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

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Cougar Mountain Wilderness Peak Loop Trail goes through the highest point on the mountain. It’s also a popular path in the Issaquah Alps among hikers. But best of all, it makes for a pleasant short day trip.

Cougar Mountain memorial bench
Cougar Mountain memorial bench

See more trip photos here.

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

Wilderness Creek Trail

I had planned to go up Cougar Mountain last month before we resorted to better weather up north. Then after yesterday’s trip, we gave the place another try. It’s only 1.8 miles up to the main summit. So we extended the trip to include Long View Peak and Clay Pit Peak for more exercise.

Two cars were in the lot when we arrived. But I expected to see more people being that it’s MLK Day. We started walking as soon as the recruit was ready to move. I still couldn’t tell whether he enjoyed walking. But I do know that he doesn’t care much for walking on a leash!

The .5 mile hike up to the trail junction was slow but quiet. Both of us were going by the puppy’s speed. But I knew he’d want to get inside my pack at some point. Later we met one hiker as they made their way down. Soon, we reached the Wilderness Cliffs Trail.

Junction break
Junction break

See more trip photos here.

Wilderness Cliffs Trail

The three of us took a short break by the junction. Long enough for a snack and to get the recruit inside my pack. He managed to hike .5 mile so far. Hooray! I bet Mr. Cody was glad that we finally picked up the pace. Soon, in .1 mile, we passed the Squak Mountain Connector Trail.

The 1.1 miles up to the next junction wasn’t too exciting. But we enjoyed a quiet walk through the lush forest. “Where is everybody?” I wondered. I had been avoiding the mountain in all my 12 years of hiking because of its popularity. But it was odd only to have seen one person so far.

Below Cougar Mountain summit
Below Cougar Mountain summit

See more trip photos here.

Cougar Mountain Summit

Just below the summit was another junction. From there, it’s another .1 mile up to the woodsy summit. The area with the memorial bench was super muddy. So instead of stopping there, we left the trail and sat among the brush.

Not sure what we did to pass the time. But we managed to hang out for almost an hour. Right as we were going to leave the summit, someone showed up by the bench. Though, the hiker didn’t stop long before moving away. We then proceeded to hike 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 just .75 mile from the main summit. On the way over, we met two guys with their pups. Glad the junctions all had clear signs. Otherwise, one could surely lose their way. Soon, we arrived on Long View Peak. But we only stopped for a few seconds before moving again.

Clay Pit Peak was the farthest of the three. We hiked 1.6 miles on the main path to the northwest of the peak. Then from there, we went onto Clay Pit Road and walked to the end. But going up to the summit required scrambling a short distance.

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

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Later we went clockwise through the top of Clay Pit Peak. There wasn’t much to see. But it felt more open than the other two places. There were many small down trees beneath the thickets. So it made walking a tad tricky. After a quick break, we scrambled down the west side to go back on the main trail.

From there, it was only three miles to go back to the car. We started seeing small groups coming up the mountain as we walked down. Back at the first junction, I let the pup out for some fresh air. Then he walked the rest .5 mile back to the parking lot.

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

See more trip photos here.

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