Balboa Park is home to some of the best hiking and running trails in San Diego. Whether you want to go for a run or hike, these trails provide plenty of options.
Running trails range from 1-mile sections to more challenging ones that can take up to 30 minutes or more. Hiking trails range from leisurely strolls to longer hikes with more elevation gain.
Running is great for staying fit, but it’s not suitable for everyone. If you’ve never tried trail running before, check out our tips near the bottom of the article. And make sure to check out our list of the most popular paths in Balboa Park.
Hiking is another way to explore this beautiful park. It requires less equipment than running does, but it also takes more skill and knowledge to navigate your surroundings.
You’ll need to pick a good spot for your hike beforehand. Make sure there aren’t any potential hazards, such as cliffs, slopes, creeks, and super steep terrain.
It’s also important to consider if the area has been recently wet due to rain. Many places here have streams, and rivers. When picking a route, keep an eye out for signs of recent erosion
Florida Canyon is located inside Balboa Park. This canyon is home to several trails, such as the Balboa Park Pathway, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the El Prado, the California Native Plant Trail, and a path running alongside Balboa Park Nursery.
California Native Plant Trail
The California Native Plant Trail is found in the center of Balboa Park. This trail takes visitors around the park while offering stunning views of the surrounding city. The trail begins east of the park at the San Diego Botanic Garden and continues north.
It meanders around many different gorgeous plants, allowing you to spot some interesting and rare species. It contains over 100 native plants grown in various habitats throughout the region.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
This nature preserve is home to more than 4,000 animals representing 250 species. Visitors can walk the paved pathways or ride bikes to get around the park. Its notable attractions include the African Journey exhibit, Gorilla Kingdom, and Tortoise Lagoon.
Balboa Path Parkway
The Balboa Path Parkway is a beautiful part of the park. Its primary use is for walking and biking. However, people are welcome to run on the pathway during designated times.
Morley Field Dr
In Balboa Park, Morley Field Dr is a road that leads to the California Native Plant Garden. The street serves as an access point for visitors who wish to enter the institute’s campus.
In addition, people visiting this path often take advantage of the Morley Field Sports Field, Balboa Park Tennis Club, and Morley Field Dog Park.
Richmond Street runs along the northern edge of Balboa Park. This thoroughfare has long served as the main entrance to the park. It’s excellent for running on as no cars travel down this road.
Richmond Street also connects to numerous bike paths. In addition, the Boy and Girl Scout Camps are nearby.
So it’s a perfect place to drop off your kids before going for a run.
Trail Running Tips
Running doesn’t always have to mean pounding pavement. The beauty of running outdoors lies in the natural species you’ll see while you’re getting fit. Whether that means heading to a nearby park or even taking the time to run along the beach. But what if you’re new to this form of exercise?
Or just haven’t gotten much training under your belt? Here are some helpful tips to help you start off right.
Start slowly. This is especially true for beginners who may feel anxious about doing something new. Beginners should start by walking briskly — for five minutes to warm up the muscles. Then gradually increase their speed until they reach their desired pace.
Take breaks when needed. As tempting as it may be, try to avoid spending too much time sitting down during a long workout. Instead, stretch it out every 20 to 30 minutes to give yourself opportunities to rest.
Watch for uneven surfaces. Thankfully, many of the trails are designed for people using wheelchairs or walkers due to their smooth nature. However, be careful with what you step on and plan accordingly.
Be mindful of your breathing. While it’s good to breathe in deeply while exercising, do so only when your heart rate decreases. Otherwise, inhaling too deeply could cause fatigue.
Be prepared for rough weather. Some of the trails in Balboa park may require wading through mud or climbing over rocks and roots that may be slippery after rain. Be sure to bring appropriate footwear to protect against sharp objects and other potential hazards.
You must know what to eat after a run. Protein bars and supplements are often brilliant for increasing your energy levels.
Balboa Park is an incredible place that offers more than just a collection of trails. It also serves as a hub for outdoor activities, including biking, running, jogging, tennis, soccer, etc. As long as you’re willing to keep moving, you should find yourself enjoying one of the park’s many beautiful locations.
Whether you prefer to jog, bike, run, or hike, you’ll definitely want to consider bringing along a pair of comfortable shoes. Fortunately, Balboa Park provides benches, restrooms, and drinking fountains.
No trip to Balboa Park would be complete without stopping inside one of its many sports facilities. However, you also need to take advantage of the park’s many opportunities outside of them. There is always something new and exciting to see, from playing in the garden, going on a run, taking a stroll, picnicking, or simply relaxing by the lake.
There are so many things to do in Balboa Park that it’s hard to get bored. However, suppose you ever start feeling tired. In that case, you can rest assured that you’ll never be very far from other entertaining venues. After all, the park is situated near San Diego.