Soaring Eagle Regional Park’s web of intersecting paths travel through forests of evergreens and moss are a lush oasis in the midst of the Sammamish suburbs along the west side of the Snoqualmie River Valley, just outside Seattle. There are 12 miles of trails, most of which are single-track and all of which have minimal elevation change: it is like a playground for trail runners.
What Makes It Great
Soaring Eagle doesn’t get as much as attention as King County’s other trail running gems – namely, Cougar Mountain and Tiger Mountain – but it still has a lot to offer. If anything, its comparative obscurity increases its appeal. It is a playing field full of potential to loose yourself in the joys of flying through the woods on your own two feet, with just enough rollercoaster-esque roots, rocks, twists, and turns to keep you entertained as you go.
The most highly trafficked part of the park is the Pipeline Trail, a wide gravel swath that connects the west and south entrances by cutting through the middle of the park. While this is a great walk for local family excursions (it is even relatively stroller friendly), most trail runners will want to quickly depart from it for the network of single-track that radiates out from it.
Run around the park’s perimeter for the biggest loop; this is about 7 miles. There are also ample opportunities to add on loops within the park if you are looking for a longer run – or you can do shorter loops off of the Pipeline Trail if you want a shorter jaunt.
Soaring Eagle is a popular spot for organized races, too. The Spring Eagle Trial Run in April, organized by Northwest Trail Runs, is a fun event with course distances that range from 5-miles to 50-kilometers. Functions like these maintain the park’s reputation as a vibrant community space, which even goes back to its moniker: it was named in 2001 by a second grader at the nearby Samantha Smith Elementary School.
Do be prepared to share the trails – both with fellow humans and species of other varieties. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you run, as Soaring Eagle provides a sanctuary for black bears, bobcats, black tail deer, and more than 40 species of birds.
The park is worthy of a visit year-round, with cool temperatures beneath the shade of the forest in the spring and summer, fiery colors in the fall, and still moderately warm come winter.
Who is Going to Love It
Trail runners who want to expand their regular repository of easy-to-get-to, highly enjoyable runs.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several park entrances. The main one is on the west side of the park, on 228th Avenue SE and SE 8th Street. There is also an entrance from the park’s south side, at Trossachs Boulevard via SE Duthie Hill Road, and one at the Beaver Lake Preserve on West Beaver Lake Drive. Lastly, there is an entrance from the northwest side of the park at NE 8th Street and 258th Avenue NE (take note, however, that parking is limited here).