Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cougar Mountain - Shy Bear Hike

Date of Hike: June 2008

Hike Route: Wilderness Creek Trail > Shy Bear Trail (to Deceiver Trail) > return back

Ok, in truth I was meaning to do a hike to Coal Creek Falls, but I was fairly deep in thought and miss a turn so I wound up doing this hike instead. This Book has a good hike description on page 24.

The hike doesnt offer any views, but is follows Wilderness Creek and Shy Bear Marsh through the Top area of Cougar Mountain. Its a great shady hike on hotter summer days. The trails on this mountain are in great shape and have been cleared of the spring growth along the trails.

The hike starts at the Wilderness Creek Trailhead located off SR 900 between Issaquah and Renton. Free parking and no access fees for this county park.

As mentioned in other hike reports for this area, the first 1.5 miles are very enjoyable -- but there are some fairly non-stop uphill parts of this hike. Be sure to enjoy the creek crossings (well maintained bridges) and the Boulders along the way.

Near the end of the Wilderness Creek Trail, there is a short but steep uphill hairpin.

After reaching the top, there is a four-way intersection of the Wilderness Creek Trail, Deceiver Trail, Shy Bear Trail and the Wilderness Peak Trail. For this hike continue on the Shy Bear Trail which narrows a bit for hikers only.

The trail conditions are great this time of year as the are 99.9% dry, but not dusty. The trails sides have also been cut back of weeds -- making for a very enjoyable hiking experience.

The Shy Bear Trail meets with the Fred's Railroad trail, but continue on the Shy Bear trail toward the Far Country Lookout.

Soon you will reach the Shy Bear Marsh area. The area is very flat and has wooden walkways over the wetland area. This time of year, there is not much water in the area -- but its still "marshy". Check out how it looks in winter.

Along the way, I noticed some Salmon Berries on the trail.

After passing the salmon berries, you will reach the Deceiver Trail. At this point you can return the way you came or you can take the Deceiver Trail back (passing Doughty Falls).

This is a great basic Cougar Mountain hike that goes from bottom of the mountain, to the top, to the central marsh area. All the creeks are still running and the trees are full of green foliage.


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Area - Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park (Near Issaquah, Washington)
Trails - Trail Map (very good), also trails located on Green Trails Map 203S
Length -5 miles out and back - Easy Hike (moderate uphill on first 1.5 miles)
Trail - Well maintained dirt trail, limited stops along the way. Elevation gain is about 1000 feet. Start point is 395ft, high point is about 1300 feet with a slight decline of 200 feet once reaching Shy Bear Pass
Bikes - Not allowed on this hike
View - None -- but lots of shade on a hot summer day
Getting There - Google Map
Fee- None, free parking
Weather - Cool in the mornings
Other Trails - tons! Including these hikes: Far Country Lookout, Wilderness Cliffs