There are some great running options in 5,800-acre Mission Trails Regional Park, located in La Mesa, 12 miles northeast of San Diego. There are 30 miles of trail running with something for all abilities. Lake Murray is 1.5 miles south of the southeastern end of the park.
Lake Murray Path. The 3-mile paved path along the lake is very popular with runners. There nice views of the lake and area mountains. Note that it’s not possible to go all the way around the lake – it’s a 6-mile out and back. Use the separate parking lot to access the lake.
In the main part of the park, the best option for easy running is the paved 2.6-mile road/path between the Visitor Center and the campground, called the Father Junipero Serra Trail.
Another easy and scenic option for trail running is the series of trails in the Grasslands area, such as the 1.2 mile South Grassland loop. This path is wide and open, with beautiful grasslands. Can be a real treat when there are wildflowers!
The trail map has good information on the trail and loop options, including ratings on difficulty. Look for “1”. Anything 2 or higher will be more challenging.
- Easy: 1.2-mile Grassland Loop, 2.6-mile Father Junipero Serra Trail
- Moderate: 2.3-mile Visitor Center loop
- Challenging: 4-mile North Fortuna Trail to the challenging Fortuna Saddle Trail.
- Super Challenging: 3 miles to the top of 1,591-foot Cowles Mountain, the highest point in San Diego (city).