Grand Ridge South Peak + NW Peak in Grand Ridge Park / 壯觀脊南峯

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Grand Ridge South Peak and the Northwest Peak inside Grand Ridge Park perch above Issaquah Highlands in the Issaquah Alps. The ridge includes the main summit within Mitchell Hill Connector Forest, a stone’s throw away from Tiger Mountain.

Water towers on Grand Ridge South Peak
Water towers on Grand Ridge South Peak

See more trip photos here.

Grand Ridge South Peak at a Glance

Access: East Fork Trailhead (PDF map)
Round Trip: miles
Elevation Range: 460′-1280′
Gear: none
Route Info: Tim Hagan, Redwic
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

Living south of Interstate 90, it’s hard to tell the vastness of Issaquah Highlands. The once vacant foothills have been through rapid development since the early 1990s. So I used this trip to scope out the area I hadn’t seen.

Private Property Boundary
Grand Ridge Drive past East Fork Trail appears to be a private road. Beware of Grand Ridge community property line and exercise discretion when going cross-country.

Despite being inside the park, the Grand Ridge community boundary can be murky. As the area expands, one may soon walk the fine line between park property and private land. So it requires some careful planning.

Unvarnished
High Point parking

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Grand Ridge South Peak

I parked at High Point since it’s the closest to my place. It’s also one of the several starting points, including Coal Mine and Grand Ridge Drive. Then it’s only half a mile walk west to the East Fork Trailhead.

The nice trail made switchbacks and crossed a small stream at one point. Soon, a biker came down the hill before the small ditch at three-quarters of a mile. Then I left the path and headed east through the light brush.

The road less traveled
The road less traveled

See more trip photos here.

Grand Ridge Neighborhood

The GPS tracks I had all stayed close to the east edge of the south ridge. It must mean people had skirted the residential area. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense to hug the top of the cliffs unless it was for a different reason.

I made noises shuffling through the overgrowth, soon spotted houses west of the crest. Meanwhile, I wondered if the nearby homes could hear the fumbling. But I didn’t want to find out; I kept my head down and continued.

Grand Ridge South Peak south ridge
Grand Ridge South Peak south ridge

See more trip photos here.

Grand Ridge South Peak Summit

Moving north on the south ridge soon took me to the knob. Then Grand Ridge South Peak summit was only a few minutes north of the saddle. Two large, fenced-in water towers marked the top of this woodsy, indistinct high point.

I managed to catch a glimpse of the freeway below. In a way, I was glad the views up here were spotty. Otherwise, I could see crowds flooding this vantage point, perching over Issaquah Creek Valley to the east.

Interstate 90 below Grand Ridge South Peak
Interstate 90 below Grand Ridge South Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Grand Ridge Northeast Peak

I walked down the road from Grand Ridge South Peak and suddenly reached a gate. I looked on the other side and didn’t see any sign. But it wouldn’t surprise me to have stepped into the private community by mistake.

I went past the big homes on Grand Ridge Drive to find the East Fork Trail. The winding trail took me northeast through the forest onto the Flowing Fir Loop. Before Long, I left the path by the water tower to reach the high point.

Water tower on Grand Ridge Northwest Peak
The water tower on Grand Ridge Northwest Peak

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Grand Ridge Northwest Peak Plus Exit

It was cloudy the whole afternoon. There wasn’t much to see in the lush forest other than the water tower. The map suggested I could loop through the streets. But I backtracked instead and met the second person of the day.

While crossing Grand Ridge Drive, I noticed the “private road” sign I had missed on the way down. Back on East Fork Trail, I walked past the Coal Mine Loop before the culvert. Then it was a little over a mile back to High Point.

Finding my way home
Finding my way home

See more trip photos here.

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