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.
This route starts in downtown Issaquah at E. Sunset Way and heads north on Front St. N. There are a number of places to park with Depot Park nearby.
Just before the 1 mile point, you'll pass under the I-90 overpass, cross the intersection and take the Issaquah-Preston trail off to the right.
After about 1 mile, the trail will split. Take the left fork, to stay on the Issaquah-Preston trail. (The right fork goes up to the Issaquah Highlands which is another fun adventure.) Then the trail goes through a small tunnel and splits again. Follow the yellow line to the left which leads up toward Preston. (The right fork will take you back into downtown Issaquah.)
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.
Just after mile 11, you come to a split in the trail where you can do one of two things.
ONE - If you continue on straight for another mile, you will run into a dead-end where you can glimpse a view of Snoqualmie Falls off in the distance. You will have to double back to get out though, as the trail dead ends here.
There can also be found an abandoned bridge that spans across the canyon just before the falls.
TWO - You can take the dirt path to the right which winds around to the southeast. When the trail comes to a T in the middle of the forest, go left. You'll know you are on the right path if you start to see houses just before mile 12. Then, you'll come to a road where you'll continue across the street into Denny Peak Park.
Follow the trail beneath the power lines until you reach Eagle Lake Drive S.E. You are now in the Snoqualmie Ridge area. Go right on Eagle Lake Drive S.E. and navigate around the lake.
Go past SE Ridge St. and take the small access-road off to the right. You will once again be following the road underneath the power lines. There are a number of small trail offshoots, but keep going straight until you meet Snoqualmie Parkway.
Just before you hit mile 13, go right on Snoqualmie Parkway. Follow the trail on the north side of the road for about 1.5 miles.
Snoqualmie Parkway will run into Railroad Ave, where you'll go left. This will take you across the Snoqualmie River where you can now hear the falls off to your right.
Follow the paved trail to the left which will take you to the Snoqualmie Falls area.
Enjoy the view!