Three Excellent Trails for Running on Seattle's Eastside

You don't have to go far in search of amazing trails. Renowned local guidebook author Craig Romano shares some of his top recommendations for trail running on the Eastside from his new book, "Urban Trails: Eastside."
Craig Romano Craig Romano
Mountaineers Books author
August 28, 2019

Some of the best trail running options in Washington can be found just minutes from bustling Bellevue, Redmond, and Issaquah. The Eastside is graced with a sprawling park system and extensive trail network that ranges from gentle paved rail trails to grueling single tracks up steep Cascades Foothills. Whether you’re looking for a trail for an easy jog, long run, or challenging training course, the Eastside has you covered. Here are three of my favorites for a great trail running experience.

A forested greenbelt along the Cross Kirkland Corridor (Trail 9) p62-Eastside.JPG

Cross Kirkland Corridor

Distance: 5.75 miles one-way

Elevation gain: up to 200 feet

Difficulty: easy

Family-friendly: yes, and jogger-stroller friendly

Dog-friendly: on-leash

Run this wonderful soft-surfaced rail trail through the city of Kirkland (Hike 9 in Urban Trails: Eastside). But no need to fret about traffic, shopping centers or busy waterfront developments. The trail travels mostly through quiet residential and light industrial areas—and a handful of parks and greenbelts. It’s also surprisingly scenic with views out over Lake Washington to Seattle and the Olympic Mountains as well as glimpses of little Totem Lake. And if 5.75 miles is not enough for you, keep running south on a recently opened 1.3 mile section of the connecting Eastside Rail Trail.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Distance: More than 28 miles one-way

Elevation gain: up to 900 feet

Difficulty: easy

Family-friendly: yes, and jogger-stroller friendly

DOG-FRIENDLY: ON-LEASH

There is so much to love about the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, one of the longest trails on the Eastside. Consisting of two stretches, the lower section (Hike 53) traverses one of King County’s loveliest remaining rural landscapes. Run along the Snoqualmie River, and across wetlands, meadows, farms, sprawling woodlots, and a towering historic trestle bridge spanning a ravine cradling a cascading creek. The upper section (Hike 60) of this former railroad line passes through historic farms, wildlife rich wetlands, and the heart of North Bend. It then continues on an uphill haul through thick forest terminating at Rattlesnake Lake. Valley guardians Mount Si and Rattlesnake Mountain provide stunning backdrops along the way.

Tiger Mountain Trail

Distance: 16 miles one-way

Elevation gain: up to 2750 feet

Difficulty: Difficult

Family-friendly: yes

Dog-friendly: on leash

Before you go: Discover Pass required

Run across the sprawling Tiger Mountain State Forest from north to south on this grand 16 mile long trail (Hike 46). The Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT) starts from the busy Lake Tradition Area. But you’ll soon find out, the crowds shun it. After an initial four mile uphill grunt, the TMT mellows out with a predominantly downhill trajectory interspersed with a few little climbs. Consider doing the trail in one sweep skirting summits, rounding ravines, traversing mature forest, and crossing crashing creeks. The TMT can also be used as part of a shorter loop as it ties into several of the state forest’s trails. Best of all is the opportunity to savor solitude—something that’s tough to do on many of Tiger’s other trails.

Thanks, Craig! Learn more about Craig's recommendations for trail runs, day hikes, family-friendly adventures, and more in Urban Trails: Eastside, available now where books are sold. 

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