Elysian Park is a little known green space just a few miles north the busy urban hub that is downtown Los Angeles. The park is loved by Angelenos looking for all types of outdoor respite. The outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, urban cyclist, soccer player, and or the whole family can all find spots to enjoy the California sun in this 575 acre mile park, the second largest green space in the city proper.
What Makes It Great
The park is bracketed by some of LA’s busiest freeways, but despite its urbanity, it offers an amazing break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The 5 freeway to the north and the 110 freeway to the east are sometimes in sight from different spots in the park, but they remain out of mind due to the unique environment. The beauty of the park is complemented by the deep history of the park. Elysian Park is the oldest public space in the city of Los Angeles, dating all the way back to the late 18th century. In 1781, the Pueblo of Los Angeles was officially established by Spanish California Governor Felipe de Neve through a 17,000 acre land grant. More than two centuries later, Elysian park is the only public section of land that remains.
In the southern section of the park, you will find the most exciting landmark Elysian Park can provide the urban adventurer. Beautiful Dodger Stadium sits just below the skyline of Downtown LA in the view of the runner as she summits Angeles Point. On a particularly clear day after a rain (note that this will not happen very many times throughout the year) you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean almost 16 miles away from the top of the 750 ft high summit.
The trail runner will find a fun, challenging, and relatively quick 3-mile loop that brings you up to the top of the Angeles Point. Starting at Stadium way and Elysian Park Drive, you will run northeast along a wide dirt path that gradually gains elevation as it winds its way around the northern border of the park. Be careful, as the path narrows as you elevate, and the steep grade of the exposed mountainside fall to the north side of the trail. When you reach end of the gravel, turn right onto Elysian Park drive and follow it all the to the top of Angeles Point, the highest point along this run. The road will continue around back through the center of the park and bring you back to your starting location.
If you are looking for a slightly longer loop, you can cross Stadium Way to the West side of the road and loop the Elysian Park trail. This is a less strenuous double-track dirt path that will add some miles to your run if you’re looking for some extra distance and take you through an epic frisbee golf course.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners looking for an easily accessible urban run with some elevation gain can be entertained with this loop. There are lots of opportunities to boost your training with some steep inclines throughout the park, and some good, empty pavement to work on sprints and acceleration.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Lots of free parking along west of Stadium Way on Academy Road or West of Stadium Way on Elysian Park Drive. The trailhead is through a yellow gate on the left side of the East Side of Stadium way at the intersection of Elysian Park Drive. As there are no lights, and it can be easy to get lost do not run this trail after dark. The park is open during daylight hours, and has bathrooms throughout that are open to the public.