I don’t spend a lot of time talking about it these days, but I happen to be a runner. While I enjoy running around my cozy neighborhood, I appreciate a change in scenery once in a while. At these times, I like to explore some of the runner-friendly locations around Los Angeles. Silver Lake Reservoir is one of my favorites.
Located in the Silver Lake region of East Los Angeles, Silver Lake Reservoir is actually a pair of reservoirs surrounded by a 2.2-mile running trail. The trail is mainly a dirt path, which joins up with sidewalks on the northernmost and southernmost ends. It weaves past a number of parks, a community center, a nursery school, and a large dog park. There’s a decent elevation change (the total change in elevation is about 200 feet), making the path useful for assorted styles of race training. It is dog-friendly, and extremely popular with walkers and runners of all types. It’s rare that I visit the reservoir and not spot someone I know. And, because of the stunning views afforded by the reservoir, the area has become home to numerous celebrities, whom you may encounter on the trail.
I appreciate the safety of running at Silver Lake Reservoir. The path is wide and well protected from heavy traffic. In my own neighborhood, I frequently find myself avoiding traffic at crosswalks and driveways. My neighborhood’s narrow sidewalks force me to change my pace and stay alert when navigating other pedestrians. At Silver Lake Reservoir I can just run. There are no streets to cross and there is plenty of room for walkers and runners to pass each other with ease. I find my running experience to be very relaxing. You’ll often find me getting in a long run or even an easy walk.
If you’re looking for a new place to run in Los Angeles, I highly recommend a visit to Silver Lake Reservoir.
Quick facts about the Silver Lake Reservoir running trail:
Best time to go: There’s a lot of sunlight on the trail, so stick to cooler times of day or try to go early in the morning or later in the evening when the surrounding hills block some of the sunlight. These times tend to draw more crowds, as do weekends, but I personally find the crowds more manageable than the heat.
Distance: 2.2 miles round-trip (loop)
Time: It takes roughly an hour to walk the full loop. If you’re running, it depends on your pace.
Elevation gain: Approximately 200 feet
Parking: Street parking is available in the neighborhoods around the reservoir. I usually park on the street north of the reservoir, and have never had trouble finding a spot.
Dogs allowed on leashes (but can run free in the dog park!)
Silver Lake Reservoir contains 795 million gallons of water, almost none of which is used to provide water to the citizens of Los Angeles. The water became contaminated in 2007, and the reservoir was permanently taken out of commission. The northernmost section of the reservoir, known as Ivanhoe Reservoir, was drained and refilled, and remains in service. It is covered with millions of black plastic balls that protect the water from contamination.
Silver Lake Meadow is a three-acre park located on the eastern side of the reservoir — the perfect place for afternoon picnics and kite-flying.
The Silver Lake Dog Park is located to the south of the reservoir and includes separate areas for large and small dogs.