Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cougar Mtn - SR900 to Mine Shaft

Date of Hike: July 2007

Route: Squak Mtn Connector Trail > Wilderness Cliffs Trail > Wilderness Peak Trail > Shy Bear Trail > Fred's Railroad Trail > Clay Pit Road > Mine Shaft Trail > East Fork Trail > Fred's Railroad Trail > Return

This is a nice hike that doesnt seem like 8 miles -- but it is. The hike is all shade and doesnt provide any views of the area, but your reward is a nice workout and a unique look at the Mine Shaft. Overall a pretty nice hike for warm summer days.

This hike starts from the very limited parking area (two cars) off SR 900 (Renton- Issaquah Road) about 4 miles from I90. There is an alternate start at the main parking lot (Wilderness Creek Trailhead).

The Squak Mtn Connector is all business trail, with a moderate incline right up the hill from the parking spot.

Near the end of the Squak Mtn Connector trail you will pass an abandoned car of the trail. Not sure how this car got here, but it is a funny sight to see.

With this routing you basically keep right all the way up the mountain. All of the trails are well maintained and are perfect for morning hikes.

The King County park trails are marked, but since there are so many intersections, its best to take a Map with you. There is an excellent map on the County Park Website, you can view the PDF file here.

The Wilderness Cliffs and Peak trail offer a nice workout uphill, but offer no views or anything too out of the ordinary.

Upon reaching Fred's Railroad Trail, you will enter a dramatic clearing which offers are interesting view of the cottonwood? trees.

Fred's Railroad trail connects with the Clay Pit Road, which is a very developed road used to move earth from the nearby Clay Pit.

The Mine Shaft Trail is located about .3 miles up the Clay Pit Road. Its a well marked turn to the right. The trail seems fairly mundane until you reach a graded mine shaft pit.

These photos dont do the view justice. You can actually see down into the mine shaft a far bit. And it gives you a real sense that there was a real working mine here at one time.

The Mine Shaft Trail passes a small pond of black water and then connects with the East Fork Trail. At the end of the East Fork trail, you will again meet up with Fred's Railroad Trail which will lead back down to the parking spot.

More Photos here

View Larger Map

Area - Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park (Near Issaquah,Washington)
Trails - Sqauk Mtn. Connector, Wilderness Cliffs/Peek Trails, Shy Bear, Fred's Railroad and Mine Shaft Trails (Trail Map)
Length - 8 miles roundtrip - Easy Hike (uphill, but easy)
Trail - Loop, dirt trail, limited stops along the way. Well marked and maintained.
Bikes - Not allowed on this hike
View - None, except of a mine shaft
Getting There - Google Map
Fee- None, free parking
Weather - All Shade, can be wet if there have been recent rains
Other Trails - tons!