Franklin Canyon Ranch

Best Long-Distance Running Trail, August 2010
Trail running is basically hiking—for crazy people. The mountains above Malibu and Santa Monica have some lovely views, but running uphill for 50 percent or more of the stint left us feeling insufficiently fit. Griffith Park is a popular but sometimes crowded option. For more gradual undulating inclines, a sense of seclusion, and free parking, try Franklin Canyon Ranch in the hills between Sherman Oaks and Beverly Hills. One loop takes you from the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom and Botanical Garden parking lot, past lakes and ponds, up to a peak overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains and Century City, then down an abandoned fire road lined with wildflowers. It’s about five-and-a-half miles