The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is located only 14 miles east of Seattle, in the area colloquially known as the “Issaquah Alps”. With its proximity to major urban areas, 3,115 acres of lush forest and dozens of miles of hiking trails, it's no wonder why it's so popular with locals. Take a morning walk or run through the myriad of trails, or just enjoy some lovely Pacific Northwest nature just minutes from the big city.
The park is officially open from 8am to dusk daily to hiking, running and horse riding. Bicycles are not permitted on the trails.
The Red Town Trailhead and parking lot, Sky Country Trailhead, Harvey Manning Trailhead/Anti-Aircraft Peak, Wilderness Creek Trailheads and others all offer parking, and are easily accessed from I-90.
Though the park may lure you into a false sense of security being so close to civilization, there are a surprising number of trails, so make sure you remember where you've parked. We suggest hopping onto the Doughty Falls Viewpoint Loop, though this park offers a sort of “choose your own adventure” hike due to the extensively interconnected trails. Though each trail is quite short, connecting them can make for several hours of walking, or more. Alternately, connect the trails together to head to nearby Squak Mountain State Park, just to the east.
When to Go
Because of its proximity to the greater Seattle area and the low elevation, visit Cougar Mountain any time of year, though June through September offer the best weather.