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Carkeek Park 5k & 10k Trail Run

Sunday, November 10, 2013, 9:30 a.m.
Parks like Carkeek are just one reason that Seattilites don't mind the rain- because the drizzle provides us lush forests to wander through, just minutes from downtown Seattle. Home to creeks, meadows, wetlands, and a beach along Puget Sound, you can steal a peek of the magestic Olympic Mountains from this Seattle park treasure.
The Course
The course starts and finishes in the Lower Meadow next to Piper's Creek. The route is mostly in the forest (85%) and has a mix of fast, wide trail (64%) and narrower rolling trail (36%), with some flatter sections and some moderate to steep sections.
There are two course options for this event:
  • 5K (3.1 miles), with 480 feet of elevation gain*
  • 10K (6.2 miles), with 960 feet of elevation gain*
* Distances were measured using a measuring wheel, and climb was measured using a detailed contour map. The distance is most likely within 1% of actual, and the climb within 10%.
Click on the tabs below for more details.


Early Prices until Oct. 20, 11:59pm / Regular Price  until Nov. 7, 11:59pm / Day-of-Event Price

5k: $22 / $26 / $30

10k: $26 / $31 / $35


We can accept payment by cash or check payable to MerGeo or Northwest Trail Runs.


The 5k course goes the length of the wide, Piper's Creek Trail, climbing first gently, then more steeply to the head of the valley before turning around and going over half the distance back. The route then turns left up the South Ridge Trail, which climbs steeply then becomes a rolling traverse through some of the older forest in the park. Upon reaching the Clay Pit Trail, the course turns right down the hill, then descends to the meadow on the Hillside Trail and goes a few hundred meters to the finish.

The 10k course is two loops of the 5k course.

Aid/Refreshments are at the finish, which is the halfway point for the 10k runners.

The refreshments will include at least water and some sort of carbohydrate-rich food, such as pieces of Clif Bar, bagel, fruity candy, and/or bananas. There will likely be a few choices of these foods, along with electrolyte-replacement drink.

Safety and Trail Etiquette

The trails will be open to other users during the event, including pedestrians and cyclists (on the wide Piper's Creek Trail). Please be courteous. Few cyclists use the Piper's Creek Trail, but the park is a popular oasis of forested trails for walkers and runners.

In places, the trails have sharp turns and bumps (rocks or tree roots), and it pays to pay attention to where you put your feet in such sections. In addition, there are a couple wooden bridges (which could be a little slippery if wet) and nearby stairs, which will require some care to avoid falling from slipping or tripping. However, none of the trails are treacherous or demand any special skills or experience to navigate them. Anyone who is fit enough to hike or run the distance should be able to get through the course fine with a bit of care.

Participants are responsible for their own safety while participating, and the organizers are neither qualified nor equipped to render medical care in the event of a serious injury. In case of an emergency, call 9-1-1. You are encouraged to bring a cell phone with you as a safety precaution, if you wish.

Where the trails are narrow, please let other participants pass you if they want to get by. It is a passing runner's job to tell the person in front that they wish to pass.


Two days before run

11:59 p.m.    Pre-registration closes
Day of run
8:30 - 9:15 a.m.  Check in/event-day registration
9:20 a.m.    Pre-run briefing
9:30 a.m.    10K Start
9:40 a.m.    5K Start
11:30 a.m.    Course closes

Here are directions to Carkeek Park by car and by bus provided by Seattle Parks & Recreation. (opens in a new window)


Drive past the upper meadow area that includes the restroom building, play area, and picnic shelter, and proceed down the hill to the meadow in the valley bottom. Here is a map (Google maps, opens in new window) of where to park.

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