We explore the response of ground motions to topography during large crustal fault earthquakes by simulating several magnitude 6.5–7.0 rupture scenarios on the Seattle fault, Washington State. Kinematic simulations are run using a 3D spectral element code and a detailed seismic velocity model for the Puget Sound region. This model includes realistic surface topography and a near‐surface low‐velocity layer; a mesh spacing of ∼30 m at the surface allows modeling of ground motions up to 3 Hz. We simulate 20 earthquake scenarios using different slip distributions and hypocenter locations on a planar fault surface. Results indicate that average ground motions in simulations with and without topography are similar. However, shaking amplification is common at topographic highs, and more than a quarter of all sites experience short‐period (≤2 s) ground‐motion amplification greater than 25%–35%, compared with models without topography. Comparisons of peak ground velocity at the top and bottom of topographic features demonstrate that amplification is sensitive to period, with the greatest amplifications typically manifesting near a topographic feature’s estimated resonance frequency and along azimuths perpendicular to its primary axis of elongation. However, interevent variability in topographic response can be significant, particularly at shorter periods (<1 s). We do not observe a clear relationship between source centroid‐to‐site azimuths and the strength of topographic amplification. Overall, our results suggest that although topographic resonance does influence the average ground motions, other processes (e.g., localized focusing and scattering) also play a significant role in determining topographic response. However, the amount of consistent, significant amplification due to topography suggests that topographic effects should likely be considered in some capacity during seismic hazard studies.

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