Take a Jog: The Best Kept Running Routes in San Diego

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Photo from 'Ed Yourdon' via Flickr

Photo from 'Ed Yourdon' via Flickr

Running can get dull. Runners tend to choose the same routes because it is easier to gauge the distance and level of difficulty; but all this becomes very routine. In San Diego there are hundreds of running routes that will entertain every runner and add just the right twist to ones weekly workout. So if running in San Diego sounds like a fantastic idea, then check out these five running locations today!

Cholla’s Lake Park
6350 College Grove Way
San Diego, CA 92115

Located in Lemon Grove, Cholla’s Lake offers a serene running loop suitable for any runner. The lake is managed by park and recreation which means that it is always in good condition. In addition to the 0.8 mile loop, there are circuit training tools placed intermittently along the path. The path is dirt and has a couple of tiny hills, but nothing that will make a runner’s quads tired. If hills are needed for the workout, there is a very steep hill on the backside of the loop which can be used for drills.

This little loop is a secret gem in San Diego and is never very busy. There is a shaded parking lot and runners should be prepared with sunscreen and bottled water. There are restrooms, benches, and water fountains in the park.

Murray Lake Dam
5540 Kiowa Drive,
La Mesa, CA 91942

Lake Murray is situated in the neighborhoods of Santee and La Mesa and is a part if the Mission Regional Trails Park system. The running route is an out and back totals 6.4 miles. The route runs along Lake Murray and ends at the dam where runners must turn around.

This route is busy with all sorts of walkers, bicyclers, and runners alike. It can be very warm, so sunscreen and water are suggested to complete this route. There are a few restrooms along the way, but oftentimes the rangers forget to unlock them in the mornings. The lake is open from sunrise to sunset.

Cowles Mountain
Golfcrest Dr and Navajo Rd
San Diego, CA 92119

Cowles Mountain is a great trail in San Diego for runners who want to improve their endurance. The mountain is loaded with steep hills and switchbacks. This can be very busy midday and at sunset, so it is advised to go early in the morning or late in the evening. The total length of the trail(in and out) is approximately two miles.The trail ends at the top of the summit and is a great view of San Diego from the Mexico border up to Los Angles on a clear day. There are no bathrooms or water stations along this route and it is very important to bring water along the trail because east county San Diego can reach an upwards of 115 degrees in the day time.

Balboa Park

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, Balboa Park has thousands of running routes. The best running route starts on the west end of the park, crosses the bridge, heads south to the Car Museum, and then east toward Park Blvd. The route continues north on Park and wraps back around to the bridge and back to the starting point. The route covers five to six miles of distance and offers a beautiful setting.

No matter what time one runs this route, it will be busy. The park is loaded with tourists and visitors. There are water fountains and restrooms frequently located on the route.

Pacific Beach to Ocean Beach

Looking for a real workout? Run on the sand. Start in Pacific Beach and run south to the end of Mission Beach, which is the start of Ocean Beach. Flip around and run back. The trip is about five miles, but it will feel like twenty if it is ran in the soft sand. If running in the sand isn’t plausible, there is a boardwalk situated along the beach for roadrunners.

Keep in mind that this is a beach and there are lots of people here…all of the time. Bring a water bottle and lather up in sunscreen.

These running routes are just a few of the popular routes located throughout San Diego. The next time running is in the cards, pick one of these routes and who knows a new one may be discovered in the process.

A creative and health conscious journalist pursuing dual degrees in nutritional biochemistry and literature.


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