United States

Silicon Valley, CA

See Also Our Running Guides for San Francisco, North San Francisco, East Bay, San Jose, & Santa Cruz

Silicon Valley conjures up images of tech, cars, and sprawl. But if you plan it right, the opportunities for running in Silicon Valley are fantastic, featuring a great variety: gorgeous trails by the Bay, rolling, open hill runs, redwood forests; a great series of bike trails and linear parks; and beautiful residential neighborhoods. The caveat is that it takes some planning — you can easily get stuck at hotel on a busy road where a pleasant run is not outside your doorstep.

Since Silicon Valley is a region and not a city, we’ve laid out this guide in a different way. Starting at San Francisco Airport, we head south along the 101 to San Jose, pointing out the best runs in the cities along the way. East of the 101, the best runs center on the Bay are more water-centric, incorporating the Bay Trail closer to SFO and the Baylands areas from Palo Alto to San Jose. West of the 101, and near I-280 are some of the best places to run in Silicon Valley,  focused on parks, hills and trail running. We’ve focused on runs near major corporate HQ and hotels — where travelers to Silicon Valley will end up — plus some ‘destination’ runs if you have time and a car. Palo Alto, the ‘heart’ of Silicon Valley, is also the location of some of the best and most accessible running in the area.

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Silicon Valley weather is fantastic. 300+ sunny days a year, and rarely too hot or humid. Note there can be a lot of variation in the weather within a small geography. Toward SFO and the east bay, the weather can be ‘San Francisco like’: chilly, windy, and foggy; whereas in the “interior” and further south toward San Jose it is warmer and sunnier. There is never snow and temps rarely fall below freezing. There can be stretches of rainy days in the winter, and hot days in the summer, especially inland. There are micro climates — it can be 20 degrees warmer just a few miles inland from the Bay.palo-alto

There are hundreds of hotels in Silicon Valley. There are generally hotels lining the 101 from north to south. There are also a lot of hotels (and more budget friendly motels) along El Camino Real (Rt. 82), though this is further inland and not always near great running. For running up in the foothills, there are great options within a few miles of Rt. 280, BUT you will need a car. There are not that many hotels along 280. A best bet is to stay in or near Palo Alto, as that provides easy access to 4–5 fantastic runs with great variety: Palo Alto residential, Baylands, Stanford University & Stanford Dish.

When planning hotels, the best bets for being near good running options are:

  • Near SFO, stay in hotels east of 101, near Bay Trail, & Coyote Point
  • Between SFO and Palo Alto, there are some good options near Redwood Shores, and off Seaport Blvd., east of 101
  • In Palo Alto, stay west of Middlefield Rd. to access residential area and Stanford. East Palo Alto has good access to Baylands trails.
  • Mountain View/Sunnyvale. Try to stay east of 101, near Google, to access Bay Trail and the numerous options around there. If further inland, Stevens Creek Trail and Permanente Creek Trails are near downtown Mountain View & Sunnyvale. Rancho San Antonio is 3 miles from Apple’s HQ in Cupertino.
  • Santa Clara. Great America Parkway and Tasman Dr. are the anchors for many company HQ, Levi’s Stadium, and the Santa Clara Convention Center. Best running is 2–3 miles east of the Convention Center to the Alviso Trails, or to the Bay Trail heading north toward Mountain View.
  • San Jose area. Lots of hotels downtown and near airport. Best running option is Guadelupe River Trail, which from downtown, east to the airport, and to the Bay. Also, wonderful running options in Alviso Bay, which is 10 miles east of downtown and 8 miles east of the airport.

Locations of Key Silicon Valley Companies
In this linked map are the major company offices in Silicon Valley. Click on the icon to see which company, or click on company name in left legend to see corresponding icon on map. Then compare their location to route maps above.

MAP of Major Silicon Valley Companies

San Francisco to Palo Alto: Key Routes and Hotel Clusters

San Francisco Airport to Palo Alto: Key Routes & Hotel Clusters

Palo Alto to San Jose Key Routes and Hotel Clusters

Mountain View to San Jose: Key Routes and Hotel Clusters

Working north to south, from SFO toward San Jose, here are the major running stores and group run options.

We thank Jim at Fleet Feet, Menlo Park, and Isaac at A Runners Mind in Burlingame for their help with this guide!

From North to South

A Runner’s Mind. Best option near Bay Trail/Coyote Point. Broadway exit off I-101.
Group Runs Tuesday & Thursday 7pm and Saturday 9am (Sawyer Camp Trail). Group walks Wednesday 7pm. Thanks Isaac for your help!

San Carlos.
Road Runner Sports. Right off 101 near Rt. 84 Group Runs, Tuesday 6:30 pm. Other location in Campbell. 

Menlo Park
Fleet Feet. Right off Rt. 82Group Runs. Multiple group runs per week. Schedule link. Great store, owned by Jim and his wife Lisa.

Palo Alto
Zombie Runner. Trail store & espresso bar. Off Rt. 82 near Stanford Univ.

Road Runner Sports. Off Rt. 17. Group Runs Tuesday evenings. Other location in San Carlos.
Running Revolution. Indy store off Rt. 17. A bit off the beaten track.
Group Runs Mondays 6pm.

San Jose
Athletic Performance. Close to downtown. Another location in Los Gatos. Group Run Schedule.

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Find races in Silicon Valley, CA

San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon. Early October. Biggest race in San Jose.

Jungle Run Half Marathon & 10k. Los Gatos. July. Includes Creek Trail, Vasona Park

Color Me Rad San Jose. Unique 5k with color being rained down on you.