Active Cities: Escape from L.A.

Visiting the City of Angels and in desperate need of exercise? Here’s our guide to getting outside.

Mar 25, 2014
Outside Magazine
Los Angeles LA Skyline

Los Angeles skyline    Photo: Matthew Gush/Getty Images

Local Pro David Zabriskie, Tour de France ­veteran, Westlake Village resident:

“There’s a Starbucks at Westlake Boulevard and Agoura Road where a lot of rides start. From there you can go west down to the coastal plain for flat rides or up and over any of the canyon roads that lead to the Pacific Coast Highway. My favorites are Latigo Canyon and Yerba Buena Road.”

Local Joe Ian Richer, South Pasadena, freelance creative director:

“The Rose Bowl is the East Side’s recreational focal point. Also, 3,207-foot Echo Mountain has a steep hike up an abandoned railway that local mountaineers use to get in shape. For wildlife, hike Ontario Peak, near Mount Baldy—I’ve seen bighorn sheep up there.”

There's more to this western city than movie making and an epic coastline. From mountain biking to running to exploring, follow these tips to get outside in Los Angeles. And make sure you check out our interactive map of the city before planning a trip.    

Trail Run

A view of downtown Los Angeles, California, from a trail in Griffith Park a short hike north from the Griffith Observatory.   Photo: Serouj/Wikimedia

Griffith Park: The park has more than 56 miles of mountainous fire roads, bridle paths, and dirt trails allow you to piece together runs of any length and intensity, thanks to the park’s 1,200 feet of vertical.

Road Run

Fit woman running on a asphalt road   Photo: fatchoiGetty Images

San Vicente Boulevard: The wide median in the posh stretch from Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica to Montana Avenue in Brentwood creates a perfect seven-mile out-and-back.

Mountain Bike

Mountain Bikers approaching unpaved section of Mulholland Drive, in Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park, part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area.   Photo: Cbl62/Wikimedia

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area: There are hundreds of miles of trails here, with 150 of them open to mountain bikers. The Zuma Ridge and Backbone trails, just west of Kanan-Dume Road, offer the best lung-busting climbs and fast descents.

Road Bike

A photograph of the San Gabriel River bicycle trail at mile 2.75 on the border of Long Beach, California.   Photo: Chisq/Wikimedia

San Gabriel, River Bike Trail: This scenic path paral­lels the river for 38 uninterrupted miles, from the base of the San Gabriel Mountains in Baldwin Park to the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach.


Echo Park, L.A.   Photo: Zemistor//Flickr

Echo Park, Los ­Feliz, and Silver Lake
These 100-year-old, tree-covered neighborhoods are riddled with concrete stairs that tie them together. Pick up a copy of ­Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles and get ready to log some serious elevation gain.


La Shoe Hotel   Photo: Courtesy of La Shore Hotel

Shore Hotel, Santa Monica: This minimalist, 164-room, LEED-certified boutique hotel is just a few short paces from Santa Monica State Beach Park, the city’s pier, and the Pacific Coast Highway, which ­provides a convenient escape route. From $309.

Work Out

Inside Easton Gym   Photo: Courtesy of Easton Gym

Easton Gym, West Hollywood: For more than 80 years, Easton has been helping celebs get in shape with its ­unpretentious vibe. The original spot in West Hollywood has a roof deck with views of ­downtown L.A.

Gear Up

Inside Helen's Cycles in Santa Monica   Photo: Courtesy of Helen's Cycles

Helen’s Cycles, Santa Monica: At Helen's, rent a Cannondale road bike with a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain. $65 per day, $325 per week.

A Runner's Circle   Photo: Courtesy of A Runner's Circle

A Runner’s Circle, Los Feliz: Scope out nearby routes in Griffith Park and sign up for the store’s free fun runs, at 6 p.m. on Thursday nights, starting at A Runner's Circle.

Filed To: Fitness, Travel
From Outside Magazine, Apr 2014

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