“Pinnacle Peak is a wonderful short run for those interested in a moderate workout. The paths are easy to navigate.”
— Bob Stuart
The trail to Pinnacle Peak is well traveled, and many locals obviously use it as a primary workout for themselves because it is a nice little out-and-back workout. While many will run the fairly steep gravel road most of the way up, this route uses the trails through the forest as much as possible. Great little run in far southeast King County that you can count on year 'round.
Need to Know
Free parking and nice porta-pot at parking lot. No special gear required—trekking poles probably not necessary unless you have stability issues on gravel.
Start at the nearby parking lot with permanent porta-pot toilets, all recently overhauled or installed. My recording starts/stops where the “trail” (road) meets the main road, where there is a large gate across.
The road up the mountain has been recently maintained (newer gravel), and is a fairly steep grade, so you’ll get a workout. The recorded singletrack forest trail takes off on the left about halfway up the first straightaway, crosses the main road twice, and eventually intersects the usual path that originates at the parking lot at the end of the road.
- Once on the forest trail, the second time the path intersects the road, turn right up the road and find the trail again on the left about 200 feet up the road.
- After that second road crossing and heading left up the hill, you'll come to a Y in the trail—that is the usual path from the upper parking area; go left here.
- The path gets steeper and rockier just prior to the summit, so you'll know you are close. Stop and enjoy the sight of the columnar basalt along here.
- Family note regarding children—unless you're going to be carrying them or they can truly pay attention to their feet, there are enough loose rocks and tripping hazards on the forest trail to warrant just running up the gravel road and staying on the usual path as much as possible
The path through the forest is clear and packed, very easy to navigate, and your pace down will be much faster than your run up. Based on my experience, you can do this in as little as 90 minutes, but if you have a family and/or take your time it might take up to two hours total.
This run has very limited views during the summer, and probably the most interesting thing along the way is the columnar basalt just before you summit. I have not visited in the fall but suspect there are better views once a lot of the leaves are down.