Photos by Alli Burnison
Pepperdine’s former high school track stars and mild joggers alike enjoy the rewarding feeling of a runner’s high. However, for times when Pepperdine’s modest gym begins to feel overcrowded with students inspired by New Year’s resolutions, there are numerous running routes in Malibu that allow you to experience beautiful views and satisfying runs.
Regardless of your reason for wanting to abandon an indoor exercise environment, finding your favorite outdoor route is simply a matter of experimentation and maybe a little sweat.
If you are searching for a quick fix for your outdoor cravings, there are routes on campus that will allow you to do just this with enough time to make it to your 8 a.m. class.
A few laps around the track, a jog past freshman dorms on Lower and Upper Dorm Road, or perhaps even a grassy trek around Alumni Park are Pepperdine running route staples. For something new and perhaps more challenging on campus, I recommend a route that leads up to the Drescher campus and Heroes Garden. It provides breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, a substantial incline and a guarantee of rewarding leg soreness the next day.
Beginning at the bottom of Via Pacifica, follow the road up to Heroes Garden. Take a break at the top to give yourself a chance to absorb the scenery and catch your breath. The feeling at the bottom of the hill and end of the run will make the intensive run up the hill worth it. This 2.2-mile run is short in length, but high in intensity.
Pepperdine’s location provides the unique opportunity of endless beach routes. For the times when you want to integrate waves and sand into your morning run but don’t want to lose your parking spot in Rho, there is a route that leads to Ralphs Beach and requires no driving. The route is 4.7 miles in total, and gives the option of running along the water — according to the tide, of course — or running on Malibu Beach Road, noticing the beautiful homes that line the street.
There are numerous routes that lead to Malibu Beach Road and Ralphs Beach, one of the most beautiful is the trail through the bluffs.
To find the shortcut to this trail, head down the hill on John Tyler Drive, cross Pacific Coast Highway and turn left, and run along PCH until you see the opening of the trail on the right. This trail leads through Malibu Bluffs Park, and if you follow the dirt path to its end, it will lead to Malibu Beach Road.
If you choose to run along the beach, there is a public access gate where you first begin running on the road. At the end of Malibu Beach Road humbly sits Ralphs Beach, in all of its glory as Pepperdine’s favorite beach. You could head back to Pepperdine the same way you came, or you could even alternatively run one mile along PCH back to Pepperdine.
Running routes that require driving include the four-mile run along Zuma Beach. The sidewalk provides runners with the choice between a sand and paved pathway. If you would like to elongate this run, turn left onto Broad Beach Road, which loops back to PCH and adds an extra 3 miles to the run.
You may be interested in an exciting and shorter run that includes road, beach and hills. In that case, turn left on PCH where Westward Beach is, follow the road along the beach, turn left at The Sunset Restaurant and follow the hill through the neighborhood up to Point Dume’s overlook for a three-mile, high-intensity run.
If you are searching for a route with fewer hills and no sand, Solstice Canyon might be the spot for you. The 2.6-mile trail is typically hiked at a leisurely pace, as the trail is both wide and flat. The trail through Solstice Canyon is off of PCH. Turn right onto Corral Canyon Road and follow it until you reach the Solstice Canyon parking lot on the left. The pleasantly shaded Canyon Trail runs along a creek and leads to weathered brick ruins. It is the perfect route for an easy outdoor run.
These are simply a handful of the numerous routes in Malibu that allow you to simultaneously experience nature and a good run. Whether you enjoy dirt paths, runs in the sand or an on-campus challenge, there are more places to run in Malibu. While in Malibu, why not explore the scenic outdoor options?
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