Where to Run in Los Angeles: Veterans Parkway Trail

Running in Los Angeles

Since moving (even before moving), I’ve spent a lot of time Googling “best places to run in LA”. Since I’m brand new to the area and am actively discovering new things pretty much every day, I figured I’d share what I find and hopefully help someone else in the future! So, I finally found a new trail semi-close to where I live. Veterans Parkway (also called Hermosa Valley Greenbelt) is a 7.5 mile trail (round-trip, that is – it’s about 3.7 miles each direction) that goes through Manhattan Beach, California.

If you want the quick version:

Surface? Wood chips while on the trail, but you occasionally have to cross intersections and smaller streets to continue along.

Veterans Parkway Manhattan Beach

The majority of the trail runs between two roads, so it wasn’t as peaceful as I thought it would be. Just FYI.

Drinking fountains? Yes! Such a huge bonus. They even have a fancy water bottle fountain – like they do in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, for all my NYC friends – so you don’t have to awkwardly tilt your bottle and spill all the water out while trying to fill it up.

Restrooms? There’s a public restroom in Valley Park in Hermosa (on the corner of Valley Drive and Gould Avenue). The trail goes through Manhattan Beach so you could also potentially stop at a local store, as well.

Shade? Not really. There’s some, but I definitely felt the sun beating down on me. Bring your sunscreen!

Mile markers? Yes, every 1/2 mile.

Parking? Tons of free parking at the Manhattan Village Shopping Center, which is at the northern end of the trail. You can also find street parking along the path (I noticed some near the Manhattan Beach Pier) but I think you have to pay.

To get to Veterans Parkway, I put the address for Fry’s Electronics into my GPS (3600 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA) knowing from reviews online that the store is right where the trail starts. I drove a little past Fry’s and ended up parking in the Manhattan Village Shopping Center. In a city where you have to pay for everrrrrrything (even if you want a paper bag at a grocery store it costs 10 cents, sigh, and I always forget my bags), it’s so amazing to find free parking.

The long version:

I started with plans to run the full trail, about 7.5 miles round-trip. At the very beginning you feel secluded, but after a couple minutes running, you’ll find yourself on a path between two roads going through a neighborhood. (The houses are gorgeous!) Running on wood chips feels amazing, BTW. As you come into town you have to cross a few busy-ish intersections, so this isn’t the type of trail you can just zone out on. Watch for cars, mmmkay? 1.5 miles in and you’re in Manhattan Beach. I got distracted by the ocean off to my right (it always draws me in) so I ran down the steep hill on Manhattan Beach Boulevard for a little detour.

Turn here for the ocean. (You're welcome.)

Turn here for the ocean. You’re welcome for the specific directions.

Side note: It’s such a cute town. I’ve already planned an evening in MB for Brendan and myself and it includes a bar and an ice cream shop I drooled over. I can’t help myself when I smell fresh waffle cones.

ice cream gif

Umm…what were we talking about?

So, I ended up on the Manhattan Beach Pier, which offers gorgeous views of the ocean and the town. (Just remember you have to run back up the hill. Super fun.)

manhattan beach pier

Pretty nice I guess, if you like sunshine and the ocean.

manhattan beach pier

There’s also a little coffee shop right at the end of the pier. I’m bringing money next time.

manhattan beach pier

Looking back up to MB. (Can I call ya that, MB?)

I ran a little more around the town and then hopped back onto the trail where I left off. It was getting pretty hot at this point so I ran another mile out and turned around, knowing I’d end with about 7 miles for the day. Up until this point my legs felt surprisingly fresh and I wanted to keep running for hours…even though I did vinyasa yoga and a bootcamp the day before. (Evidently I was feeling ambitious!) But when I turned around there was a slight uphill and I started to fade. I made a mental note to come back one day and try out the little fitness stations along the way!

veterans parkway trail hermosa beach

Let me just work on my pull-ups real quick. (KIDDING I CANT DO A PULLUP.)

Here’s a map of the route I took:

veterans parkway map

Total: 7 miles, 10:12/mile average

Final verdict: I definitely recommend the Veterans Parkway trail for runs of 7-8 miles or less. I don’t like having to cross the street/wait at lights so often, but the views and soft running surface make up for it!

Have you run here? Know any secrets? Do tell! 

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. September 28, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    Love MB!! I know right where that Vons is!! I used to go there when I was younger. One of my friends has family that lives literally a block off the “Strand”!! We would go in the summer and spend a week or 2 there! We always just ran on the strand. I didn’t even know the Greenbelt was there!! (if you want a good cookie go to Beckers!!)
    I am glad you are venturing out and finding new trails! Fun!!

    • October 2, 2014 / 1:41 am

      Ahh that’s so funny! It’s so gorgeous. You need to come back and run with me!