15 MILES - LONG SLOW CLIMB
Starting from downtown Issaquah, this route takes the Issaquah-Preston trail up past the Issaquah Highlands and Preston into the Snoqualmie Ridge area and ends at Snoqualmie Falls. There is an impressive 1200ft of total elevation gain, however it takes 12 miles to do so, and the larger hills are less than a 2.6% grade.
Heading north on Front Street, you will pass under the I-90 overpass. Immediately after, cross the intersection and the Issaquah-Preston trail takes off from the northeast corner of the intersection.
After about 1 mile, the trail will split. The right fork goes up to the Issaquah Highlands which is a fun adventure. Take the left fork, however, to stay on the Issaquah-Preston trail.
Shortly after, the trail goes through a small tunnel. After the tunnel, don't turn right as this will take you to the Rainier Trail back into the Issaquah lowlands. Instead follow the yellow line to the left which leads up toward Preston.
This is where the road turns into a gravel road. It is pretty well packed, so trail shoes shouldn't be required for this surface.
From here the trail is well marked and goes mostly uninterrupted for over 3 miles, at which point you come to SE High Point Way. Take a right and run along the shoulder of the road for about a mile.
Once you reach the tall tower that says " Exit 22 Business Park" you'll take a left at SE 79th St where the trail picks back up again.
Next you will come to the Preston Athletic Fields and the trail will appear to stop briefly at SE 87th Pl. Run along the right side of SE 87th Pl, and the trail will pick back up again, running between SE 87th PL and Preston-Fall City Rd SE.
Don't take the trail-head to the left. That goes back into the Preston Athletic Fields and will be a much shorter run than you expected.
After about 2 miles of wooded trail, you will see the pavement curve sharply to the right. The gravel trail that goes straight is a dead-end. Take the sharp right and the trail winds down toward Preston-Fall City Rd SE.
Once you cross the road you will see a sign telling you to go right to stay on the Preston-Snoqualmie trail. Follow that sign!
If you go left, the shoulder disappears very quickly and this road can have heavy traffic.
After going right, take a left at the very next road which is SE 68th St. This will curve back toward Preston-Fall City Rd SE and will run along the road for a moment.
Just after mile 9, the trail leaves the main road and heads steeply upward into the woods. This may have to be walked because its ~24% grade, but it has switchbacks and only lasts about 1/10 mile.
From there the trail is uninterrupted until it crosses Lake Alice Rd SE.
This is a great place to drive to if you want to do the shorter Snoqualmie-only sections of this trail.
At mile 11, you come to a split in the trail where you can do one of two things. Choose your own adventure!