Miles of varied terrain and spectacular mountain-to sea scenery make it easy to find a place to run in Malibu. And with the Malibu Half Marathon & 5K fast approaching, there’s no better time to ramp up your training and discover a vast array of new mountain trails.

We find that the best routes blend exercise with breathtaking landscapes, like the Half Marathon’s 13.1-mile stretch along the PCH and Malibu’s spectacular coastline. Below are some of our favorite places for a run, from the oceanfront paths near Malibu Beach Inn to the Santa Monica Mountains.

Women running at Malibu Half Marathon and 5K

Image Courtesy of Malibu Half Marathon & 5K

Malibu Bluffs Park and Malibu Road

Casual joggers enjoy the easygoing ambiance of Malibu Bluffs Park, a beautiful 6-acre community park overlooking the PCH. Paved paths border the athletic fields and playgrounds, while several tucked away trails lead to the beach and Malibu Road—the perfect continuation for a longer run. The park is often filled with families and students from Pepperdine’s nearby campus, making it a social place for a jog.

Malibu Creek State Park

With more than 8,000 acres of savannahs, deep gorges, and mountain peaks, Malibu Creek State Park has a spectacular landscape that has appeared in films such as The Planet of the Apes and Pleasantville. The iconic park now serves as an outdoor sanctuary for runners and hikers with 15 miles of beautiful streamside trails passing through woodlands of oak and sycamore. The paths are wide and patrolled regularly by park rangers, so it is considered safe to run in the park alone.

Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach in Malibu, California

Over 4 miles of paved pathway border Zuma Beach, making the exquisite coastline popular not just with surfers and sunbathers, but athletes too. The scenic stretch is relatively flat, but runners looking for increased difficulty can alternate running between the path and the sand or add 3 miles to their route by taking Broad Beach Road, a loop that returns to the PCH.

Westward Beach

A shorter run with just as much spectacular scenery is Westward Beach, directly to the south of Zuma. Part of Point Dume State Beach, Westward offers both paved and beach running for 2 miles along the oceanfront. Along the way, runners will come across ocean-viewing platforms ideal for whale watching during the December to March migration. Or, for those looking for a more intense run, turn at The Sunset Restaurant for a 3-mile hill climb to Point Dume’s overlook.

Solstice Canyon Loop Trail

The Santa Monica Mountains are home to dramatic rock formations, plains, and ocean overlooks, offering a unique setting for trail runners. In Solstice Canyon near Malibu, a 3.4-mile loop takes runners and hikers through a shaded canyon with well-maintained trails and sights such as the oldest standing stone building in Malibu, weathered ruins, and a beautiful waterfall. The waterfall is a great place for a break with a steep trail running alongside it that leads to a number of pools above. To reach Solstice Canyon Loop Trail, turn on Corral Canyon Road from the PCH.

Circle X Ranch

Backbone Trail at Circle X Ranch in Malibu, California

For a high-intensity trail run, head to Circle X Ranch. The 10 miles of canyon and mountain trails take runners to iconic sights such as Echo Cliffs, a popular rock climbing haven, and Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. The terrain is as varied as the scenery, passing through both sandstone formations and fields of wildflowers. The trail begins on Yerba Buena Road in Malibu. To complete the full 10 miles, take Canyon View Trail to Sandstone Peak, turn right on Mishe Mokwa Trail, and return via Backbone Trail.


The Malibu Half Marathon & 5K is set for Sunday, November 6 at 7 a.m. Both the Half and the 5K begin near Point Mugu Beach and follow the coastline on a flat, out-and-back route.