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Issaquah Alps
Area/Range

Issaquah Alps

 
Issaquah Alps

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.45120°N / 121.803°W

Object Title: Issaquah Alps

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 3517 ft / 1072 m

 

Page By: Redwic

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

Object ID: 442785

Hits: 11009 

Page Score: 79.78%  - 11 Votes 

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Overview

 
Trail on Cougar Mountain
Trail on Cougar Mountain

The region known as the Issaquah Alps is a mountainous area of Washington State located east of the Seattle suburbs. The name "Issaquah Alps" is credited as being coined by Harvey Manning in 1976, and includes low-elevation mountains that face I-90 between Bellevue and North Bend. The major mountains of this area are Cougar Mountain on the western side, Squak Mountain and the various Tiger Mountain peaks (West Tiger, Middle Tiger, East Tiger, South Tiger) in the center of the area, and Rattlesnake Mountain on the eastern side of the area. Rattlesnake Mountain connects the Issaquah Alps to a section of the Cascade Mountains along I-90. Other major highpoints within the Issaquah Alps include Taylor Mountain, Grand Ridge, and Mitchell Hill.


 
Small Stream
Small Stream Near Middle Tiger Mountain






The Issaquah Alps are comprised of andesite volcanic rock, and formed a west-east mountain range approximately 50 million years ago. Many portions of the area were reshaped and changed during the Ice Age. Remnants of this glacial activity can be found throughout the area. Glacial boulders are sporadically found in the Issaquah Alps, most notably on Cougar Mountain. Today, these peaks are filled with dense forests of Douglas fir, alder, maple, and oak. Typical groundcover includes ferns and salal.

 
A wascally wabbit!!!
Rabbit In Issaquah Alps




Wildlife is found throughout the Issaquah Alps. Mammals such as squirrels, porcupines, skunks, rabbits, deer, coyotes, black bears, and cougars roam the area. Birds such as woodpeckers, ducks, crows, and owls are found throughout the region. Protection areas have been created in many major sections of the Issaquah Alps. Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Squak Mountain State Park, and Tiger Mountain State Forest each exist to help preserve the natural state of the landscape.

 
A Picnic at East Tiger...
East Tiger Picnic Area





Over 100 miles of trails exist for recreational use, including hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding. Please see the SummitPost pages for the area's various mountains (see peaks listed on leftside of this page), as well as the "External Links" section of this SummitPost page, for further details.




Getting There

Cougar Mountain:
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.


Squak Mountain:
FROM DOWNTOWN ISSAQUAH: Take Front St. south toward the mountain with the cell tower on it (Squak Mountain). The road will past the Issoquah High School and then turn into the Issoquah Hobart Road. Stay on that road through the gap between Poo Poo Point and Squak Mountain. Once past the gap make a right on SE May Valley Road. The trailhead will be on your right hand side and will be very well marked.


West Tiger Mountain:
From Seattle or I-405, head east on I-90 to Exit #20. Once off exit 20 make a right and then another right. Head down the dirt road right into the trailhead. Use the maps in the park to direct you to the West Ridge Trail.


Middle Tiger Mountain:
From Seattle or I-405, head east on I-90. At Exit 25, head south on Highway 18. At approximately 4.5 miles, the lower Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot is found on the righthand side of the highway.
You can start from either the lower Trail Summit Trailhead parking lot or the upper Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot. Both starting points are equal in distance for the East Tiger Mountain route.
***NOTE: As of Spring 2008, the 0.3-mile Connector Trail from the upper parking lot is currently closed for repairs and maintenance. Please only use the lower parking lot access (Main Tiger Mountain Road) for East Tiger Mountain until the Connector Trail reopens.***


East Tiger Mountain:
From Seattle or I-405, head east on I-90. At Exit 25, head south on Highway 18. At approximately 4.5 miles, the lower Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot is found on the righthand side of the highway.
You can start from either the lower Trail Summit Trailhead parking lot or the upper Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot. Both starting points are equal in distance for the East Tiger Mountain route.
***NOTE: As of Spring 2008, the 0.3-mile Connector Trail from the upper parking lot is currently closed for repairs and maintenance. Please only use the lower parking lot access (Main Tiger Mountain Road) for East Tiger Mountain until the Connector Trail reopens.***


Rattlesnake Mountain:
RATTLESNAKE LEDGE TRAILHEAD: Take exit 32 off of I-90: Take 436th Ave SE three miles to the large parking lot on right side of the road. You pass a Cedar Creek Watershed sign on your right. This parking lot is well marked and across the street from the Iron Creek Trailhead.

SNOQUALMIE POINT TRAILHEAD: From Exit 27 on Interstate 90 take a right when you see a stop sign. Then follow the road a short distance to the trailhead for the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. The trail will be located on the right side by a gated road.

Red Tape

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is open 8:00 AM to dusk, daily.

Squak Mountain State Park is open 6:30 AM to dusk, daily during Summer, and 8:00 AM to dusk, daily during Winter.

Tiger Mountain State Forest is open dawn to dusk, daily.
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Trailheads for peaks within the Issaquah Alps have all had car prowling incidents. Please do not leave an valuables visible in vehicles, when parking at the trailheads within this area.

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.

External Links

Issaquah Alps Trails Club.

King County Parks Department.

APPLICABLE GREEN TRAILS MAPS:


COUGAR MOUNTAIN: Map #203S
TIGER MOUNTAIN HIGHPOINTS, TAYLOR MOUNTAIN: Map #204S
RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN: Map #205S

Camping

Camping is prohibited within the Issaquah Alps.

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
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LuminousAphidDiscover Pass

LuminousAphid

Hasn't voted

I'm pretty sure that the Discover Pass is required on almost all of the trailheads (if not all) here, so that might be a good thing to add to the "Red Tape" section
Posted Mar 14, 2012 7:43 pm

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