How about losing your breath to a view instead of during a run? These scenic South Sound runs give you a chance to break a sweat and snap some pictures of awe-inspiring mountain views, coastal scenes and city life. Whether you’re a casual jogger or seasoned trail runner, Pierce County has something for you.
Run around the Sound
Chambers Bay Loop
This local gem is a well-known sunset spot. Enjoy the view of Chambers Bay and the Puget Sound as you run along a 3.5 mile paved loop that goes through the park. On a clear day you can see the Olympics in the distance, highlighted by the vibrant green grass from the golf course. And if your running buddy is a dog, swing by the off-leash beach just south of North Beach.
- Point Defiance
Point Defiance Park is an evergreen kind of place literally and figuratively. The park’s lush forest is a perfect backdrop for a run, and with so many trails to choose from, it never gets dull. And Point Defiance is a place that prioritizes runners. Monday thru Friday the outer loop of Five Mile Drive is closed to vehicles, so you can run in peace. And on weekends the park is closed until 1 p.m. for your long run days. Point Defiance is also ideally located for adding to your scenic run. Add a dash across Ruston Way for gorgeous cityscapes and views of Mount Rainier.
Try a rail run
This former railroad track turned 25-mile trail crosses through several South Sound cities and offers a bit of everything. As the path winds through Puyallup, Orting and Buckley, runners can enjoy farm land, forests, rivers and views of Mount Rainier. Whether you do the whole thing or break it into sections, this is a reliable and picturesque trail for runners. Keep an eye out for eagles, as they nest in the forests along the trail. And to save your knees some trouble, there is a soft dirt shoulder along the pavement for runners and equestrians.
Scramble up mountain slopes
Avoid the summer crowds and head to the northwest side of Mount Rainier for this scenic trail run. Eunice Lake is a 4.5 mile roundtrip run from the Mowich Lake Trailhead. If you are feeling extra adventurous, continue past Eunice Lake to the Tolmie Peak Lookout—another mile and one thousand feet up—for an ever better view of the mountain. The elevation gain makes this alpine lake especially appetizing as a place to cool off before heading down.
Who said Crystal Mountain Resort was just for winter fun? During the summer the ski resort hosts several intense trail races up and around the mountain. Register for the Ragnar Trail Rainier trail run relay in August or the Crystal Mountain Sky Marathon in September. Or pick a nice day and explore the trails around the mountain yourself, taking in Mount Rainier and panoramic views.
Mark Your Calendar
- September 1: Bonney Lake Triathlon
- September 17: Crystal Mountain Sky Marathon
- October 7: The Stein Dash
- October 13: Defiance 50k, 30k and 15k
- November 22: Tacoma Turkey Trot
- December 24: Jingle Bell Run
For more happenings, visit the Sports Commission’s events calendar.