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Silicon Valley Running Guide

San Francisco might get all the glory for featuring some of the world’s most spectacular running routes, but there’s some gorgeous running in neighboring Silicon Valley – the world’s high-tech capital and an important business travel destination. Sure, there’s lots of traffic and sprawl, but if planned right, there’s something for every runner: gorgeous trails by the Bay; rolling, open hill runs; redwood forests; a great series of multi-use and linear parks; and some beautiful residential neighborhoods. The caveat is that it takes some planning — you can easily get stuck at a hotel on a busy road where a pleasant run is not outside your doorstep.

 Great Runs has developed a guide to the best places to run in Silicon Valley, organized by type of run, and by geography, stretching from San Francisco Airport south to San Jose. Here are our favorites:

SFO to Palo Alto

SFO to Palo Alto

Best Coastal Running. If you get stuck near SFO, don’t despair — there’s great running along the Bay. The San Francisco Bay Trail runs from just north of the airport to San Mateo, with great water views the whole way. A favorite section is Coyote Point. For a destination run, head to Half Moon Bay, where the Coastal Trail features great views of the beach, surf, and cliffs to the north.

Iconic Runs of Palo Alto. If there’s a must-do run in Silicon Valley, combine the spectacular 5-mile route around the Stanford Dish with an exploration of the Stanford Campus. And just off University Ave. are gorgeous, tree-lined streets featuring historic homes.

Mountain View to San Jose

Mountain View to San Jose

The Baylands Trails. 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. It’s a combination of running along the Bay, out along the levees of the sloughs, and through some pleasant parks. There are three main sections: East Palo Alto; Mountain View (near Google and NASA); and toward San Jose (the Alviso trails). More Information

Hills and Preserves Near I-280. There is a wonderful series of parks, preserves, and running trail options in the hills close to the highway: Favorites include Rancho San Antonio, Sawyer Camp Recreational Trail, Huddart Park, Wunderlich Park, and more. There’s a great mix here, including open fields and meadows, trails through redwood forests, and multi-use trails along reservoirs. For full descriptions and maps, click here.

Note that Great Runs has three other guides for the Bay Area: San Francisco, East Bay (Oakland/Berkeley), and San Jose.

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