill work, run up the Cleveland Cascade, a set of stairs that connects Lake Merritt with the hill neighborhoods. It’s like running up three stories. Also, Oakland’s ‘Slow Streets’ program now includes E 19th St., which leads to Lake Merritt, as well as 11th Ave., between I-580 and I-880. Slow Streets Map.
- 3.2 mile loop
- 90 feet
- Anywhere on path. Good access off Grand Ave. and from BART stations
- BART: 12th Street, 19th Street, and Lake Merritt; Parking on east side and off Grand Ave.