Five Favorite Places in Seattle to Hike or Run

Just because you can't make it out of the city every weekend shouldn't mean the adventure has to stop. Craig Romano, author of the new "Urban Trails Seattle," joins us to share his personal favorites for getting out and staying local in Seattle.
Craig Romano Craig Romano
Mountaineers Books author
September 19, 2018

Thanks to an incredible landscape, the foresight of early city planners to build a world class park system, a government that values trails, and an active population engaged in a healthy outdoors lifestyle, when it comes to urban trails, Seattle is topnotch. The city’s park system contains a wide array of trails that traverse nature preserves, old-growth forests, historic districts, lake and Puget Sound shoreline, and vibrant neighborhoods. There are hundreds of miles of them, giving you many reasons to never leave the city when it comes to seeking excellent outdoor adventures. 

Here are five of my favorite places for a hike or run in the city:

Warren G. Magnuson Park

More than 4.0 miles of trails

Seattle’s second largest park; Magnuson’s 350 acres are full of history—and natural beauty. Check out historic buildings, a large wetland, and a spectacular stretch of Lake Washington shoreline. And if you have a four-legged hiking companion, head to the off-leash trail leading to an off-leash beach. The park’s historic area includes The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center. The park’s eastern reaches are more natural and include a large wetland complex. Seattle’s famous Sound Garden is in the park too. The inspiration behind the name for the late Chris Cornell’s band, Soundgarden—today it stands as a memorial to the singer.

Lakeridge Park

Distance: 1 mile roundtrip

Quite possibly the finest forest hike within the Seattle city limits, Lakeridge Park will surprise and impress you. Once a neglected wooded ravine, Lakeridge was revived into a healthy urban wilderness by a dedicated group of volunteers. Follow a wide, well-built and well-maintained trail up Deadhorse Canyon alongside spring-fed Taylor Creek beneath a canopy of towering mature trees. You’ll feel like you’re miles in the backcountry, not minutes from Rainier Beach.

Washington Park Arboretum

Distance: About 7 miles of trails

A 230-acre emerald wedge of native forest and ornamental gardens, the Washington Park Arboretum offers some of the most aesthetically pleasing paths in the city. From islands on Lake Washington to a small ridge; amble, run, or stroll on miles of trails through acres of well-tended flora. Come in spring for gorgeous blossoms and in autumn for stunning foliage. Absolutely walk the Azalea Trail in late spring for one of the finest displays of flowering rhododendrons and azaleas.

Lincoln Park

Distance: About 5.0 miles of trails

One of the best places in Seattle for a shoreline sunset stroll; Lincoln Park’s one mile trail along seawall and rocky beach is hard to beat. Its one mile bluff-top trail is pretty spectacular too, offering sublime views of the Olympic Mountains across the Sound framed by overhanging old-growth greenery. Watch ferries plying the Sound, squirrels scurrying up big trees, and waves lapping away your worries.

Discovery Park

Distance: About 12.0 miles of trails

At 534 acres and containing mature forests, towering coastal bluffs, nearly two miles of sandy Puget Sound shoreline, meadows, and many historic structures; Discovery Park is Seattle’s grand park. It’s the place you bring out-of-town guests. And if you live here, it’s a place you never tire of visiting. With nearly 12 miles of trails and a varied landscape, there’s much to discover in Discovery Park. Occupying much of the former grounds of Fort Lawton on Magnolia Bluff, Discovery Park has retained several attractive historic buildings. Today, it’s one of the wildest places within the city providing habitat for more than 200 species of birds, seals, sea lions, and many other mammal species.

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Thanks, Craig! To learn more, make sure to pick up your copy of Craig's new guidebook, Urban Trails Seattle, today.