It’s been more than 10 years now I visit Seattle a couple of times a year. The usual suspects are Microsoft’s annual developer conference and the MVP Summit. If you add yearly planning and team meetings I have to join by virtue of working for a Seattle based company for 8 years now that quickly adds up to 3-4 visits a year. Except for the flip-flops in my diet and running regiments 🙂 I try to do some cardio during my business travel. Based on my experience it is especially good if you are trying to get rid of jetlag as fast as possible. That brings us to the topic of this blog post. Where can you run in Seattle if you are in the city for a short visit? Here is what I suggest based on 10+ years of visiting runner experience 🙂
I love it when a morning run route goes through some of the sightseeing spots in a city. It just feels like the run serves more than just being a cardio session. This one is at the waterfront. You can start anywhere you want. If you have a rental, there is plenty of parking including this one that I used for years. You can start your run to the north from the Seattle Great Wheel. If you do a round trip run, which makes sense if you parked your car 🙂 you will have a Starbucks waiting for you just at Pier55 across the street where you parked your car. That helps with my post-run banana + coffee tradition.
Running north from the Seattle Great Wheel will get you to the Elliot Bay Trail which has beautiful views itself. Here is the 40 minute run GPX file I did the last time I was there. It is a pretty straight run with very slight altitude variations. I’m sure you will love it 🙂
Discovery Park Loop Trail
If you like trail running, this is it! I miss it already 🙂 It can be a little bit muddy in some areas, but I strongly suggest not to hold yourself back just because you don’t have your trail shoes. To be honest, I suggest everyone to do the loop even if you are just going to walk. The views are beautiful and you are all surrounded by nature. The visitor center has enough parking if you are an early riser. Here is the GPX file for the last run I did in there, and here are more details about the loop.
Green Lake Trail
I wouldn’t call this a trail, but a pretty lovely paved loop around a lake 🙂 This might be your choice if you want to stay clean with no mud in your shoes. The location is very popular with a running/cycling loop of 2.8 miles / 4.5kms. Parking is free and plentiful. Altitude is the same for the whole loop. Here is the GPX file for this one.
Burke Gilman Trail
This is a pretty long trail; 19.8 miles, 31.9 km. I suggest starting from Gas Works Park. That’s already one sightseeing done there 🙂 Starting from Gas Works Park helps with the parking issue as well 🙂 If you are not looking to do the full trail, and I don’t think you will if you are in a short visit in Seattle 🙂 you can simply go as far as you like. To be back in your car you can plan your run to be a round trip, or take an e-bike on your way back. The trail is both running and cycling friendly.
Lime Bikes are all over the place in Seattle. You can grab a bike from anywhere and go wherever you want. There are a lot of these bikes around Burke-Gilman Trail. Here is the GPX file for my 40 minutes long run. On my way back with Lime, I only paid 5$ for the ride. Pretty good if you don’t want to do a round-trip run and keep going 🙂
Seattle Arboretum Trail
This one is a bit tricky. Road signs are not very clear. You might need your phone in your hands to figure out which direction to run to complete your targeted distance. In my case, I was trying to get a 40 minutes long run and here is the route I completed. Parking is not a problem at all. The views are beautiful especially on the Foster Island side of the track. Roads are mostly paved.
The five locations above are my favorites if I’m in town for a week or two. There are definitly more to discover for longer stays. Let me know what’s your favorite 🙂 See you on the next one.