There is nothing quite like running the trails around Grays Harbor. Weaving through towering trees, along scenic rivers and around stunning lakes, your path to fitness is definitely scenic. There are hundreds of miles of breathtaking trails all around the area, most of which are perfect for trail runners of any ability and speed. If you are looking for a good starting point, check out this list of where to trail run in Montesano and Aberdeen.
Running Trails in Montesano
Montesano is a great place to trail run all year long. While the fall and winter months may be wet, the trails here remain mostly snow free all year, giving you miles upon miles of options to explore. From Lake Sylvia up to Wynoochee Lake, you’ll find some of the best single-track trails around. Here, you can put together runs anywhere from 5k to 50k in distance.
Lake Sylvia State Park
Lake Sylvia State Park is a perfect place to trail run in Grays Harbor. The trails here are well-maintained, well-marked and always great to explore. The park has five miles of trails to run, as well as granting access to miles of trails outside its gates. Inside Lake Sylvia State Park, the trails are mostly flat, with a few hills giving a couple hundred feet of elevation gain. Around 90 percent of the trails in the park are single track, with only a few sections on dirt roads. Runners of all abilities will enjoy running here any month of the year. Be aware that a Discover Pass is required to park, explore and stay at Lake Sylvia State Park.
North of Lake Sylvia
Leave your car at Lake Sylvia State Park to explore hours of trails to the north, just outside the park. There are maps located at the trailheads at Lake Sylvia, as well as numerous maps and markers along the trails and roads, letting you choose your own adventure. You’ll find incredible single tracks through towering trees, otherworldly trails leading through cleared areas and even some serious hills to climb. If you are searching for a place to run up to a 50k, with a few thousand feet of elevation gain, this is for you. Trail details can be found on the signs around the area, as well as in trail running guidebooks to the region. There is even a race held annually called the Run Forest Run, which is a must-add to any Pacific Northwest trail runner’s schedule.
Wynoochee Lake is about an hour’s drive north of Montesano, but is a perfect place to run trails, finding solitude amongst towering trees and a beautiful lake. Located in Olympic National Forest, the approximately 15-mile loop trail around the lake gives you over a thousand feet of gain along a wild single track, with obstacles like fallen trees and puddles all year long. This is the southern end of the rainforest and receives over 10 feet of rain a year, so don’t expect dry conditions. The trail starts near the Coho Campground, working its way north, over creeks to the Wynoochee River. Here, you have a choice of either fording the river, or heading up a bit more to cross the bridge near Maidenhair Falls. After visiting the falls, head south on the other side of the lake and end up back at your car.
Running Trails in Aberdeen
Aberdeen is the largest city in Grays Harbor, serving as a gateway to the Pacific Ocean and the Olympic Peninsula. Bordering incredible wilderness regions, the town of Aberdeen is a fun place to run trails and get to know the region. Whether you want to run along a salmon-filled river, around a second growth forest or just do some loops on a nice trail, Aberdeen’s single track is waiting for you.
Located on the Grays Harbor College campus, Lake Swano is a great to explore and a fun place to put in some loops on a wide, accessible trail. The 1.4-mile loop trail weaves around a second growth forest, full of informational signs and beautiful views as you gain around 100 feet of elevation. This trail is largely overlooked by everyone, even locals, and there is a good chance you’ll have long stretches of solitude, surrounded by tall trees and huge ferns. Trail running at Lake Swano is great for those looking for a shorter run, or make some laps to add distance.
Full of incredible history, the short trail at Makarenko Park is a fun place to run a few miles and shakeout the car legs. While the main trail is just a mile loop, you can piece together some pretty fun routes with a little creativity and imagination. This park has been used for high school cross country meets in the fall months, so it sees a lot of love from fellow runners of all ages. While you won’t find much challenging terrain here, you will find an enjoyable place to put in a few miles of running off road.
Chehalis Riverfront Walkway
Flat and scenic, the rails to trails route on the Chehalis Riverfront Walkway gives you a great view of the waters around and in Aberdeen. Stretching from the Grays Harbor Historic Seaport all the way down to the Bishop Athletic Complex, this run is 5k in each direction, with almost no elevation gain. While this isn’t single track trail surrounded by forests, this trail is a great run while heading out to the coast, with chances to see seals, eagles, blue herons and other wildlife. Running it out and back is a perfect 10k in town, ensuring that you get your miles, while enjoying a look at the town.