Nestled among the pristine forests and wilderness that lie just a short drive east from the urban streets and skyscrapers of nearby Seattle, Washington’s Grand Ridge Regional Park offers 1,200 acres of pristine woodlands filled with moss-covered boulders, sword ferns and western red cedar trees, some of which have trunks that reach up to five feet in width.
This natural setting that serves as a transition of sorts between the urban and rural environments forms the backdrop for the late spring running of the Grand Ridge Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, 5-Miler and 50K, a series of trail races that take runners on a challenging, out-and-back route into the park and back out again.
Organized by 4th Dimension Racing, a locally based running and race management company that features the Grand Ridge Half as part of its Evergreen Trail Runs series — which also includes half marathon races in Lake Sammamish and Taylor Mountain nearby — the Grand Ridge races mark their 7th annual running in 2016.
Runners in the half marathon, like those in the 5-Mile and 50K runs, follow an out-and-back route that starts and finishes just off Exit 20 from Interstate 90, roughly 20 minutes east of downtown Seattle, and just east of the Issaquah Highlands residential development.
Entrants are asked to park along the road just off the exit (organizers say there should be plenty of parking available for all runners), where the starting line lies just a short walk from the parking lot.
From the starting area, runners next head into Grand Ridge, following the winding trails as they zig-zag along uneven, up-and-down terrain. Runners in the half marathon can expect an overall elevation gain of about 2,000 feet over the course of the race, which takes runners first westward and then northward along the park’s mostly single-track trails, which are home to cougars, owls, bears and other wildlife.
Once runners reach the turnaround point at the northernmost aid station, they then head back along much of the route they’ve just run, with the exception of a brief loop in the early part of the course. The finish line lies back at the starting area, where a variety of post-race food awaits.
Race Weather & Climate
Located in northwestern Washington state, just over 17 miles east of Seattle, Issaquah typically sees cool to mild weather in April, a month that has brought record temperatures here as low as 23 degrees (in 1935) and as high as 88 degrees (in 1934).
On race day (April 22), the average low is 39ºF and the average high is 59ºF.
- 2016 Grand Ridge Trail Half Marathon Results
- 2015 Grand Ridge Trail Half Marathon Results
- 2014 Grand Ridge Trail Half Marathon Results
- 2013 Grand Ridge Trail Half Marathon Results
- 8:00 AM – 50K, full marathon
- 9:00 AM – half marathon
- 9:30 AM – 5-mile
- $41 – $56 for the half marathon
- $48 – $64 for the full marathon
- $53 – $73 for the 50K
- $30 – $46 for the 5-mile
To reserve your spot in the 2017 running of Issaquah’s Grand Ridge Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, 50K or 5-mile race, register online at the event website here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Grand Ridge Trail Run? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.