Listed below are free Seattle trail maps for running and walking, whether you want ideas for a regular fitness program to enjoy all year long, or just a casual family outing or romantic stroll in a nearby park. The information includes a variety of downloadable and printable maps, online tools, and smartphone apps, for running courses, walking itineraries, and trails for Seattle and the Puget Sound region.
We’ve also included a couple of running clubs that charge a fee, but provide good value by hosting interesting events and providing camaraderie with like-minded individuals interested in getting out of doors and on the move.
The list is arranged from “big” to “small”, from state-wide and regional trail maps, to county and city running and walking maps.
Regional trail maps for running and walking
Washington Trails Association (WTA) protects hiking trails and wild lands across Washington State, while promoting hiking as a healthy, fun way to explore the outdoors. Use the Hike Finder map to find hikes and trails with various features or that are kid-friendly. It’s the most comprehensive database of hikes in Washington state.
Trail Link provides trail information and maps through the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the organization committed to transforming unused rail corridors across the U.S. into useful and vibrant public places. Trail Link lists dozens of Puget Sound region trails (over 1,000 miles total), including urban and rural routes, and trails suitable for running, dog walking, biking, and other interests. View Trail Link maps on line, or download the free smartphone apps for Trail Link info on the go.
King County Parks Trails offers nearly 400 miles of regional and backcountry trails. The Regional Trails System is one of the nation’s most extensive, connecting communities from Bothell to Auburn and Seattle to the Cascades. Find a list of regional trails and backcountry trails, or search for trails using the online TrailFinder.
Issaquah Alps Trails Club (IATC) is a hiking club that also works hard to build, maintain, and protect the trails and open spaces through which they run. They also offer free guided hikes every week of the year. Find a list of links to regional trail maps on their website. Or, join the club for just $20 per year to get a copy of their digital newsletter, more inside information, and to support their work.
Seattle Running Clubs
Seattle Running Club membership is $50 per year and gets you discounts on races presented by SRC, discounts at selected running stores, and discounts on beer. SRC hosts daily group runs that are free to members, and running events for a fee throughout the year.
Northwest Trail Runs hosts running events for a fee, roughly in the $25-$35 range per event. The amount depends on distance. There are discounts when signing up for multiple events and some swag is usually involved. These events provide ongoing competition, as well as extra motivation, and community. It’s also a good alternative for seasoned runners who are looking for a new challenge. Finally, it’s a great way to sample some of Puget Sound’s most beautiful parks and trails, often within 50 miles of downtown Seattle.
Seattle trail maps for running and walking
City of Seattle Walking Maps were designed by the City of Seattle for both residents and visitors, to help them tailor walking routes to their interests and fitness level. Seattle streets vary in slope from flat to very steep. Streets with the steepest grade are colored yellow, indicating the most challenging routes. Some routes follow sidewalks and shoulders on quiet streets, while others meander along park trails. Each route on the map has been labeled with the approximate amount of time (in minutes) it takes to walk the route. Download any or all of the three maps for different sections of Seattle. You can also visit their website and order a copy of the mail sent to you via U.S. Mail.
Green Lake is one of Seattle’s most beloved parks, in the center of a dense urban neighborhood. The lake is completely encircled by a flat, paved 2.8-mile path. Since the park serves as a natural preserve for hundreds of species of trees and plants, as well as numerous birds and waterfowl, it is an especially pleasant and an easy walk or run any time of year for young or old.
Discovery Park, located in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood (west of Queen Anne hill), is the city’s largest park. The Discovery Park Loop Trail is a designated National Recreation Trail, 2.8 miles long with an elevation change of just 140 feet. It passes through both forest and open meadows, offers extensive views, good prospects for bird watchers, and can be hiked or jogged year-round. Begin your Loop Trail hike near the Visitor Center, reached from West Government Way. Find your trailhead next to a signboard at the north end of the parking lot. The board has a park map, and often has paper copies of the trail map available for the taking. Trail maps can also be downloaded: see the Maps and Guidebooks section of this entry for the link.
Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop invites the community to enjoy this urban lake, through a series of connected lakefront parks and open spaces, including Gasworks and Lake Union Parks, more than 35 pocket parks, plus other street ends and waterways that ring the lake. At the geographic and historic heart of Seattle, the loop enhances the vitality and livability of neighborhoods surrounding the lake, the City, and the Seattle region. Parts of a lakefront trail already exist—segments of the Burke Gilman Trail, Westlake Avenue, and trails within Gasworks and Lake Union Park. Download a printable map from the park’s website.
The Washington Park Arboretum provides miles of trails for exploration and contemplation. Of special interest are three loop trails: Lookout Loop and Pinetum Loop on the Arboretum map (PDF) and the new Arboretum Loop Trail, (completed in 2017), which run along the east side of Lake Washington Boulevard, connecting the north and south ends of Arboretum Drive to complete the loop. The trails are marked on the Arboretum map. Note that the Arboretum is a living collection of plants, some of high conservation value; be sure to treat the park as you would a museum collection. Respect and keep the plant collections and displays healthy by not climbing on trees or walking into display beds.