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WTA Staff Favorites: 17 Trails to Try Running This Spring and Summer

Whether you're looking for a new training run or just want a good spot to try out the sport of trail running this season, consider stretching your legs on these trails suggested by experienced trail runner and WTA Board Member, Wendy Wheeler Jacobs.

Whether you're looking for a new training run or just want to try out the sport of trail running this summer, experienced trail runner and WTA board member, Wendy Wheeler Jacobs, suggests stretching your legs on these trails. We built this list based on her suggestions, and sprinkled in a few others from trail runners on staff. 

Many of the suggestions below are found in State Parks or other trail systems that have a series of interconnected trails, allowing you to put together short or long runs depending on your skill, time and fitness level.

Have a favorite spot to run on trail? Share it in the comments below.


Snoqualmie Region

Rattlesnake Mountain

Location: North Bend Area
Length: 10.9 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,520 feet

View from Rattlesnake Mountain. Photo by BigButtDon.
View from Rattlesnake Mountain. Photo by BigButtDon. 

A delightful alternative to Rattlesnake Ledge and beyond from Rattlesnake Lake, this trail allows you to reach Rattlesnake Mountain from the west, starting from a trailhead at Snoqualmie Point.

Expect more solitude on this approach, and enjoy the fantastic views out over the Snoqualmie Valley, Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe, North Bend and more. You can choose to run to one of the pleasant viewpoints along the way, to Rattlesnake Mountain, or as a traverse all the way to Rattlesnake Lake (11 miles). The views are some of the best in the Cascade foothills and the trail can be hiked year-round, though parts of it can be snowy even into May and June.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Snoqualmie valley trail

Location: North Bend Area
Length: 32.0 miles, one way
Elevation Gain: minimal
Public Transit: Yes

Fall colors on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Photo by kokay.
Fall colors on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Photo by kokay.

This rail trail is the perfect thoroughfare to stretch your legs on a long or short run. You can get in the zone without dodging obstacles like roots and rocks that might pop up on other trails and the scenery is beautiful. The trail follows the course of the Snoqualmie River from the town of Duvall to North Bend and beyond. Along the way you will get glimpses of this verdant agricultural valley and wind your way up near Snoqualmie Falls. 

Why Go: "This is really a great trail for any runner. If you're new, you can just go a short way and enjoy the views. If you're training for a long run, you can get in a lot of miles without having to think about a route. And if you're doing speed work, it's nice and flat so it's a good spot for that. There's also plenty of room for runners, bikers, and dog walkers." — Jessi Loerch, Washington Trails Editor

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


North Cascades 

EAst bank baker lake

Location: Mount Baker Area
Length:
 9.0, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 500 feet

Beautiful bridge on the East Bank Baker Lake Trail. Photo by jaysonk.
Beautiful bridge on the East Bank Baker Lake Trail. Photo by jaysonk.

This trail is a fun one to run because of all the creek crossings and small wooden bridges that are peppered throughout the route. These features are fun during a hike, but even more exciting when you're moving faster. The trail takes you through the forest and out along the shore of the lake. Turn back whenever you think you've hit a good halfway point, or carry on to reveal expansive views of the lake and Mount Baker dominating the skyline.

"The rolling terrain of the trail means you can run for a long way without it feeling like a big effort. It also lets you enjoy the forest around you, which I really liked." — Erika Haugen-Goodman, Communications Coordinator

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Lily Lake and Lizard Lake

Location: Bellingham Area
Length: 8.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,080 feet

Lily Lake. Photo by David-K.
Lily Lake. Photo by David-K. 

This run goes up through lovely, shady forest to a junction with the Pacific Northwest Trail, and then on to Lily Lake and Lizard Lake. The trail is just one of many options running up and around the snow-free Chuckanut Mountains, a great location for conditioning trails. If views are what motivate you, follow other trip reporters (and a map) to the stunning views of Samish Bay from the summit of Mount Blanchard.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Deception pass state park

Location: Bellingham Area
Length: various 
Elevation Gain: various
Public Transit: Yes

Deception Pass Bridge from Lighthouse Point. Photo by Tom Roe.
Deception Pass Bridge from Lighthouse Point. Photo by Tom Roe.

Deception Pass State Park is a behemoth with nearly 4,000 acres of parkland. Trails crisscross the many sections of this park, offering almost unlimited opportunity for the trail runner. Your endurance will wear out before you exhaust this network of routes. The gems in this park include old-growth stands of trees and a mishmash of jagged coastline and inviting beaches.

Why Go: "It's a lovely spot for some running on mellow trails" — Kurt Hellman, WTA's Database Coordinator

> Plan your trip to Rosario Head and Lighthouse Point using WTA's Hiking Guide
> Plan your trip to Goose Rock using WTA's Hiking Guide 


Puget Sound and Islands

Moran State Park: Mount Constitution and Mountain Lake

Location: San Juan Islands
Length: 6.7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

Views of Mount Baker from the summit. Photo by Josh_From_Seattle.
Views of Mount Baker from the summit. Photo by Josh_From_Seattle. 

Whether you're visiting Orcas specifically to explore the islands' trails or just looking for a place to stretch your legs while you're there, Moran State Park is a great place to start. Mount Constitution is accessible via car, but running to the classic summit views will bring you far more satisfaction. In spring, the trails can be a little muddy, but you'll find most of the trail tread easy underfoot.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Fort Ebey State Park

Location: Whidbey Island
Length: up to 28.0 miles
Elevation Gain: up to 260 feet

Bluff Trail at Fort Ebey State Park
The Bluff Trail at Fort Ebey State Park. Photo by Mike.

Whidbey Island's Fort Ebey State Park may be better known as a camping park, but it features 28 miles of trails to skip, dash and sprint over all year round. Try the Bluff Trail, which features panoramic views of the Puget Sound and Olympics. In training? Take your workout to the beach for some sandy sprints.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Soaring Eagle Park

Location: Seattle-Tacoma Area
Length: 3.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 450 feet

Falling leaves at Soaring Eagle Pakr. Photo by Pribbs.
Falling leaves at Soaring Eagle Park. Photo by Pribbs. 

This park features an extensive network of trails that provide multiple loop options for trail runners.The overall footprint of the park is flat, but the trails roll and swoop and curve through the forest to give runners a bit of a challenge without feeling like they just ran up the side of a mountain.

Why Go: "Soaring Eagle is a great spot to get comfortable trail running. Each intersection has a small map and an identifying number, so you can orient yourself no matter where you run to! There is a main pipeline trail that cuts through the park so if you feel in over your head you can easily cut the run right down the middle. The terrain is mostly gentle so you can avoid steep climbs while you get your trail running legs underneath you." — LeeAnne Jensen, Trail Crew Leader, Puget Sound at WTA

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide 

Bridle trails State Park

Location: Seattle-Tacoma Area
Length: 3.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 450 feet
Public Transit: Yes

Misty morning at Bridle Trails State Park. Photo by wafflesnfalafel.
Misty morning at Bridle Trails State Park. Photo by wafflesnfalafel.

This park has more than 28 miles of trails, so the options are plentiful. A few different loops already exist to give you a good place to start. The park is also popular with horses, so you will have plenty of other users to keep you company as you're jogging along. 

Why Go: "When I was training for my first 1/2 marathon, this place was on regular rotation for me. It's super easy to get to from Seattle (even by bike or bus) and has enough trail loop options that I could combine them and make longer loops as my training progressed." — Loren Drummond, Digital Content Manager

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Redmond Watershed Preserve

Location: Seattle-Tacoma Area
Length: 4.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Public Transit: Yes 

Redmond Watershed Preserve. Photo by stuart10er.
Redmond Watershed Preserve. Photo by stuart10er.

This park is tucked away in Redmond and offers some great options for trail running. No dogs are allowed, but you will be sharing the trail with hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. There are 7 miles of trails here, but shorter routes are also possible. 

Why Go: "Redmond Watershed offers flexibility and versatility for my trail running. Being so close to home, it never feels like I have to sacrifice a full or half day to go on a relaxing run there. Plus, with a good number of interconnecting trails, I can easily go for a short run, a long run, or a very long run without feeling like I'm running the same loop over and over." — Grady Olson, Donor Services Manager

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide 

Big Finn hill PARK

Location: Seattle-Tacoma Area
Length: 9.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: up to 100 feet
Public Transit: Yes 

Wetland at Big Finn Hill Park. Photo by wafflesnfalafel.
Wetland at Big Finn Hill Park. Photo by wafflesnfalafel. 

Tucked away in the forest above Lake Washington, this park has a little something for everyone. The trails here will take you through Douglas fir forests and past wetlands. It also connects to other local area parks for those adventurous runners looking for more miles.

Why Go: "I like running at Big Finn Hill park because it gives me a chance to disconnect from the noise of city and be in nature while never having to leave my back yard. I really appreciate having a place for our community to get outside without having to sit in traffic to do so." — Rebecca Viets, Administrative Assistant

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Eastern Washington


Riverside State Park

Location: Spokane Area/Coeur D'Alene
Length: varies
Elevation: varies

A curving section of trail drops over a hill. Photo by California Girl.
Beautiful single track curving over the hill. Photo by California Girl. 

There are several factors that make Riverside State Park an ideal spot to work into your trail running routine. For one, it's right outside Spokane, so you can work in a run before or after work or school. It also boasts variety, so you can run a mile or five.

Looking for distance? Take a tip from local running coach and WTA staffer, Holly Weiler: "Trail 25 is an excellent long route in the park: follow the whole loop to cover twenty-five miles!"

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Antoine Peak Conservation Area

Location: Eastern Washington - Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene
Length: 9.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 732 feet

Wildflowers at Antoine Peak Conservation Area. Photo by Daniel Y.
Wildflowers at Antoine Peak Conservation Area. Photo by Daniel Y

This is a great place for a workout as the trails here tend to have some elevation gain. With this added exertion comes the great reward of views. For the ambitious, a run to the top of Antoine Peak and back can be the goal, but it's not the only option here. Other routes also show off vistas and make for great outings.

Why Go: "Antoine Peak Conservation Area has two trailhead access points, with a third trailhead planned for 2021. Runners can start from either trailhead to access a combination of double- and single-track trails to form loop routes of various distances." — Holly Weiler, Eastern Washington Regional Coordinator

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide 

Mount Spokane State Park

Location: Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Area
L
ength: various
Elevation Gain: 280 feet

Mount Spokane Views. Photo by Stacey McClain.
Mount Spokane Views. Photo by Stacey McClain. 

You can explore the extensive trail system on Mount Spokane all summer long and not exhaust your options. One of many loop trails make for great trail running in the spring and summer.

Not sure where to start? Try the Kit Carson Loop, which follows an old road bed and climbs up to views that rival those of Mount Spokane. And whichever trail you choose, make sure to take a map with you. You'll also want to be prepared for cordial encounters with bikers and equestrians, especially since you'll all be moving at different speeds.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Liberty Lake regional park 

Location: Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Area
Length: 8.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

View near Liberty Falls. Photo by crashingbashley.
View near Liberty Falls. Photo by crashingbashley. 

For a full tour of this park, the Liberty Lake Loop is the trail for you. This is a challenging run for anyone, so luckily there is the shorter and flatter Split Creek Loop. Regardless of the difficulty of run you're looking for, this park is a great place to bound along through the forest.

Why Go: "Liberty Lake Regional Park features multiple single-track trails that can be run as out-and-backs or loops, with excellent routes of various distances. The trail follows a creek through a lush forest for much of the route, providing runners with ample shade during warm weather. The trail is mellow as far as the Cedar Grove, or runners can test their climbing ability by continuing to the waterfall and beyond." —Holly Weiler, Eastern Washington Regional Coordinator 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Central Washington

Red Hill 

Location: Wenatchee Area
Length: 12.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2710 feet

Ponderosa pine tree forest.
A peaceful ponderosa forest at the top of the hill. Photo by Karen Daubert. 

Jog your way through ponderosa forest outside of Wenatchee and you'll get a great workout in a lightly-used setting.

Why Go: "Connecting the trails at Red Hill with Red Devil would be great for trail runners"--Austin Smith, volunteer hiking guide correspondent

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide 


South Cascades 

Twin Sisters Lakes and Tumac Mountain

Location: White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley
Length: 6.7 miles roundtrip to Twin Sisters Lakes, 15.6-miles roundtrip to Twin Sisters Lakes, over Tumac Mountain, and back
Elevation Gain: 2400 feet to Twin Sisters Lake; 3800 with Tumac Mountain

A hiker descends a gentle trail with two lakes in the distance.
Heading down Tumac Mountain. Twin Sisters Lakes in the distance. Photo by SanGaek.

A multitude of trails loop through the Tumac Plateau, passing various lakes along the way. This trail run takes visitors past the main attractions and adds some difficulty with a trip up and over Tumac Mountain. 

Why Go: "My favorite thing about this area is the sheer volume of different loop hikes you can make. This is a fantastic wilderness to pull out a map and let your imagination run wild." --Stasia Honnold, Southwest Regional Trails Manager

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide: Twin Sisters Lake | Tumac Mountain