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Cougar Mountain

Cougar Mountain

Cougar Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.52028°N / 122.09345°W

Object Title: Cougar Mountain

County: King

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 1598 ft / 487 m


Page By: Redwic

Created/Edited: Sep 14, 2008 / Mar 15, 2012

Object ID: 442778

Hits: 8747 

Page Score: 80.49%  - 12 Votes 

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Wilderness Cliffs
Wilderness Cliffs

Cougar Mountain is a hilly horseshoe-shaped mountain sharing a regional park with the same name, in Washington State. Located south of I-90 between Bellevue and Issaquah, Cougar Mountain is the western region of the Issaquah Alps. Cougar Mountain has the unique ability of being located very close to a metropolitan area while maintaining much of its natural state.

Trail on Cougar Mountain
Trail on Cougar Mountain

Although many areas of the western and north sides of the mountain are developed, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park was created in 1985 to help preserve the forested landscape and wildlife of the region. The park currently encompasses over 3000 acres. More than 36 miles of trails are available for walking, hiking, and running, as well as over 12 miles of trails available for horseback riding.

Wilderness Peak
Wilderness Peak

Cougar Mountain has multiple highpoints. The highest point, appropriately named "Wilderness Peak", is found near the southeastern corner of the mountain. Wilderness Peak is heavily forested and has no views, but does have a register for visiting hikers. Another hill on the mountain is "Anti-Aircraft Peak", a highpoint found on the north side of the mountain near "Radar Park", the site of a former military base. Another popular hill on the mountain is "Long View Peak", which, despite its name, has few long-range views as a result of the dense treecover along its slopes that obstruct views.

Old-Growth on Cougar Mountain
Old-Growth Douglas Fir

Despite a close proximity to big cities, the mountain maintains much of its original flora and fauna. Forests of alder, Douglas fir, maple, and oak fill the hilltops. Old-growth and second-growth Douglas fir can be found along the Wilderness Cliffs, a steep hillside found on Wilderness Peak. Groundcover such as ferns, salal, and salmonberries are also common throughout the area. Wildlife is also abundant in the park. Animals such as squirrels, skunks, long-tailed weasels, porcupines, mountain beavers, bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, black bears, and, appropriately, cougars all live on the mountain.

Fantastic Erratic
"Fantastic Erratic"

In addition to trails, plants, and wildlife, Cougar Mountain offers visitors other notable features. Multiple streams, marshes, and waterfalls are found throughout the area. Multiple large glacier boulders are found at various locations along the mountain. The largest such feature is "Fantastic Erratic", a massive moss-covered and fern-covered boulder located in the northeastern section of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Visitors can also hike to the entrance to a large mine shaft in the middle of the park, a leftover reminder of the region's past coal mining industry.

Getting There

Cougar Mountain has three major parking trailheads:

RED TOWN TRAILHEAD: West entrance to Cougar Mountain
From I-90, near Bellevue/ Issaquah:
1) Take Exit 13.
2) Head south on Lakemont Blvd SE.
3) After 3.0 miles, the Red Town Trailhead parking lot will be on the left side of the road, at a bend in the road.

ANTI-AIRCRAFT TRAILHEAD: North entrance to Cougar Mountain
From I-90, near Bellevue/ Issaquah:
1) Take Exit 13.
2) Head south on Lakemont Blvd SE.
3) After 2.2 miles, turn left onto SE Cougar Mountain Way.
4) After 1.1 miles, veer right onto SE Cougar Mountain Drive.
5) After 0.9 miles, veer right into the entrance of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.
6) After 0.3 miles, arrive at the Anti-Aircraft Trailhead parking lot.

WILDERNESS CREEK TRAILHEAD: South entrance to Cougar Mountain
From I-90, near Bellevue/ Issaquah:
1) Take Exit 15.
2) Head south on 17th Ave SW, which turns into Hwy 900/ Renton-Issaquah Road SE.
3) After 3.1 miles, the Red Town Trailhead parking lot will be slightly uphill on the right side of the road.

Red Tape

HOURS: 8:00 AM - Dusk, daily.

Beginning during 2011, parking areas and trailheads within and for the Issaquah Alps region require a Discover Pass to be in each vehicle during the visit. Failure to have a Discover Pass visible within a parked vehicle at these locations can result in a substantial fine. For more information regarding the Discover Pass, please visit the official website.

Camping is prohibited.
Bicycling is prohibited.

All dogs must remain on-leash while in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

External Links

Official King County Parks Department website for Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.