The Best Places to Run in Silicon Valley
By Mark Lowenstein, Chief Running Officer, Great Runs
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:
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.
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.
Below are two helpful maps that will help orient you by geography, using I-101 and I-280 as anchors. 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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The Best Places to Run in Destinations Worldwide
“I’m traveling to [Chicago, London, Beijing…name your city] next week. Where are the best places to go running?” Until now, you might have relied on some random hotel concierge for guidance, or on a crowd-sourced route from one of the leading running apps such as MapMyRun or Strava. But help is now here in the form of Great Runs, which is the ultimate guide to the best places to run in cities and destinations worldwide.
Great Runs was started three years ago and has built up a catalog of thousands of curated running routes in some 400 locations popular with both business and leisure travelers. For each city, they provide guidance to the most interesting, scenic, and accessible places to run. The routes are developed using extensive research – traveling to those locations, talking with folks in the local running community, and calling reps at visitor bureaus. For a typical city, Great Runs provides maps and descriptions for 10-15 of the most beautiful routes, even designating 2-3 in each city as the ‘must do’ or ‘iconic’ run…as in, “if you only have 24 hours in Berlin, this is the must-do run”. Most routes have numerous options for distances, and other essential information such as elevation gain, public transport access, and even keywords such as ‘by the water’, ‘hilly’, etc.
Movement is pleased to announce a partnership with Great Runs. We’ll be highlighting a different city or fun list of favorite spots in each issue. For the inaugural column, we offer the Great Runs guide to running in Silicon Valley!