Trail Running in San Francisco

San Francisco Trail Running
Recently we met up with several friends in SF to run the beautiful Marin Headlands trails. Located north of San Francisco, just over the Golden Gate Bridge, this hilly area has great views of the bridge, bay, and the city. Strava link to our 9 mile route can be found here
Trail Running San Francisco
San Francisco PATH projects
Trail Running Marin Headlands
There are many loop options available to find your ideal distance, from a short run to ultra. 
PATH projects running shorts
Marin Headlands running
Scott Bailey and Toby Silver trail running San Francisco
Stunning coastal views from many sections of the trails.
Stunning coastal views from many sections of the trails. 
Trail running PATH projects
The Run Experience Craig Dos Santos with Scott Bailey from PATH projects
running hills PATH projects
Most of the trails here are non-technical fire roads. The terrain is hilly with significant elevation change on most of the routes. 
running up hills with friends
Some of these hills are no joke! 
group of runners standing on top of hill
Jennifer and Toby running San Francisco
Some of these challenging hills are definitely worth the unbelievable views from the top!
Marin Headlands Strava
Our good friend Toby Silver showed us around on his local trails. Check out his project 50 Shades of Pavement (Instagram | Strava). He is running the entire city of San Francisco, all 1260+ miles and 2612 streets. There are 36 neighborhoods, over 50 hills and nearly endless vistas. He is already 95% there!  Read more!
San Francisco running Toby Silver

🚨New enter for a chance to win a $100 PATH projects gift card.🚨(Congrats to Chuck Riddell for winning last weeks $100 gift card)

To enter, let us know in the comments below, what is your favorite place to run and why? One winner will be annouced on July 15th. Good luck! 


  • Max XC course in Waverly, Iowa. I prefer running on grass due to shin splints flaring up a few years ago. The course has enough hills to not be boring and I can easily hop onto some pavement to mix up the surfaces as needed.

  • Best place to run is duck creek parkway trail in Davenport, IA. I haven’t lived there for years and yet it still sticks out as a user friendly recreation trail with lots of wildlife and never too far from home. I wish every city had a trail just like this one.

    Jacob Robinson
  • UW Arboretum in Madison, WI. It’s surprisingly empty considering that it’s right in town!

    Matt Kohlstedt
  • My favorite place to run is Erwin Park in McKinney, TX. It is my home trail and I am out there as much as possible. It has a great mix of technical terrain as well as open fields with faster sections. The elevation fluctuates just enough to make it challenging. Plus, it is a beautiful park and a great getaway to nature not far from the city.

    Jeff Smith
  • Best place is around Miramar lake in San Diego.

    John Lin
  • So far, the trails around Colorado Springs/Pikes Peak area.

  • I really enjoy the blue ridge mountains in Virginia.

    Travis Diehl
  • I recently moved to downtown St. Louis so I have to drive 30min plus to near by trails. A friend recommended Rockwoods Reservation and the trail is called Green Rock. It’s a great out and back through Greensfelder. With plenty of technical areas really get to out some work in. Because in the end of a run who doesn’t love feeling drained.

    Caleb Smith
  • White Mountains, NH! Steep, rocky, and wild: a trail runner’s playground.

    Ryan Page
  • Best place to run is the white stone river in Austin’s Barton Creek Greenbelt. It’s an area in the north side of the trail that doesn’t have a name, but that’s what I call it.

    D'angelo Shakur
  • At sunrise in Richmond Park, London – UK, because you run through herds of deer that roam wild in the park.

    Simon Young
  • Highland, MI MTB trail

    Steve Martin
  • My favorite running location is San Diego. Between the beaches, parks, and weather, it’s so great.

  • I really like it when I make it up to Powder Mountain, but really any of the mountain trails in the Ogden area are great. When we’re in the Park City area, they have some great little loops.

  • My favorite place to run is on Padre Island National Seashore Beach!

    Brandon B
  • Harriman state park. Challenging technical trails but that is the fun part.

    Gedaliah Robinson
  • My favorite run is along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, north from Emigration Canyon in SLC, UT

    Meade Mackay
  • Near Savannah GA, there are great trails around tidal marshes, where tiny crabs scurry out of your way as you run. Sunsets and sunrises across the marshes are breathtaking.

  • Upper Cohasset in Mill Creek Park.

    Brian Cheeks
  • Near Chicago the trail running options are limited, especially with a family. Southwest of the City is a couple of sprawling park district areas with well kept trails called Palos Park Woods is really a diamond in the rough. There’s tons of weekend trail traffic because of the limited options and you can stick to the main areas or strike out on rarely traveled rough paths. There’s also a stair climbing area that really can bring in the crowds. Great weekend long run destination.

    Keith Koopmans
  • Hands down…West Maui. Great trails up W Maui Crater, tradewinds and occasional showers to cool you down, humidity to keep you loose, lush forests or coastal views every turn.

    Eric Horowitz
  • The Foothills in Boise, Idaho. Especially Polecat Loop.

  • It’s everywhere…from the late season snow covered peaks of the Sawatch Range, gritty sidewalks in LA, dusty single track in the foot hills, or the sunny, sand covered paths in San Diego. It’s gearing up and embracing the weather regardless and accepting days where lacing up is the hardest part. It’s taking an extra rest day, or doing extra PT exercises when you’re injured and recognizing it as part of the experience. The journey is the reward—it’s about the story—getting caught in a hail storm, chasing a PR, committing to the training cycle, it’s the workout where you went the extra mile because you felt great, or took the shortcut home when you knew it was time to back off. It’s smiling ear to ear bombing downhill on trail during the golden hour after a stressful work day, or laughing at yourself when a 5k around the block shakeout feels like you’re giving it everything you have, when you’re 2 minutes off race pace. It’s about forgetting your watch at home on the charger, and then enjoying the recollection of what it was like to run before GPS and leaving it there for a week. The best place to run is where we are emotionally, physically, spiritually— running will always be there.

    Brandon Jeffs
  • I live to run the trails along the bluffs above Lake Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes it is truly one of the most beautiful areas of the USA

    Tim Gunnett
  • Buena Vista, Colorado! The Barbara Whipple Trail System is amazing, starting in the town you can go anywhere! From fire roads to technical climbs it has it all for any trail runner. It was the place I first began my journey with trail running!

    Chris Marais
  • Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park, Indianapolis, IN

  • My favorite place to run is here in Central VA on the Appalachian Trail, southern section of the Shenandoah National Park! Challenging climbs, classic technical Beast Coast roots and rocks, plus an abundance of wildlife and cascading mountain streams with waterfalls make it the perfect trail for an hour, afternoon or day-long run!

    Steve Combs
  • My favorite place to run is Staten Island, NY, where I was born and raised and where I got into running. Staten Island, one of New York City’s five boroughs, is home to 1/2 a million people in 58 square miles. The current school district I teach in is bigger than that. Despite the crowded environs, Staten Island has great training variety with protected lands (miles and miles of trails), beaches and boardwalks, public parks, hills galore, and many a high school track with poorly locked gates. It was through this exploring in my early days of running that I was asked to get into coaching, a life-defining moment for me. I’ve run in Boulder, Colorado, run in a number of European countries, and had some great workouts in the Adirondacks. But there is that extra emotional pull running at home.

    Michael Potter
  • There is section of the semi legal “Dirt Loop” that runs behind my sub division in Athens, GA for 3 miles to the back of our local Home Depot. It is a great rolling dirt trail that is maintained by our local mountain bike community. I love the challenge of measuring my effort over 10K. I love rolling into the Depot’s front door, trot straight to back of the store for a natural break and a drink of water. I love darting in and out of the woods while watching the rest of the world rolling along in their cars.

  • Traverse City- Grand Traverse Bay: Center Road and East Shore Road

  • My favorite place to run is Letchworth State Park. It has a gorge with several waterfalls, lots of scenic overlooks, and a lot of beautiful woodsy trails!

  • Mount Sentinel in Missoula, MT is where i got my start in trail running and is still my favorite place to run. Large variety of terrain, steeps, fireroad, single track, etc. Super accessible from town. Love it!

    Luther Manasco
  • The Bay Farm bay trail at 5:30 a.m. The trail is on an island off the coast of Oakland and looks out across the bay at the San Francisco. Listening to the sounds of the bay while watching The City waking up and peaking through the fog – Magical!

  • I enjoy anywhere in the Wasatch! Excited to hit some trails in WA end of August

    Brandon T Root
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz County

  • My favorite place to run is at the Gorge/Ancient Lakes, in WA State. Miles of great trails, waterfalls early in the season and it’s basically a mini Grand Canyon, and only 2 hours from Seattle.

  • Love the Palos trail system just outside of Chicago for a nice mix of single track trails and crushed limestone paths. And the 18.5 mile lakefront trail along Lake Michigan in Chicago is beautiful during all seasons…

    Greg Smith
  • Ridgeline Open Space in Castle Rock, CO

    Gio DiDomenico
  • Favorite place to run is in the Santa Cruz mountains CA at the Campus trails. So many places to explore and running among the redwoods is awesome.

  • Carpinteria, CA – choice of flat along the beach or up into the mountains on the franklin trail.

    George Flatau
  • Mokelumne coast to crest trail by lake Camanche. Isolation and wildflowers all spring. Its so dry now you run the risk of starting a brush fire if your thighs rub together too much, but oh the spring is glorious.

    Chris bender
  • My favorite place to run is Upper Bidwell Park in Chico, CA.

    Jeff Merrell
  • My favorite place to run is the TRT100 trail. It has the amazing view for the lake Tahoe and beautiful high Sierra mountains.

    I-Tao Tsai
  • My favorite place to run is the Bridger Range in Montana. Rugged, technical, remote, and wildflowers all summer.

  • I enjoy the McDowell Mountain Preserve in Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, Arizona. Miles upon miles of trails in the desert.

  • One of my favorite places to run is on the dunes of Western Michigan. I live near Grand Haven and there are many places with trails along the dunes. The variety is what is great, from running in the forest to running on the beach with lots of terrain and footing changes all in a single run. Quite often I will see deer or turkey on my runs and despite the beaches and tourist destinations often being quite crowded these trails remain relatively empty.

    Steve Gennette
  • I love to run the mountain bike trail loop in Ohio’s Mohican State Park. The trail is always in great condition and it’s one of the most beautiful forests in Northern Ohio.

    Blake Owen
  • Right now, favorite place is through my neighborhood streets – pushing my 3yr old daughter in the stroller singing “Baby Shark!”

    Colin Chapell
  • Just ran out in Leadville for the first time… yeah that didn’t suck at all.

  • My favorite place to run is the public trail right by my house. It is so peacefully quiet in the early mornings when I run and right at mile 3, I get a nice view of Lambeau Filed!

    Joe Van Remortel

Leave a comment