Cougar Mountain Wilderness Peak Loop Trail in Issaquah Alps / 美洲獅山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Cougar Mountain Wilderness Peak Loop Trail in Issaquah Alps goes through the highest point on the mountain. At the same time, the mixed-use trail is viral among outdoor fanatics of all types. Best of all, the place makes a pleasantly short hike when time is of constraints.

Cougar Mountain memorial bench
Cougar Mountain memorial bench

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Cougar Mountain at a Glance

Access: Wilderness Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 7.7 miles
Elevation Range: 360′-1602′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

Last month, I had planned to go up Cougar Mountain for the first time. But the morning rain had shown no signs of stopping. So instead, we resorted to more favorable weather up north.

After yesterday’s trip, I gave the place another try. But the 1.8 miles, one-way trip to the main summit didn’t seem aerobically adequate. So we extended the outing by including Long View Peak and Clay Pit Peak.

See more trip photos here.

Wilderness Creek Trail

It’s MLK Day, but only two cars were in the lot when we showed up. We started walking as soon as the recruit was ready. I still can’t tell whether he enjoyed walking. But I know that he doesn’t care much for the leash!

The half-mile hike to the trail fork was slow as we went by the puppy’s speed. But I knew he’d want to go inside my pack at some point. One hiker came down as we soon reached the Wilderness Cliffs Trail.

Junction break
Junction break

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Wilderness Cliffs Trail

We rested by the fork, long enough for a snack and to put the novice inside my pack. The puppy managed to hike half a mile so far. Hooray! I bet Mr. Cody was glad that we picked up the pace. Shortly, we crossed Squak Mountain Connector Trail.

The one mile to the next fork wasn’t too exciting. But we enjoyed a quiet walk through the forest. “Where’s everybody?” I wondered. I’ve put off hiking here because of its popularity. But it was odd only to have seen one person so far.

Below Cougar Mountain summit
Below Cougar Mountain summit

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Cougar Mountain Summit

Right below the summit was another fork. Then it’s another 500″ up to the woodsy summit. The area around the memorial bench was very muddy. So instead of stopping there, sat not far off the path among the brush.

Not sure what we did to pass the time, but we managed to hang out for almost an hour. A hiker showed up as we were going to leave. But they didn’t stop long before moving again. Soon, we moved on to our next goal.

Life is a winding road
Life is a winding road

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Long View Peak Plus Clay Pit Peak

Long View Peak was under a mile from the main summit. All the trails had clear signs; otherwise, one could lose their way quickly. En route, we met two guys and their dogs and soon reached the peak. But we only stopped for a few seconds before leaving.

Clay Pit Peak was the farthest of the three goals. Back on the main path, we hiked southwest for 1.6 miles. Then we went onto Clay Pit Road and walked to the end. From there, we scrambled a short way to the top.

Old roadbed to Clay Pit Peak
Old roadbed to Clay Pit Peak

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Leaving Cougar Mountain

We walked clockwise through the top of Clay Pit Peak amd didn’t find much to see. But it was more open than the other two places. The thin down trees under the thickets made walking a bit tricky. After a break, we scrambled down the west to the main trail.

From there, it was three miles to the car. As we walked down, we started seeing small groups coming up the mountain. I later let the pup out for fresh air at the first junction. Then we followed him the rest half a mile back to the parking lot.

Finding our way out of Cougar Mountain
Finding our way out of Cougar Mountain

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