What’s a must-have on your ideal neighborhood list? Shopping? Great schools? Walkable communities? If you’re a runner like me, you probably want the option to step right out your door to hit the pavement for a few miles. Lucky for me and for outdoor lovers everywhere, Seattle, Portland and many areas throughout the Pacific Northwest have a plethora of trails and paved paths to run and explore to your heart’s content. Many of them are just minutes from the city (or right in the middle of it), and easily accessible.
- Whatcom Pass: If you’re looking for remote wilderness and love traversing rivers and deep forests, this lengthy course is for you.
- Anacortes – Mt Erie: Enjoy the view after a steep incline.
Islands & Beaches
- Bainbridge Island: Over 30 miles of trails? Yep! This lovely and serene location has plenty of parks and paths with gorgeous views of Puget Sound.
- Whidbey Island – Fort Ebey State Park: Camp, run, hike, check out the wildlife.
- San Juan Islands: Long and short routes ranging from easy to difficult. Up for a race? Check out the San Juan Island Half.
- Discovery Park: Over 10 miles of trails along the coast, beach, and through the woods. Diverse terrain will keep you on your toes. Bonus; just 6 miles from downtown Seattle.
- Seattle Waterfront – Lake Union – Ballard: Easy access from downtown Seattle make these ideal routes for urban dwellers.
- Burke-Gilman Trail - Sammamish River Trail – Eastlake Sammamish Trail: A network of trails connecting throughout the city for 44 miles. If you’re looking for an endurance run with little elevation gain, this is it.
- Cougar-Squak-Tiger Mountain Corridor: Trail runners and hikers rejoice! Rugged and challenging, this wilderness is perfect for anyone who wants to get lost in the woods.
- Wonderland Trail: A massive loop around Mt. Rainier, this 100-mile route is the be all end all of trails. Prepare yourself for scenic views and the hike of a lifetime.
- Mount St. Helens: The eruption of 1980 created a moonscape which has blossomed into a gorgeous scene of new trees and wildflowers, with more than 200 miles of trails.
- Portland Bridge Waterfront Loops: Run 11 miles on the Willamette River with stellar views of the Portland skyline.
- Forest Park NW Leif Erikson Drive Trail: Easily runnable and well maintained, it’s peaceful and quiet, just minutes from the city.
- Powell Butte Nature Park: Pick your route and run your way to the summit for spectacular views of the Cascades.
It goes without saying: The Pacific Northwest is a runner’s dream. Whether you already live here or you’re considering a move, if you love running or exploring the outdoors, you won’t be disappointed! This list is just the beginning of your next adventure.