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San Francisco Bay Area Trail Running Events: 5K, 10K Races

Updated on October 4, 2011

The San Francisco Bay Area is the trail running jackpot

Bay Area runners can enjoy scenic trails (which are also terrific coastal hiking trails), reliably mild weather, a wide variety of inclines and terrains and plenty of other like-minded enthusiasts who are eager to trot up, down and over some of this areas many well-kept trails. Many casual trail runners simply do it for fun. Maybe they love to hike and choose to mix it up by jogging every now and then.

At any time of year there's certain to be a trail running race event somewhere in the Bay Area. You can find just the degree of difficulty and distance for your first trail run event or for your 50th. Almost every weekend, there are 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, 50K and even longer races taking place somewhere nearby.

Gears and gadgets for trail runners

Find Bay Area Trail Race Organizers and Companies

The Bay Area is home to lots of different groups that put on trail running events. Most of these events are well staffed, with emergency medical teams, well-marked trails and race routes, water stops along the race trail, and snacks at the end. Some races even give racers a free t-shirt and a goodie-bag of swag.

  • Pacific Coast Trail Runs. Try the Tilden Trail Run in the Berkeley Hills, the scenic Big Basin Redwoods race or go for altitude with the Lake Tahoe half marathon. Pacific Coast Trail Runs holds over a dozen trail running events every year.
  • Brazen Racing. I have completed the Wildcat 10K. It is a small, friendly event and very friendly to beginners. Brazen Racing is growing its roster of Bay Area trail running races, and one is sure to fit your ability and schedule.
  • Coastal Trail Runs. Lake Chabot Run in the Castro Valley and the Golden Gate trail run at Rodeo Beach are two offerings from Coastal Trail Runs. All their trail run events are in California and Oregon.
  • Redwood Trails. The Pt. Reyes beach and Trail Run has 5K, 10K and half marathon distances in one of my favorite spots in California. Try it or one of the other trail runs from Redwood Trails.

These are some of the more established trail running race outfits. They've been doing this for years and have running events year-round. You can find one that is your speed, and you will be in a group of like-minded trail runners eager for a good time, a hard workout and some healthy competition.

Safety Tips To Consider

Always start at the level that feels right for you, be that a 5K or a 50-mile extreme running endurance slog. Go for a personal best time or just to finish, but above all HAVE FUN with your trail running event!


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