Best Places to Run in the South Sound

runIt’s springtime, finally, and for runners, this is a particularly great time of year. Arguably the best part about running in the Pacific Northwest is the scenery. There is no shortage of beautiful and challenging trails to choose from. ShowCase Magazine surveyed the South Sound and selected a few of our favorites. From Gig Harbor to Puyallup to Olympia, all offer something a little different, and each one is worth the sweat.

Some of the best-known trails in the South Sound can be found at the state capital in Olympia. From the scenic mile-and-ahalf Capitol Lake Loop to the nature trail and switchbacks of Heritage Park, this area offers something for all runners.

The wide, paved McNeil Street Trail is one of DuPont’s most popular since it can accommodate a variety of users including runners, walkers and bikers. At just under two miles with breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, the trail winds through residential neighborhoods and finishes with a challenging incline.

The five-mile Riverwalk Trail gently winds its way along the Puyallup River, ending at the East Main bridge. Completely paved, it is also ideal for biking and getting out with your four-legged family members. Parking is ample and the convenient urban location makes it a must-do for anyone in the Puyallup area.

Gig Harbor
The Cushman Powerline Trail runs parallel to Highway 16, beginning at 14th Avenue NW and ending at Borgen Boulevard, following the power lines through Gig Harbor. The entire route is a paved six miles and offers runners a range of grades from rolling hills to steep inclines.

University Place
Chambers Creek Regional Park possesses one of the most diverse running trails in the region with what are probably the best views. It is also this writer’s favorite. The Soundview Trail (two miles) offers challenging switchbacks with inclines of 10 percent and sweeping views of Puget Sound, including Fox Island and the Narrows bridge. The trail connects to both ends of the less intense, flat Grandview Trail (1¼ miles), making the two trails runnable as a scenic loop that encircles Chambers Bay golf course.