Running Trails - Best of the Northwest Best of the Northwest

We have assembled a collection of our favorite running trails in Western Washington (and continue to do so, suggestions welcome).  While higher routes become snow covered ski trails in the winter the low elevation trails can be run any time of year rain or shine.

Trail Running

Covering more ground in less time is a key advantage to trail running. While requiring greater fitness, trail running can make the most of short windows to do some of the longer hikes.  Nearly any trail can be “run.” Routes with flatter grades and smoother surfaces can help lengthen out the stride. Don’t be afraid to walk the steepest sections and run where gravity allows.

Top 10 Seattle Park Trails: BOTNWWebButtons_SeattleTrails

Click to view short video and GPS Trail Data for each trail.

How to find a route:

By Location.

National Parks
North Cascades

Mountain Loop Highway
Central Cascades (Stevens Pass)
Central Cascades (Snoqualmie Pass)

By Season.
Winter Trails (Nordic Skiing, Backcountry skiing, low-land beach and forest trails).
Shoulder Season Trails (low-land beach and forest trails).
Summer/Early Fall Trails (high-country and alpine routes).

By Difficulty. 1-5
By vertical gain, trail grade and condition.

1. Easy

Sidewalk flat, infant-friendly, easy to access, well-maintained, minimal vertical gain with fun and interesting destinations.

. Greenlake
. Elliot Bay Trail
. Woodland Park
. Camp Long
. Schmitz Preserve Park
. Maple Leaf Loop Trail

. Mercer Slough and Bellefields Nature Parks
. O.O. Denny County Park Loop
. Coal Creek Park
. Snoqualmie Falls Viewpoint via Preston-Snoqualmie Rail-Trail
. Hood Canal and Theler Wetlands
. Vashon Island: Point Robinson and Maury Island Regional Marine Park Trials
. Useless Bay Park and Tidelands
. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
. Meadowdale County Park and Beach
. Spencer Island Natural Wildlife Reserve
Flaming Geyser State Park
. Suiattle River Trail

2. Moderate

Maintained trail navigating of uneven surfaces under foot.  Limited vertical gain and mileage.  Including low-land beach, seaside and lower Cascade foothills.

. Ebey’s Landing
. Discovery Park
. Seward Park
. Carkeek Park
. Jackson Park Perimeter Trail

. Washington Park Arboretum and Foster Island Trail
. John MacDonald Tolt River County Park
. Redmond Watershed Park and Preserve
. Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail

. Iron Goat Trail
. Point Defiance Park

3. Strenuous

Good choice for training with plenty of vertical gain (over 1,000 ft) typically climbing up to motivating views.

. Rattle Snake Ledge and Mountain
. West Duwamish Trail

. Tiger Mountain State Forest: Chirico Trail
. Bare Mountain
. Mailbox Peak (old and new trails)

. Dirty Harry’s Peak and Balcony Trail
. Green Mountain State Forest: Gold Creek, Beaver Pond, and Wildcat Trail Loop
. Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls
. Pinnacle Peak County Park: Cal Magnusson Trail

4. Challenging

More vertical gain, trail conditions may be rockier, rootier with potentially dangerous exposure.  More adventurous requiring better fitness and navigation skills.

. Lake Blanca
. Mount Si Trail and Haystack Scramble

. McClellan Butte
. Ira Spring Trail Mason Lake, Mount Defiance and Bandara Mountain
. Mount Pilchuck Lookout
Mount Dickerman
• Mount Pugh
• Vesper Peak

. Lake Constance
. Monte Christo
. Gothic Basin
. Mother Mountain Loop
. Enchantments Traverse
. Full Necklace Valley Loop

5. Technical

Dangerous exposure requiring proper training of alpine rope systems, route-finding and mountain navigational abilities.

Mount Baker
Mount Hood
Mount Rainier, DC Route
Mount Stuart Full North Ridge
Mount Sloan West Face
The Brothers


Best of the NW® provides general information and links for the topics of hiking, trail running and mountaineering. By providing this information, we do not assume any liability for the use of this information by our readers. The activities described on this web site are potentially dangerous in potentially dangerous environments.  You could be injured by falling, or things falling on you, changing weather conditions etc.  Each person participating in these activities needs to understand the risks involved, obtain the necessary training and take the needed precautions.
As a reader, you recognize this, assume all risks of property damage, personal injury and death, and agree to hold Best of the NW® harmless from any liability as a result of your use of the information provided in these pages.
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