Hollywood – The 7 Best Places to Exercise Outdoors

There must be something in the trendy “coconut water” in Hollywood because no matter who moves there, inevitably they’re going to start working out. Non-gym rats hit weight-lifting rooms; couch potatoes take to treadmills, and the I’d-rather-be-doing-anything-but-working-out folk climb Stairmasters, and all ritualistically. Hollywood, the home of beauty, hypnotizes everyone into adopting an image-centric lifestyle, and though Equinox Fitness Club – the go-to gym for the likes of Orlando Bloom and Heidi Klum – is a top destination for spotting celebs, there are other options for scoring a tight tush and some killer calves. The magic lies in The Great Outdoors.

Since working out is particularly important in a land rich with award-winning food tours (see Summer for a tour of delicious, ethnic eateries, and Trish for a trip to LA’s best chocolatiers), we here at GuideAdvisor have exercised our minds and come up with the créme de la créme of places to work up a sweat in LA. Hollywood tour guides offer a plethora of fun activities, but who’s to say exercising in LA can’t be enjoyable too; after all, you may just bump into a sweaty Kirsten Dunst or shirtless Ryan Gosling!

Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon’s 3-mile, round-trip loop in the heart of Hollywood is the fitness destination for celebrity sightings. Cameron Diaz, for one, visits Runyon because of its off-leash policy for dogs, Vanessa Hudgens takes to the hills for a hardcore run, and Rachel Hunter recently tweeted that she has the brightest shoes in the canyon, before asking, “…and how the hell do I get off this cliff!?” Whether you’re in it for the celebs or not, hitting the trails of Runyon canyon is prime for people-watching, ogling million-dollar mansions, and gazing at the Hollywood Sign, the Sunset Strip, and the L.A. Basin.

Bronson Cave

Albeit a short one-miler, this walk is a must because it’s a location that filmmakers often use owing to its alien-like setting. Bronson Canyon has been featured in The Searchers and Star Trek VI, and the entrance of the cave itself – a 50-foot-long tunnel that was founded as a quarry in 1903 – is best known from the 1960s Batman TV series. If you choose to hike Bronson Canyon for its “celebrity” status, be sure to also check out Yuriy’s studio tours that reveal the inner workings of the motion pictures.

Franklin Lake Discovery Trail

To experience first-hand another natural environment used in TV, head to Franklin Lake where a one-mile, round-trip walk will take you to the location of the famous hitchhiking scene in It Happened One Night, the fishing scenes in The Andy Griffith Show, as well as the spooky lagoon scenes from Creature from the Black Lagoon. Another interesting tidbit: Simon and Garfunkel used Franklin Lake for the cover photo of their album Sounds of Silence. If one mile doesn’t cut it, the trail around the lake provides access to other, more physically demanding routes, like the Hastain Trail that offers views from West LA to the Pacific Ocean. And if Franklin Lake leaves you hungry for more showbiz, touch base with Sandro, a Hollywood guide who specializes in tours of the locations of more than 40 films.

The Strand

There’s no better way to return from holiday than tanned and toned. To achieve both, head to The Strand where 22 miles of paved bike-and-walking-paths provide fertile ground for feeling the burn. Don’t feel like navigating LA alone? Saddle up to Scott an experienced cyclist from his messenger days in New York, who will not only give you a great workout, but will make you laugh with his many stories.

Sand Dune Park Stairs at Manhattan Beach

Local surfers use the stairs at Sand Dune Park as a shortcut to kick-a$$ waves, but LA fitness enthusiasts hit them for one thorough full-body workout, lungs included. The views of the city at the top of the steps that wind upwards for what seems like forever are worth the burn, but if the stairs aren’t enough, running up the neighboring sand dune will do the job.

Will Rogers State Historic Park

To stumble upon some horses, get a whiff of native licorice-scented plants, and to see LA from a perspective most visitors miss out on (look forward to views of the Santa Monica Bay, LA proper, and Catalina Island), tackle the 3 mile loop to Inspiration Point at Will Rogers State Park. Tip: To skirt paid parking, park on Sunset Blvd; the extra cash will fund one well-earned post-hike beer!

Sunset Ranch at Griffith Park

Build those buns o’ steel on a one- or two-hour guided horseback ride with Lila through the hills of the 5000-acre Griffith Park in the heart of LA. Though originally from the South, Lila is a  Cali girl from head to toe, and after living in Hollywood for years, she can give you the scoop on life in Los Angeles while showing you the land via horseback.

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