With so many fantastic hiking opportunities within easy reach of Seattle, it's no surprise that Bellevue's Bridle Trails State Park gets overlooked. I think people are missing out on a tranquil, convenient place to walk and run. Depending on where you live, it may actually be easier to get to Bridle Trails than other more popular parks. For example, I live in Seattle's Central District and it's easier to drive to Bridle Trails than say Lincoln, Discovery, or Carkeek Parks.
Bridle Trails is 489-acre day-use park with 28 miles of trails for equestrians, hikers, and runners. The park includes 1.6-mile self-guided interpretive trail. Check with the park's staff about scheduling a guided walk.
As the pandemic progresses, I've come to cherish Bridle Trails as a go-to peaceful escape in the midst of the uncertainty and craziness happening these days. It seems like others are starting to take notice as well. Lately, I've seen more family groups, and "school pods" of parents and youngsters enjoying a walk in the woods. Bridle Trails' close and convenient proximity makes it great for a wide range of users.
My standard Bridle Trails outing is a ~3.5 mile lap around the perimeter Coyote Trail:
The terrain is relatively mellow with small rolling hills. But, Bridle Trails is infamous for its shoe-sucking mud puddles.
Dogs are welcome in state parks when leashed and under control. Pick up after your pet. Pack out your trash.
Seattle Running Club's Michael Havrda advises:
"When running at Bridle Trails, be a good steward for the running community when encountering equestrians. When you see one, stop, talk loudly to announce yourself, ask the rider if you can pass when it's safe for them, and then continue talking as you pass. Bonus points for thanking them and wishing them a good ride!"
Bridle Trails Resources
Pro tip: The trail signs for the Coyote Trail are most visible going in a clockwise direction. (How hard would it be to make the signs visible in the counter-clockwise direction?) To avoid getting off-route, do it in the clockwise direction.
Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival
Connect with the PNW trail running community at the annual winter running festival!
The Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival includes 5-mile, 10-mile, 15-mile, 50K solo, 50K pair, and 50K relay races. The event happens on the second Saturday of the year. Races start at 3:00 pm. YES! That means races begin in January's dim 3PM sunbeams with complete darkness by 5PM.
Learn about the Bridle Trails Park Foundation
Parking requires a Discover Pass, which is needed at most trailheads in Washington state.