We love our little 7X7 part of the Bay Area, but sometimes it’s tough to find a route to log some serious mileage. But this weekend, don’t stress on where to do your long run — we’ve got you covered.
Whether you want to eat hills for breakfast or prefer a more leisurely flat route around the water, you’ll want to bookmark this page for your marathon training. These are the best long run routes in the city that are mostly car-free, offer some of the best views of the city, and are sure to get your endorphins flowing.
Use this run to tick off the SF-sightseeing boxes — you’ll see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Palace of Fine Arts on your run. Start at Fort Mason in the Marina. From there, run along the waterside pedestrian path on Marina Boulevard. Keep running along Marina Boulevard until you get to Crissy Field — and then just keep running along the path! In no time, you’ll end up at the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Point — that’s six miles! Need more? You can add on another two miles on your way back by running past Fort Mason to Polk Street and Bay, then turning around and running back to your start point.
This long run is ideal for San Francisco because it’s mainly flat (two major hills, minus the bridge). But if you’re going to do this run, do it early or you’ll be bumping into runners, walkers, and bikers. Once again, you can start at Fort Mason, passing through Crissy Field. Then, follow the bike path up the hill to the San Francisco Vista Point for the bridge. Run across the bridge, around the Marina Vista Point, then back. Once at your original starting point, you can run through Fisherman’s Wharf until you hit the Embarcadero. If you circle back from AT&T Park to Fort Mason, you’ve just hit 20 miles.
If you’re looking for a city trail run, this is a great three–nine-mile option. Start your run at the Lands End Lookout where you can check out the ruins from the Sutro Baths (public salt-water swimming pools that burned down in 1966). You can add on some mileage by running past the Cliff House to Ocean Beach and run along the sidewalk as long as your heart (or legs) desire… or to the end of the three-mile path, whichever comes first.
San Francisco isn’t all Bay – we also have access to the Pacific. Running by Ocean Beach is a great excuse to get coffee at Trouble Coffee or brunch at Outerlands after you log your six miles. Heads up: It gets a little cold and windy at Ocean Beach (this is Northern California after all!), so you might want to wear an extra layer.
Start at Fleet Feet, the Chestnut Street’s premier (okay, only), running store. Run down Chestnut Street to the end then turn left onto Lyon Street. Very shortly you will see the [in]famous Lyon Street stairs. If you’ve got 99 problems (and these stairs are approximately 330 of them), the trek is worth it for the #views. Make a right and then another immediately to get onto Presidio Blvd. which turns into Masonic. You’ll follow it along until you hit the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park. Run whichever way you’d like through the park and you’ll arrive at Ocean Beach having stomped seven miles.
There are lots of trails here, a dirt path that runs the perimeter around the park, and best of all — plenty of bathrooms and water fountains (clutch if you go long). And Golden Gate Park is actually bigger than Central Park in NYC! The radius of the park covers over six miles, but you can add on with trails or run the park twice to make your run longer. Plus, you’ll score bragging rights that you saw bison on your run.
Training for a trail run — or just looking to maybe get a little bit dirty? The Presidio has over 24 miles of trails for your running pleasure. We love the Batteries to Bluffs Trail and then adding on the sand stairs to Marshall Beach.
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