South San Francisco :
For close to 30 years, I have lived in the South San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It’s known for the diverse landscape of beaches, bays, mountain regions, and national landmarks like The Golden Gate Bridge. The climate keeps moderate all year round, the only significant seasonal weather shifts occurring between Winter and Spring. Recently, we have had more rain than usual, ending our 10 year drought. Hooray! Summer is very mild with temps in the upper 80’s and little to no humidity with mostly dry air. Fall is gorgeous and my favorite time of year. Trees are littered with colored leaves of burnt orange and red with golden yellow.
Adding to this, California has several fault lines making it an earthquake state. Thus, several mountains are associated with some of the many ridge and hill structures created by compressive forces between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. These provide spectacular views (in appropriate weather) of the Bay Area and include Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais, Contra Costa County’s Mount Diablo , Alameda County’s Mission Peak and Santa Clara County’s Mount Hamilton .
Where to Run:
My absolute most favorite trails to run at any time of year rain or shine are:
Almaden Quicksilver County Park – South Bay Area :
Rolling steep fire-roads with beautiful landscape of old oak trees. My favorite single track trail in the park is New Almaden Trail.
The park has 4 entrances and allows an ultra-runner like me to get in long runs with significant climbing. For those interested in history, Quicksilver is known for its historical mines established in 1846 making it California’s oldest mining operation.
Quicksilver Park is the host site for the Quicksilver 50k/100k, (Click here to Sign Up!)
Marin Headlands :
There is sooo much to love about running here. The trails take you through dense and lush forest of giant redwood trees, wide fire roads take you up steep climbs with spectacular ocean views and beautiful beaches (Muir and Stinson).
Marin Headlands hosts 2 iconic races:
The Dipsea Race – The oldest trail race in America
Miwok 100k, considered to be one of the most iconic of ultramarathon trail events.
Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve :
Rancho is most often (go to) trail-running spot. It’s nearest my home and on days when I want to get out and get it done, I can be found here. Many of the trails can be accessed from fire roads. You have your pick of running single track loops that take you through a canyon or you can test your lungs, endurance and strength by running out and back to Black Mountain or PG&E. On a clear day you can see straight out to the San Francisco Bay. Spectacular! Most days flocks of wild turkey and herds of deer can be seen as you make your way around the park. Mountain Lions reside close by so you want to keep your eyes peeled if you are out on trails at dusk.
Where to Eat:
If you are in running trails in Almaden / Los Gatos. I highly suggest dropping in to the Purple Onion in Los Gatos.
For your choice of specialty coffee drinks, homemade pastries, and vegetarian/healthy options. Everything is prepared fresh daily. The Los Gatos Creek Trail is just a few feet away so once you are done fueling up you can head out on a run.
There are a number of cafes in Los Gatos, Campbell and Almaden to choose from. However, my two favorite post run hangouts are Whole Foods Market and Aquis.
There are Whole Foods Markets all over the country. I have been in several and have seen how different the selection can be. Cupertino and Almaden are my favorites with an assortment of ethnic foods and salad fixings to choose from. So you can fulfill any food craving post run.
Aquis (in Campbell)
Last year I introduced my Trail Sister Krissy Moehl to this popular eatery. California Mex with a healthy creative twist. The menu is unique with items such as: Mango Sesame Tofu Bowl, Avocado Roasted Corn Bowl, Pomegranate Mango Chicken.
Where to Shop :
Running Revolution – Campbell, California
My (go to) running shop is Running Revolution, visit the store!
This specialty running store is located in downtown Campbell (South Bay Area), and has been in business for close to 15 years. My good friend Chris Schenone owns the store and has a strong understanding of shoe trends and gear. He can assess any issue to make sure you get what you need. He’s a runner himself and can suggest the best places to run based on your level of experience. LOVE …LOVE…Run Rev!
If you have never been to the San Francisco Bay Area you must come for a visit. You won’t be disappointed. There is so much to see and do. The trail-running is off the hook. But there’s also some pretty great restaurants, entertainment and scenic landmarks in the West.
Feel free to send me an email, if you come into town!
I would be happy to take you out on some of my favorite trails and show you around.
- Almaden Quicksilver Loop – Gate to Gate
- Marin Headlands
- Rancho San Antonio OSP Max Loop West of Deer Hollow Farm
Trail Sisters Club on Strava:
Track Goals, Share Runs, Build Camaraderie – Click here to join.