Los Angeles LA Skyline
Los Angeles skyline (Matthew Gush/Getty Images)

Active Cities: Escape from L.A.

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

Los Angeles LA Skyline
Matthew Gush/Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

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.    


“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.”


“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.”

Trail Run

Los Angeles california Griffith Park
A view of downtown Los Angeles, California, from a trail in Griffith Park a short hike north from the Griffith Observatory. (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

WOman asphalt road running
Fit woman running on a asphalt road (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 Mullholland Drive Marvin Braude
Mountain Bikers approaching unpaved section of Mulholland Drive, in Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park, part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area. (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

San Gabriel River bike trail 2.75 long beach california
A photograph of the San Gabriel River bicycle trail at mile 2.75 on the border of Long Beach, California. (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.
Echo Park, L.A. (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 Shore Hotel Los Angeles Blue night ready for launch
La Shoe Hotel (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

Easton Gym LA california hollywood west
Inside Easton Gym (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

Helen's Cycles Biking LA
Inside Helen's Cycles in Santa Monica (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.

Runner's Circle Shop Los Angeles
A Runner's Circle (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.

From Outside Magazine, Apr 2014 Lead Photo: Matthew Gush/Getty Images