Favorite Routes Lists

30 Best Runs in The Bay Area

Some of the best running running in the United States can be found in the Bay area, featuring spectacular scenery and an incredible variety of terrain. Here’s our selection of the 30 runs best runs in the Bay area, stretching from Napa to Big Sur. Scroll down to see the routes. And below are some favorites by ‘theme’.

  • Waterfront Paths. Crissy Field to GG Bridge; Bay Trail (East Bay); Half Moon Bay Trail; (SV) West Cliff Drive (Santa Cruz); Monterey Bay Coastal Trail
  • Parks. Golden Gate Park
  • Multi-Use Paths. San Francisco Bay Trail (south of SFO); Bay Trail (East Bay)
  • Trail Running. Mount Tamalpais State Park; Parks and Preserves of Novato (SF North)Parks/Trails west of 280 (Silicon Valley); Redwood Regional Park (East Bay); Skyline Wilderness Park (Napa); Point Reyes; Jack London State Park (Sonoma)
  • Bridges: Golden Gate Bridge; Bay Bridge Trail
  • Views. Golden Gate Bridge/Marin Headlands; Point Reyes; Berkeley Marina; Sonoma Coast State Park; Wilder Ranch State Park (Santa Cruz)
  • Beaches for Running. Ocean Beach (San Francisco); Crown Memorial State Beach (East Bay); Seacliff State Beach (Santa Cruz); Doran Regional Park (Sonoma);
  • Beautiful Neighborhoods. San Francisco Neighborhoods; Palo Alto; Piedmont Neighborhood (East Bay); Carmel Mission

Angel Island

San Francisco, CA

A unique, traffic-free run with views and hills. Angel Island is in the middle of the Bay, accessible by ferry only. There's a 5 mile loop around the island, or a longer run can include the hill to the top. Other trail options too.
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Coyote Point

Silicon Valley, CA

This is a great run easily accessible from the highway and only 7 miles south of SFO. There are jaunts out to a beach, a promenade through a lovely green park, and a quick hike up a hill with redwood trees and good views.
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The Stanford Dish

Silicon Valley, CA

One of the most popular and iconic runs in Silicon Valley. Accessible from the center of Palo Alto and the Stanford Campus, this is a great ~5 mile loop, featuring open pastureland, a small lake, and great views of the Stanford Campus.
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The Baylands Trails

San Jose, CA

On the eastern shore between Palo Alto and San Jose, this remarkable series of trails and parks incorporates a series of undisturbed tidal marshland (Sloughs) called the Baylands. See our detailed description of the three major sections.
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West Cliff Drive

Santa Cruz, CA

Wonderful coastal running along a multi-use path that runs from Municipal Wharf to Natural Bridges State Park. It's 2.8 miles one-way. Great views, with Seal Rock/Lighthouse Point being one of the scenic highlights.
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Wilder Ranch State Park

Santa Cruz, CA

Several miles of wonderful dirt trails in this park sitting above the water. The classic route is the 2.5 mile loop along the beach bluffs on the Old Cove Landing and Ohlone Bluff Trails. Other trails lead back into wooded terraces.
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The Bay Bridge Trail

California Coast: All Routes

It's NOT possible to run all the way from San Francisco to Oakland, but this newly opened path from Emeryville to Yerba Buena Island is 4 miles of running glory. Great views of the Bay, bridges, and skylines. Separate bike and pedestrian lanes.
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Berkeley Marina

Oakland/Berkeley (East Bay), CA

Wonderful running in this area, 2 miles west of downtown Berkeley. A series of three parks and 8+ miles waterside trails along shores, tidal marshes, and beaches, with views out to SF Bay, the Berkeley Yacht Harbor, and South Sailing Basin.
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Tilden Regional Park

Oakland/Berkeley (East Bay), CA

A great running option just a couple of miles east of Berkeley. There's Lake Anza, a botanical garden, wonderful wildflowers, and extensive trails. We recommend the paved 4 mile Nimitz Way Trail, with great views of San Pablo reservoir, SF bay and Mt. Diablo.
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Sonoma Area

Sonoma County, CA

Running options in the heart of wine country include multi-use paths, scenic roads, and the Bartholomew Park Winery's trails. Good trail running at Sonoma Overlook Trail, Sonoma Valley Regional Park, and Jack London State Park.
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Sonoma County Coast

Sonoma County, CA

There are great beach and bluffside running options in the coastal area of Sonoma County. Highlights are Doran Regional Park, the Sea Ranch and Gualala Bluff Trails, Salt Point State Park, and Sonoma Coast State Park.
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Old Coast Road

Big Sur/Monterey/Carmel, CA

The Old Coast Road is a beautiful dirt track which covers about 10 miles from Andrew Molera State Park in the south to what is now the Bixby Bridge. Fantastic views. Hilly. It's a great alternative to Rt. 1, which is not safe for running.
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