Finding The Best Places to Jog at UCSB & IV


Lucas Ryden

Who needs a treadmill when one of the most beautiful stretches of the California coastline is in your backyard?

With spring in full swing here at UCSB, sunshine and warm weather means liberation from the crowded sweat lodge, more commonly known as the “RecCen,” where gaining access to equipment is oftentimes the most strenuous part of a workout.

So make it easy on yourself–put down that Access card and pick up your key to the city.  The coastal breeze has been whispering your name.  Isn’t it about time you paused that iPod and took a listen?

There’s no better way to unwind from a tough day of class or conquer a hangover than some light cardio, especially when your environment is as pleasant as the one here at UCSB.  Miles and miles of jog-worthy terrain surround campus and Isla Vista, providing endless opportunities for students to get fit, get tan, and gain a fresh perspective on their strenuous lives.

But where exactly are these splendid routes?  Whether you’re training for a marathon or just wanting to get in shape, the following list will point your feet in the right direction and help you avoid as many potholes, dead seagulls, and sex offenders as possible.

#1 – UCSB Lagoon/Campus Point: Nestled in the heart of campus, the lagoon’s convenient location and pristine nature make it the most popular area to run at UCSB. A wide gravel path runs in a circuit around the lagoon and past the UCen, crisscrossed by various trails that allow runners to explore a diverse range of natural vegetation and wildlife.  Be on the lookout for squirrels, waterfowl, and the smell of marijuana emanating from large bushes.

#2 – Coal Point Oil Reserve: For runners looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the university and Isla Vista, look no further than Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve on the west end of campus.  Established in 1970 to protect and maintain the habitats of several endangered species, the 170-acre reserve consists of coastal dunes, eucalyptus groves, and a huge stretch of empty beach commonly referred to as “Sands.”  Starting at the west end of Del Playa, a short trail along the cliffs leads to the idyllic reserve.

#3 – Depressions Beach: The beach closest to IV, Depressions is the premier jogging route in terms of accessibility and convenience.  There are several access points along Del Playa and Manzanita Village for students who want to squeeze in a run between classes or just before dark.  Just be wary of the occasional water balloon bomb, and make sure to check the tide before heading down, as it occasionally runs all the way up to the cliffs.

#4 – Goleta Beach County Park: Located just east of the university’s main gate, scenic Goleta Beach can be accessed by a dirt path that runs along the bluffs by the dorms.  Runners can jog along the beach, the grass, or venture onto the pier and observe weathered fishermen in their natural habitats. Although the beach itself is not very extensive, there are several trails connecting to it that run alongside the charming wetlands of the Goleta Slough. For the undisciplined and easily distracted, the park provides all the necessary amenities, including a playground, barbeques, horseshoe pits, and the Beachside Cafe.  Eating and running can be a dangerous combination, but feel free to indulge here, as the county provides two expansive public restrooms within 100 feet of each other.

#5 – Del Playa on a Friday Night: Experience Isla Vista in its most glorious state by lacing up your sneakers and hitting the pavement between the ripe hours of 10 p.m. and midnight, preferably on a weekend.  Competitive runners will drastically improve their racing technique while weaving in and out of the hordes of belligerent co-eds who religiously flock to Del Playa every Friday and Saturday night.  If you get thirsty, just duck inside the nearest house and you’ll surely be rewarded with ample hydration. Who knows, you might even enlist yourself a workout buddy.