- Difficulty: Easy
- Terrain: Pavement, dedicated pedestrian route
- Length: up to 20 km round trip
- Flow: There are some roads to cross until you get to Myrtle Edwards Park, all controlled by traffic lights. Crowds gather in front of the cruise ship terminal, and navigating that short portion (1 city block) can be tricky. During tourist season, pedestrian traffic may be heavy around other attractions along the route. It’s probably better to run earlier in the morning if possible, but once you get to the park it’s smooth going.
- Scenery: Starts out very urban with an overhead highway and active train tracks. Passes many tourist destinations. Ocean views the whole way, the park portion has gorgeous unobstructed views.
- Safety Issues: Be mindful of traffic, careful crossing streets if you are too impatient to wait for the traffic lights.
- Bathrooms: If necessary you could probably pop into any one of a number of tourist stops along the way, but I didn’t check. There may be restrooms in the park but I didn’t see any.
- Drinking water: There is a drinking fountain along the trail in Myrtle Edwards park.
- Transit Access: Yes, although walking or cycling is always faster in the city!
- Parking: There is some pay parking in the area. As in most big cities, it is expensive and hard to find.
- Night Access: The city portion is lit by the usual streetlights, but I didn’t notice whether there were lights along the park paths. I’d be surprised if the bike paths weren’t lit, as it gets dark early here in the winter.
- Special Features: There are self-serve bike rental kiosks along the route. Aside from running, it’s a great cycling route too.
- Nearby Attractions: Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Great Wheel, Olympic Sculpture Park and many more…
Note: At the time of this post (July 2016) there was heavy construction along the city portions of the route, but the detours merely took you to the other side of the street, and they were clearly marked, so there were no interruptions to my run.
The Elliott Bay trail runs along Seattle’s Puget Sound waterfront for several miles. I began my run in the Pioneer Square neighbourhood, at the corner of Yesler Way and Alaskan Way. In this area, there is an overhead highway system and active train tracks. The path is full of the sounds of a large city – since I usually run in the woods, this was a nice change of scenery for me and I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of it all.
From my start point, I travelled along the west side of Alaskan Way, except for a few detours over to the east side of the road due to construction at the time (see Note above). I passed the Seattle Ferry terminal, where ferries leave for nearby Bremerton and Bainbridge Island. Next was the Seattle Waterfront District, with numerous restaurants, shops, and other tourist attractions such as the Great Wheel.
Next I passed the Seattle Aquarium and a large cruise ship terminal. This portion of the trail can get very crowded with pedestrians and cruise passengers, so you might want to cross to the other side of the road to avoid them, although it can also get pretty crowded there as well. We’d walked through there the day before in mid-afternoon and it was packed. But I ran early the next morning (around 8:30 am) and, other than the brief strip in front of the cruise ship terminal, I was able to maintain a steady running pace.
After passing a few more waterfront businesses, I entered Myrtle Edwards Park. It’s a lovely section of waterfront, with pedestrian and cycling trails that create a long narrow loop.
This was my favourite part of the run (I had pondered taking an Uber ride to the park just so I could spend my whole run on these trails). The scenery was lovely and there were not many people out at the time, just runners like myself and a few cyclists on the bike paths.