Running Bridle Trails State Park

For any Seattle area locals, I thought I'd do a quick overview of running the trails at Bridle Trails State Park.  It's such a great hidden gem.  You don't have to take a long drive to the mountains or foothills to feel like you're immersed in the great outdoors.  At the same time, it backs up against a number of horse stables and beautiful homes, so there are always people around taking a stroll, walking their dogs, and riding their horses.  Speaking of horses, they have the right of way.  If one comes up behind you, move over to let them pass.  I also move over and stand to the side if one is coming towards me, so as not to spook them - which the owners genuinely appreciate.  Everyone I encounter on the trail says hello and 'enjoy the rest of your run.'  I love it there.  

Logistics: It's right off of 405 and the main entrance is off 116th Avenue NE, near NE 53rd Street.  I believe you need a Discover Pass to park here, but who doesn't have one, right? (get yours here)  Getting to the trail head can be a little tricky, at least for directionally challenged individuals like myself.  On my first visit, I naturally gravitated towards the restrooms and where the outbuildings are located to find the trail head.  This would be a mistake.  The main guided trails start from one very subtle entrance by the parking lot.  

view of trail choices from the parking lot - one narrow one off to the right there with the sign obstructed by the trees, and one very inviting one off to the left...

Looks like the right way to go, right? Self-guided trails, bathrooms await - but NO! Don't go that way.  Take that narrow path up the hill that will lead to this:

A map! With lots of details!

From here you can pick your route and they are SO nicely mapped out, with signs that you can follow throughout the park.  I usually do the Coyote Trail, which is the longest at 3.5 miles and either run it once or twice around.  

super easy to navigate signs are placed along the route
You could easily play with distance and add on the Trillium Trail at 1.6 miles or the Raven Trail which is one mile, and also an easy loop for a nature walk with young kids.

The track is nice and wide, you could easily run two astride and it's not terribly strenuous.  Elevation gain is less than 250 feet.  If you're a trail newbie (which I still very much am) it's a great place to just enjoy being outside and get a feel for it.  

Trail running is a great way to change up your route and find your running mojo if your in a slump.  Concentrating on my (beautiful) surroundings drowns out any negative thoughts and it's rather meditative.  I feel pretty darn lucky to have a few of these kinds of parks so close to home.  So, if they're close to you, get out there and enjoy!  


  1. Oooo! Thanks Andrea! I've been running Discovery Park (also a hidden gem) and would love to run other city parks. Let's run there together sometime!

    1. I saw the tweet about your Discovery run and thought, oooh I'd like to run there, too! haha. yes, we should totes run at either location together sometime :)