Backwards, forwards, with dogs and without - Hollywood's A-list can't get enough of this free LA activity.

Just outside of West Hollywood there's a secret spot to stretch your legs that won't cost you a cent.

It's called Runyon Canyon and it's the place where celebs love to go to get a workout.

The best part is that it's free.


Runyon Canyon is a 64-hectare park on the eastern side of the Santa Monica mountains and easily accessible from the streets behind Hollywood Boulevard.

Its location in the heart of this hip part of LA means it's a magnet for local celebs.

After the long flight from Australia Runyon is the perfect cure for jet lag. The track runs 6.2km up and back down, with an elevation of 294m.

For beginners there's the low road, an easy incline up to the top that takes 30 minutes up and 30 minutes down. But for the more adventurous, it's far more fun to hire a guide and take the much harder high road.

Our guide Eric, from Bikes and Hikes, leads us up dusty tracks, through boulders and wooden blocks to the top of this incredible canyon where the tough climb is rewarded with views all over LA and beyond to Big Bear and Catalina Island.

The canyon is the most busy in the morning and evening when you would be likely to spot Taylor Swift, Charlize Theron, Justin Timberlake or Vanessa Hudgens jogging along the trails.

Many locals take their dogs - so watch out for poo.

Fitness freaks can be seen doing the hill running backwards. It's supposed to work out your calves but really just looks very funny.

Keep a lookout for the fence of love locks on the way down. New locks are added every day as couples make the trek to the top together.

The writer travelled as a guest of Qantas and Visit West Hollywood.